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Old 04-06-2010, 02:37 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,428 times
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Hello, I'm new to the forums. Im from middle Tenneessee, just north of Nashville. I am almost 18, and will graduate in Decemeber hopefully. However, I have grown to dislike this area very much.
I've been thinking about moveing to Alaska for several years now once I save up the money (probably when I am around 24-28). But I have several questions about various aspects of Alaska.I Love nature's beauty, and from everything I have seen the landscapes beauty far surpasses my current area.

- I despise when the weather gets over 65 degrees, and have been known to go out in 20 degree weather with a 5 degree windchill in bluejeans and a long sleeve shirt. With that in mind how do you think I would handel the cold?

- I know there is alot of precipitation there, and it is often dark.
As far as precipitation goes, is it normaly a light mist, or heavy thunderstorms?

-How easy is it to get a job in Alaska? Now before you say "use the search function" I actually did with this one ! I saw a large variety based on what part of Alaska your in, but I am not even sure of where I want to live. I am not familier with all the areas of Alaska, though I've read Anchorage is the largest city. I would prefer not to live there. I live in a town with ~10,000 people, but with larger cities, namely Nashville, nearby, it makes it seem like there are far more people around. Anyway back to the jobs. I would prefer something where I have very little interaction with people. Possibly working on the boat docks unloading fish, or moving cargo?

-With the job you answered with, how decent would you expect the pay to be? Would I be able to get by on it?

-I'm not your normal teen. I prefer to go to the lake and be alone vs go out with friends. Solitude is my friend (not a question, just thought I would add it for insight)

-How much would a small one bedroom apartment cost? Would that cover utilites aswell?

-How good is the internet in Alaska? (please keep it relevent to the smaller areas, as Anchorage is not on my favorites list)

-How much more do products cost in Alaska vs here?
a few examples are

bread- 3.50 for the good quaility wheat bread, 99 cents for white wonderbread.

gas - 2.60'ish a gallon

milk- 3.17'ish a gallon

plain offbrand cotton shirt- 7 bucks
levi bluejeans 17$



As far as hunting and fishing goes, how good is it, and is it year round?
If the hunting is year round I would much rather hunt my own meat rather than pay rediculous prices at a store.

I suppose thats it for now. Thank you in advance for all the help
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Old 04-06-2010, 02:53 AM
 
25,063 posts, read 33,368,165 times
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Alaska is a huge state. The answers to your questions are going to vary fairly widely depending on the part of the state in question.

After you turn 18, consider working seasonally in Alaska. It's a good way for young people to familiarize themselves with the state, and lots of seasonal employers provide employee housing. You can get a good idea of what's available at Alaska Jobs - CoolWorks.com
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:14 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,428 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
Alaska is a huge state. The answers to your questions are going to vary fairly widely depending on the part of the state in question.

After you turn 18, consider working seasonally in Alaska. It's a good way for young people to familiarize themselves with the state, and lots of seasonal employers provide employee housing. You can get a good idea of what's available at [URL="http://www.coolworks.com/alaska-jobs"]Alaska Jobs - CoolWorks.com[/URL]
Thank you very much for the quick reply. I went to the link and one job that immedietly caught my eye was working on a tour vessle. It has one port in Sitka. At 14,000 people, it would be bearable for me to live there.
Thank you for the info ^_^
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Alaska & Florida
1,629 posts, read 5,202,228 times
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Since you plan on moving in 6 to 8 years...the answers you recieve now will be meaningless. I'm not trying to sound like a smartass, but seriously the price of milk, bread, and gas will be completely different. The job market will be completely different. I'm sure you are just excited about your current future plans. Get a job or continue working if you have one, set a fixed percentage aside each month and use that to visit Alaska next summer.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 7,248,094 times
Reputation: 1830
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyeye View Post
Hello, I'm new to the forums. Im from middle Tenneessee, just north of Nashville. I am almost 18, and will graduate in Decemeber hopefully. However, I have grown to dislike this area very much.
I've been thinking about moveing to Alaska for several years now once I save up the money (probably when I am around 24-28). But I have several questions about various aspects of Alaska.I Love nature's beauty, and from everything I have seen the landscapes beauty far surpasses my current area.
You sound like a really nice pleasant high school kid! It's a big world out there, and your vision of what you want to be and where you can go are just the beginnings of the adventure known as "life". It isn't possible to suddenly have all the answers the day you graduate from high school, and goodness knows that 40 or 50 years later you still won't have them all!

