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Old 07-20-2011, 08:08 PM
 
Location: In Euclidean space
16 posts, read 35,936 times
Reputation: 13

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I have lived in California my whole life, until moving to Texas last month, to begin a phD program in Physics. But I have always disliked technology and urban life. Since I am rather introverted and don't like having to conform with people's ways (in the urban areas of CA. Maybe I'll like the people in rural areas much better), and also reproach the typical career paths for Physics PhD graduates, I was thinking of perhaps trying to spend my life after my Physics graduate studies in a much more rural environment.

I was thinking of moving to Alaska (or a similar place, such as Montana). The freezing cold would probably be a problem at first, but I hope to get used to it. I've somewhat gotten used to the heat in moving from CA to TX. Alaska seems to have many things I really desire in a place to live. Libertarianism, vast unspoiled nature, geographic isolation, freedom, outdoors, etc. I've had an interest in watching the life of bears, wolves, whales, etc from the Nature shows on PBS.

If I move to Alaska or Montana, I was thinking of saving enough money, either by living off my measly TA stipend or possibly quitting the phD program and go work for a few years, perhaps as an engineer or computer programmer. Then, I hope to buy a cabin in AK or MT.

I already maintain a subsistence/ascetic living - I rarely spend money on unnecessary things, I almost never eat at restaurants or fast-food, would rather sweat in the heat than use the AC or fan. Also, as mentioned earlier, I am getting disgusted with technology/conformity - I hate pop culture and don't follow it at all, never listen to music, never watch TV, haven't seen a movie for almost a year, I also almost always keep my cell phone off, don't use facebook, etc.

However, I've never gone hunting, fishing, etc, as I've just recently seriously considered leaving the urban life for rural life.

Would I be a good fit for AK or MT?

Moreover, could I live here extremely cheaply? In addition to building my own cabin, what else could I do to save money? Could I cut costs on utilities by having a wood stove and cutting wood for my heat? How much food can one gather from hunting, fishing, gathering berries, etc as opposed to buying food at the market?

Are there any parts of AK or MT where I could live in as much isolation as possible? I hope that the people in AK or MT are much friendlier than in CA, but I still would always want my alone time. How much more difficult is it to make friends in AK than CA for an introvert who has spent his life being very studious like me?
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:22 PM
 
46 posts, read 57,413 times
Reputation: 44
so you are a big ted kaczynski fan then... montanas a great place to bang out that manifesto dude.. go for it
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Juneau
222 posts, read 321,272 times
Reputation: 238
Short answer, No.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:12 PM
 
719 posts, read 1,280,468 times
Reputation: 604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vector Sum View Post
I have lived in California my whole life, until moving to Texas last month, to begin a phD program in Physics. But I have always disliked technology and urban life. Since I am rather introverted and don't like having to conform with people's ways (in the urban areas of CA. Maybe I'll like the people in rural areas much better), and also reproach the typical career paths for Physics PhD graduates, I was thinking of perhaps trying to spend my life after my Physics graduate studies in a much more rural environment.

I was thinking of moving to Alaska (or a similar place, such as Montana). The freezing cold would probably be a problem at first, but I hope to get used to it. I've somewhat gotten used to the heat in moving from CA to TX. Alaska seems to have many things I really desire in a place to live. Libertarianism, vast unspoiled nature, geographic isolation, freedom, outdoors, etc. I've had an interest in watching the life of bears, wolves, whales, etc from the Nature shows on PBS.

If I move to Alaska or Montana, I was thinking of saving enough money, either by living off my measly TA stipend or possibly quitting the phD program and go work for a few years, perhaps as an engineer or computer programmer. Then, I hope to buy a cabin in AK or MT.

I already maintain a subsistence/ascetic living - I rarely spend money on unnecessary things, I almost never eat at restaurants or fast-food, would rather sweat in the heat than use the AC or fan. Also, as mentioned earlier, I am getting disgusted with technology/conformity - I hate pop culture and don't follow it at all, never listen to music, never watch TV, haven't seen a movie for almost a year, I also almost always keep my cell phone off, don't use facebook, etc.

