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Alaska: Where The Heart Is


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I actually thought about leaving Alaska – for a nanosecond.

My two daughters are grown and gone and living in the Lower 48 with their families. I miss them, and don’t get to see them near enough. My parents and brother also live south, and visits come once a year or less.

I’ve lived in Alaska since 1986 and have since called this home. Home is not Phoenix where I grew up, where I still have friends, where I spent my entire youth.

Home is here, even in the depth of winter. I love Alaska.

I remember the first time I saw this state. I crossed the Canadian border into this Great Land and had to stop my vehicle as a herd of caribou scattered around the car, reminding me of the parting of the Red Sea. I was in awe and turned to my husband of the time and said, “I’m never leaving.”

I remember my first glimpse of Matanuska Glacier. I remember my first view of Anchorage.

I have great memories of my kids growing up on the same street I live now, starting kindergarten, graduating, going on to college. Alaska is a place they still call home, even though they have been gone for many years and have their own lives in Missouri and Georgia.

Alaska’s a Good Place to Live

Alaska has been good to me. Here, as the rest of the U.S. is still in the throes of a recession, we are doing well as a state, and I am doing well as an individual. Here, as magazines nationwide stumble to survive, ABM is still profitable and read by 100,000 monthly.

Alaska offers beauty, a stable housing market, a sound financial industry – and opportunity for growth, if we allow it.

People leave, they come back. They leave, they come back. It’s a haunting place. Once it’s in your blood, it’s hard to forget, hard to imagine a life without long winters and amazing, but short, summers, with endless adventures and places to travel. I love seeing Alaska – everything from Bush communities, to my annual summer treks to Homer, from Glacier Bay to Juneau, from Kodiak to Seward, from Kotzebue to Gambell. It’s an awesome awesome place.

I got a call the other day from an old roommate. He said he is returning to Alaska after three years gone. This place is in his blood as thick as it is mine.

Great Place to Grow Old

I miss my family. I miss them terribly. But I think I will grow old here. I arrived as a young adult and now in my midlife can’t think of leaving, not when I really think about it. I will grow old and gray and feeble living in this state, and if I live to 80, will still be amazed that every twist and turn along our road system is like living in a postcard. Every place (just about) picture-perfect.

A coworker told me the other day stay in Alaska, but take more trips Outside for visits. I think I will take her advice. Alaska is home, and home is where your heart is. Alaska stole mine 25 years ago this month. Ahhh. What a good thing to happen.

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