And that does mean that asking questions in a place like this and trying to learn something from the answers is a pretty interesting little experiment. The first thing you'll discover is that everyone is different. None of us are you. So what I like doesn't help you other than to give you something to think about; but you have to figure out who you are...

In your opening statement quoted above the only part that gave me a jerk was the bit about waiting until you are nearly middle aged to come to Alaska! Why wait. In fact there is only one good reason to wait after you get out of school, and that is school. If you want to attend some specific college for something you cannot get here in Alaska, do that first. But the instant you get to a point where your future educational needs can be satisfied in Alaska, go there.

Quote:
... do you think I would handel the cold?
It's hard to tell until you've been here a couple years at least. Humans adapt to hot and cold climates, and it takes awhile.

Quote:
- I know there is alot of precipitation there, and it is often dark.
As far as precipitation goes, is it normaly a light mist, or heavy thunderstorms?
Alaska is a huge place. Where I live we get less than about 5 inches of precipitation per year. That includes 24-36 inches of snow (measured as equivalent rainfall). The North Slope of Alaska is a desert! It also happens to be one of the wettest deserts anywhere, simply because what water there is cannot be absorbed into the permanently frozen ground. It all has to runoff into rivers and streams or be evaporated. Hence there are thousands of small lakes and wet places.

We don't get thunderstorms, we do get a lot of light and at times not much light, and we get a lot of mist at most times of the year. We love it!

Quote:
-How easy is it to get a job in Alaska?
As others have said, the job market will change by the time you get here. Get as much education as you can, and if possible become qualified for work that pays well enough. Both can of course be done in Alaska.

Read the Anchorage Daily News, the Fairbanks News-Miner, and the Juneau Empire (??) online. Over time you'll get a feel for what they represent (which is urban Alaska). Read the weekly newspapers that serve the Kenai, Bethel, and the North Slope areas too.
Quote:
-How good is the internet in Alaska? (please keep it relevent to the smaller areas, as Anchorage is not on my favorites list)
Good enough that I saw what you wrote and you can see what I wrote... :-)

Quote:
gas - 2.60'ish a gallon

milk- 3.17'ish a gallon

plain offbrand cotton shirt- 7 bucks
levi bluejeans 17$
Gas here is 4.75, milk is $10 (at least, I haven't looked lately). Shirts and jeans cost the same here via mail order as they do anywhere else. Except... I wear flannel lined Carharts, at $45 each, for example. And you probably have a "heavy" coat that cost $120 while the average "heavy" coat here is more like $250 or more. (I used to have a parka with $450 worth of wolf and wolverine fur on the ruff around the hood. It was destroyed shortly after I retired, and I no longer have the extreme need for something that good, so it has not been replace... but damned I miss that parka!)

Quote:
As far as hunting and fishing goes, how good is it, and is it year round?
If the hunting is year round I would much rather hunt my own meat rather than pay rediculous prices at a store.
It depends on where you are as to what is available when. People here, for example, catch caribou whenever they wander nearby. That can be almost any time of year, but may not happen at any given time of year. In many parts of Alaska it is very common for most people to hunt for all the meat they eat.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Bernalillo, NM
1,171 posts, read 2,298,141 times
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As previously mentioned Alaska is so vast with so many different climates/socioeconomic situations as to make the OP's questions about the entire state virtually meaningless. One way of looking at Alaska is as 4, maybe 5, general areas: southeast, the railbelt (with Anchorage maybe its own separate area), the southern coast/Aleutians, and the Bush. This is my own way of dividing up the state, others may do it differently. Each of these areas are very different and within each there is also considerable variation. But generally:

-Southeast - Wetter than the other areas, with lots of rain and snow. Juneau gets 100 inches of precip a year, Ketchikan (further south) gets 200. Fishing and tourism are the main economic drivers in this area, although Juneau stands out because it's also the capital of Alaska. Juneau has a population of about 30k, Ketchikan around 8k and most of the other southeast towns are even smaller.

Access to southeast Alaska towns and villages is by boat or plane, with no road access other than to Haines. The Alaska ferry system is an important lifeline between many of these communities. Also note that these places get virutally inundated by tourists when multiple cruise ships arrive during the summer season, with the tourists in town much more in some cases than the number of permanent residents.

Whether you'd like one of these spots; e.g., Sitka, will depend on how much being on the ocean calls to you, whether lots of rain and snow are okay, etc.

-Railbelt - This is where most of Alaska's population lives, and it stretches about 400 miles from down on the Kenai Peninsula and Valdez up to Fairbanks. It is more like the lower 48 than other places in Alaska, but even here there are some pretty remote areas between Fairbanks and Anchorage. IMO Anchorage is nearly the same as a comparable sized city in the states, except that you can get out into the wilderness fairly quickly. From the OP's description of himself, this doesn't sound like where he would want to be.

