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Thread summary:

Florida resident, possible relocation to Barrow, Alaska, young 20s single male, employment opportunities, party scene, limited nightlife due to extreme weather and lack of public drinking facilities

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Old 10-12-2008, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Florida
13 posts, read 21,793 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello everyone. I have spent the last couple of days going through all of the Alaska posts of any significance, and I must say that Barrow still sounds rather intriguing.

Right now I am stuck in a rut working a horrible job, and not really enjoying my everyday life. I am looking for more adventure than what Florida is offering me at the moment. Which leads me to these few questions I still have.

What kind of a lifestyle can a single 22 year old male really expect to have?

How difficult is it to find accomodation for one? and what can I expect to pay for it?

Is it difficult to find a job that is people oriented? Right now I am waiting tables at a pub, and while I like the personal aspect of it, I cant stand the actual job itself.

Can the salary of a single job pay all the bills and afford a decent lifestyle? [I should point out that I do NOT have a degree as of yet (I am waiting to find something I KNOW I want to do for a living before I commit to schooling.)]

Why is it that I read about partying in Barrow as a BAD thing? Most people my age all over the world throw parties and have a good time? I'm curious as to what makes this different.

Is there a time of year that is better to make the move than another. Right now May-July of 09 is my goal, but thats always changeable.

Thanks everyone for your insight. I appreciate the upcoming responses.

Are the people REALLY that cold to the outsiders that move up there? I understand that the POV is that there is little point in truly getting to know someone if they are going to stay a short period of time.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:11 PM
 
3,774 posts, read 7,634,626 times
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A couple of reasons that partying hard in Barrow is not a great idea. Extreme weather. Lack of public drinking facilities.

The lack of public drinking facilities means that there isn't a bouncer or bartender to put a stop to someone who needs it. Private parties have a tendency to ignore the neighbors and get a little out of hand when alcohol is involved.

Extreme weather and alcohol don't mix. The lack of blood flow to the extremities leaves them numb. This is to concentrate core temps. Constriction to blood vessels is a natural body reaction to lower temps. Alcohol reinforces this reaction.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:30 PM
 
11,771 posts, read 18,394,850 times
Reputation: 2674
I'm thinking you'd have a better time in Girdwood.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Florida
13 posts, read 21,793 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks a bunch for the explanation on the whole drinking thing. Makes tons of sense. Appreciate it!
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:21 AM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,538 posts, read 4,505,133 times
Reputation: 1792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Txczechers View Post
Hello everyone. I have spent the last couple of days going through all of the Alaska posts of any significance, and I must say that Barrow still sounds rather intriguing.
Well, Barrow certainly is an exciting and adventurous place to live. It's also a difficult one where you have to adapt to it, because it isn't going to adapt to you in the slightest...

Regardless of that, it really is interesting all the strange responses you get to the strange perceptions that you have! I guess there is just no way to avoid that, because frankly I really don't know of a way to explain what it is like to people who've never been here. :-)
Quote:
Right now I am stuck in a rut working a horrible job, and not really enjoying my everyday life. I am looking for more adventure than what Florida is offering me at the moment. Which leads me to these few questions I still have.
Okay, but of course it depends more on what your idea of "adventure" is than on any answer to the questions that you've asked!
Quote:
What kind of a lifestyle can a single 22 year old male really expect to have?
If you like hunting and fishing and winter sports, you'll love it. If you expect an urban lifestyle or any of its trappings, you'll probably die of boredom waiting for something to happen... (And you'll do that alone too, because all the eligible young women will be off cutting up caribou with the guys that know how to catch them.)
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How difficult is it to find accomodation for one?
Not at all.
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and what can I expect to pay for it?
$800-$2000, depending on what you want.
Quote:
Is it difficult to find a job that is people oriented? Right now I am waiting tables at a pub, and while I like the personal aspect of it, I cant stand the actual job itself.

Can the salary of a single job pay all the bills and afford a decent lifestyle? [I should point out that I do NOT have a degree as of yet (I am waiting to find something I KNOW I want to do for a living before I commit to schooling.)]
Unskilled labor doesn't pay enough to do more than feed you here.
Quote:
Why is it that I read about partying in Barrow as a BAD thing? Most people my age all over the world throw parties and have a good time? I'm curious as to what makes this different.
Most people here your age party often too, and don't have any more difficulty with it here than you do there.

Ignore all the stories people who've never lived here tell you.