However, I've never gone hunting, fishing, etc, as I've just recently seriously considered leaving the urban life for rural life.

Would I be a good fit for AK or MT?

Moreover, could I live here extremely cheaply? In addition to building my own cabin, what else could I do to save money? Could I cut costs on utilities by having a wood stove and cutting wood for my heat? How much food can one gather from hunting, fishing, gathering berries, etc as opposed to buying food at the market?

Are there any parts of AK or MT where I could live in as much isolation as possible? I hope that the people in AK or MT are much friendlier than in CA, but I still would always want my alone time. How much more difficult is it to make friends in AK than CA for an introvert who has spent his life being very studious like me?

I don't live there and already know I would not be a good fit. However, you should probably take a vacation and spend a couple of weeks there in the wilderness etc. It will at least give you a taste of what it is like.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,560 posts, read 3,939,615 times
Reputation: 1918
Come up & visit for a few weeks. That'll give you a better idea of what it's like here.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:24 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,705,089 times
Reputation: 2153
You cannot tell me Texas does not have extremely rural areas and the ability to 'get lost', which seems to be your only goal. What else attracts you to AK or MT?

I agree with the visit first part, but go in the winter to see if you can handle the cold.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:41 PM
 
5,335 posts, read 7,678,120 times
Reputation: 9558
Lots of people get lost in Texas, many polygamy colonies exist there, for example. Everyone minds their own business and the colonies thrive.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:58 PM
 
4,986 posts, read 8,293,299 times
Reputation: 3264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vector Sum View Post
Libertarianism, vast unspoiled nature, geographic isolation, freedom, outdoors, etc.
Where did you get that idea? The Alaska state government is a nanny-state bunch that is in the process of chasing its major idustries out with over taxation and regulation. Look at all of the surveys. Alaska is consistently ranked at the bottom of business friendly states, in part due to excessive, intrusive, liberal governance.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Whidbey Island, WA
11,970 posts, read 10,783,983 times
Reputation: 5857
Short answer 2. Come up. Drive around. Make contacts.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:07 PM
 
4,829 posts, read 4,816,797 times
Reputation: 6172
If you dislike urban setting, what's the point of getting a Ph.D., especially a Ph.D. in physics you can hardly use in rural areas? Employment picture for fresh physics Ph.D.s is bleak, mildly speaking, for a couple of decades already, supply of eager Chinese and Indians grad students is unlimited. If you are good and LUCKY you'll be chasing those postdoctoral openings and temporary research appointments like a mountain goat chases sparse winter fodder for many, many years before finding something "tangible" (no guarantees). I'm not exaggerating in the least, for you to have a modestly successful career in Physics etc. you MUST "reinvent" yourself as a single-minded robot zombie/lab rat having no life & no other interests than your research. There will be no time for smelling flowers, getting in touch with nature and digging in dirt, especially after graduate school, sorry. Despite movie cliches, you being introvertish does NOT help in landing a career. You better be good at schmoozing & "people skills" on top of being a good used car salesman to make it in science. If you are not robot zombie material, get hell out, you'll not make it far and you will hate every minute of the "ride". Unfortunately, "well rounded" types are not good match with the modern university-industrial complex.

On the other hand, there is small niche that may let you to use your physics Ph.D. in rural areas - teaching. Ideally, a small liberal art college for the gilded youth, most of these colleges are located in small towns, as rural as it gets. Good thing about these small gilded liberal colleges, they will not demand continuous research output, just good teaching. In other words you'll have little bit time for yourself & your other passions. Sure, there are second rate rural state schools for you to teach BUT no matter how crappy state school gets, you must generate research & publications in addition to bringing in grant money for you to keep a job, in other words, no time/life before (and even after) tenure. And there are community colleges out there. Pay sucks, but for ascetic types it should be sufficient. Ph.D. teaching HS? I'm not sure about that. First, it will take you 2 years on top of your Ph.D. to get certified and second I don't think a Ph.D. will be an asset for a HS teacher.
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