The weather can be very different depending on where you locate along the railbelt. The Kenai/Anchorage/Valdez area is a maritime climate, so the winters aren't all that cold and the summers aren't all that warm. North of the Alaska Range, Fairbanks and other interior Alaska areas are very cold in winter (down to -50F or more below zero) and can be hot in summer (with around +90F being the warmest it usually ever gets). The interior is also much dryer (it's a semi-arid climate) with relatively low humidity.

The Fairbanks area has a population of about 95k so it's the second largest population center in Alaska. It has more of the amenities you'd expect in a metro area, which may be a plus or minus depending on your life view. It's also very easy to get out into the woods for hunting and fishing from here.

Living elsewhere than the Anchorage area along the railbelt blends lower 48 and Alaska living, and probably offers the least culture shock for someone moving to Alaska. It also means you can always drive to Anchorage or Fairbanks if you want or need something a more metro area offers.

-Southern coast/Aleutians - This includes such communities as Kodiak Island, Coldbay, Unalaska, Dillingham, etc. It encompasses the main commerical fishing areas of Alaska. These are small population centers and the weather in much of this area (particularly out along the Aleutians) can charitably be described as not all that nice most of the year. It's a very isolated area for the most part, both geographically and socioeconomically.

-The Bush - This label covers a huge amount of area and diversity. Bush communities include everything from interior Alaska villages such as Galena and Ruby to the coastal towns of Barrow and Nome. My definition of the Bush is anything not in the other areas above and not served by the road network. Access is mainly by plane with some areas reachable by boat.

Alaska natives are the predominate residents of this area and can be cold to outsiders, largely depending on the outsiders' attitudes. Given the area's large geographic span, the climate also varies considerably, but a large part of the bush has cold weather for part if not most of the year. Life here is also generally costly and hard. It costs a lot to have food and other stuff shipped out to anywhere in the bush, and living day to day here (depending on exactly where you chose to locate) requires a lot of work. This isn't a place to live if you're looking for an easy life. Finding a job in the bush is also a challenge for most.

I hope the above is helpful to the OP. I'd suggest that based on this info and other research you can do in this forum and elsewhere online, he should decide which of these general areas he is most interested in. He should then be sure to visit at least a place or two in each of his areas of interest, to see what they are really like. I think this would be more efficient in helping him decide where he might like to live than simply thinking about visiting Alaska in general.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Deltana, AK
863 posts, read 1,953,503 times
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Haha, you sound EXACTLY like me as a late teenager (I'm now 26 and have been here almost 2 years). You've got some good answers to your specific questions, so all I will say is that I wish I had come up earlier and gone to college in Fairbanks. Of course, I don't know how out of state tuition works up here, but I think it's less than other states (a large percentage of college students come from "outside").

Under what circumstances you get here should depend on your personality. Some need to have everything lined up - job, place to live, plane ticket home just in case - before they come up. Personally, I like to follow my intuition and then be flexible - willing to work a crappy job, have room mates, generally live really cheap. I'm only just now getting things really lined up with my own place, running water, reliable vehicle, etc. I'm actually purchasing a bed this weekend, a REAL bed! Anyway, food for thought.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:15 PM
 
25,063 posts, read 33,368,165 times
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As far as hunting and fishing year round...not really. I know that black bear hunting is year round in SE, but most things have their seasons. After you've been here a year, you can get subsistence license and put up fish all summer. If you get a moose or a couple of deer that should last you through the winter. I spend much less in Alaska on food than I do when I'm in the lower 48. The real challenge can be fruits and vegetables during the winter months; wild berries are pretty much all over the state during the summer.

If working on boats appeals to you, after you've been here a year you can apply to work on the Alaska Marine Highway (residents only are allowed to apply, so be sure to get your driver's license here as soon as possible). I think it starts out at fairly good pay with good benefits--from what I understand the typical work schedule is something like 7 days on and 7 days off. That sort of schedule is good because it gives you blocks of time during the summer to get your winter supplies put up.

There are plenty of places to live if you don't want to be around large numbers of people. You might look into Petersburg as well as Sitka. You could also consider the Coast Guard.

Again, prices are going to change by the time you come up, but I think that one person can always get by, and you don't sound like a high maintainance type. I would though, advise you to look closely at seasonal types of jobs simply because most of them tend to offer room and board (sometimes though with a small charge) and don't entail long commitments. That way you could work in different parts of the state for awhile until you find where you want to be.
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