The difference is that where you live dark alleys are dangerous. Strangers are dangerous. You avoid both to feel safe. Here it is different, because there are no dark alleys and even if there were there'd be nothing dangerous about them. Strangers aren't a problem either. That only leaves your friends, and of course within a very short time everyone in town that is your age would be a "friend". That would be both the nice people and the not so nice people. If you choose to party with the jerks... it is indeed dangerous (sort of like looking for friends in dark alleys in any big city).

Just a different set of social circumstances. But it happens to be one that makes places like Barrow appear to be very dangerous to people from other places. It is indeed a strange place that is different looking (and the people look different too) than where you come from. Your kneejerk reaction to that strangeness is to think it is dangerous. It isn't. Nobody harms strangers, and in fact everyone here is rather attentive to protecting them, mostly from themselves.

It is not uncommon for people from Anchorage (never mind the Lower-48) to visit places like Barrow and feel that they are in the most dangerous place they've ever imagined; all the while they are safer than they've ever been in their lives.
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Is there a time of year that is better to make the move than another. Right now May-July of 09 is my goal, but thats always changeable.
That would be as good a time as any.
Quote:
Are the people REALLY that cold to the outsiders that move up there? I understand that the POV is that there is little point in truly getting to know someone if they are going to stay a short period of time.
I don't understand where you got that idea. I don't recall anyone describing Barrow like that. Most people from other places find virtually anywhere in Alaska to be super friendly.

Heck, I haven't kicked a tourist for over a month now...
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:25 AM
 
3,774 posts, read 7,634,626 times
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Floyd, I have always enjoyed my time in BArrow. People have always been friendly, and even though I usually wind up going in winter, I still love it.
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Florida
13 posts, read 21,793 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks Floyd for providing a very insightful post yet again. I have very much enjoyed reading your other posts about Barrow in other threads.

I have always been a rather adventurous person. I spent several months living abroad in Eastern Europe. And while this is a different kind of adapting that I would have to do to make it in Barrow, I am definitely intrigued by it. Outdoor sports, especially those in Winter have always been a great deal of fun. I absolutely LOVE ATVing, snowmobiling etc. Fishing is also a great deal of fun, although I must admit that hunting has never truly been one of my favorite activities.

I kind of figured that unskilled labor up there was pretty much the same as it is anywhere in the world. I have really thought hard about getting a degree and teachers certification. I taught English when I was living in Prague, and it was a great deal of fun. I still have a question related to the unskilled labor (after all, i need to AT LEAST be able to feed myself for a while). Is it difficult to find? Obviously I will be working on getting a degree, so that I can do something more with my life. I just want to know that I wont be stranded when I get there and forced to move home so I don't drain my savings.

I am glad to hear that the place is indeed very safe even for outsiders. I understand that it is going to be VERY different than where I am now. That is to be expected. But getting to know someone else's culture is very interesting to me and I consider it a hobby of mine.

I am also enthralled to hear that you haven't kicked a tourist in over a month now... what a stretch of time LOL. I have searched all over the net, and there were a couple of blogs/forum posts that I read that stated the people were a bit cold (no pun intended) to outsiders. I have read that they are upset that outsiders are coming in and taking jobs from the natives. Which honestly is anywhere in the states. Thats just the way it is these days.

Thanks again
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,040 posts, read 22,825,010 times
Reputation: 12312
Make sure you get a round trip ticket and keep the return portion open...
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:51 AM
 
Location: WE MADE IT!!
639 posts, read 1,243,368 times
Reputation: 233
Floyd, I think this is one of the posts where he may have gotten the idea that people is Barrow aren't friendly. This was on the other Barrow thread.

"Stay in SE Alaska. I have lived and worked in Barrow. There are some really good people that live there but the majority are rude and hateful and do not like people who are non-native "we are taking their jobs". Also known as the junkyard of the arctic. If you go to work at the hospital the insurance that you will receive is not in the network so if you get sick you will pay a huge copay. Be aware the social problems in that area, alcohol, and sexual abuse, domestic violence that is just the tip of the iceberg. The cost of living is beyond imagination because of the mail and shipping charges, not to mention air fare to get out of there."
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Florida
13 posts, read 21,793 times
Reputation: 10
Oh yes, I am definitely getting an open ended return ticket. No doubt about that. And megensmom, that is exactly the post that I was thinking about. I have read so much stuff about Barrow, I just couldnt remember where it was I saw it.
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