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The 12 Side Effects of Living in Alaska

Alaska Culture
by Kaitlin Armstrong Jan 2, 2018

1. You’re consistently under-dressed.

A couple years in Alaska and proper social conventions fly out the window. You’ll toss your formal wear piece by piece until your closet is an assemblage of t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, and Carhartts. Special occasions may call for your spiffiest pair of Danskos or an Alaska tuxedo, but ultimately casual wear grows on you. The longer you spend here, the less likely you are to ever meet Lower 48 fashion standards again.

2. Anything above 65-degrees feels sweltering.

Summers in Alaska are short, beautiful, and mild. We like it that way — a sixty-degree streak is more than sufficient to help thaw us out after a long winter. In fact, if it gets any hotter, we’ll run the risk of severe sunburn, sweating, and overall discomfort.

3. You refuse to buy anything white.

You learned the hard way that white shoes, coats, or vehicles don’t stand a chance up here. You steer clear of them because, with so many rugged landscapes and dusty roads, the upkeep is simply impossible.

4. Your pop culture knowledge is lacking.

Trends take a while to migrate this far north, so Alaskans tend to be 2-3 years behind the times on anything popular. Combined with our general disdain for celebrity gossip and low rates of cable TV subscription, on average our pop culture knowledge is subpar.

5. But your survival know-how is unmatched.

What we lack in Kardashian trivia and 90s TV references, we make-up for it in outdoors expertise. When it comes to tying flies, smoking salmon, building fires, identifying bear scat, piloting boats, and any other survivalist skills, Alaskans are your #1 candidate.

6. Outside of Alaska, things feel out of proportion.

When you leave the state, the size of everything from fish to mountains to mosquitoes feels off. You try not to be rude, but you find yourself genuinely confused as to why people are so impressed with dinky views and tiny mackerels. Soon enough you’ll realize you have an Alaska-sized measuring stick, and the rest of the world doesn’t quite stack up.

7. You can’t deal with traffic.

Back home, the worst traffic you had to face was 4 people lined up ahead of you at the stop sign… and you may remember when the first stoplight went up. You dread driving in the Lower 48, and you’re woefully unprepared to deal with city traffic, four-lane highways, or any kind of congestion.

8. You have a fierce independent streak.

Living in Alaska encourages you to value independence, creativity, and doing things your own way. It’s a blessing and a curse; there’s a freedom that comes with living life on your own terms, but you may not always take well to being told what to do.

9. Adjusting to 9-5 life is more difficult than it should be.

Growing up, working 9-5 was barely the norm. Most of the adults in your life were small business owners, fisherman, craftsmen, service-industry workers, or made their living seasonally. You’re all too familiar with the benefits of working independently, so the routine, the lack of travel opportunities, and general drudgery of corporate office life feel unnatural.

10. You can’t help but mess with people.

You’re used to fielding questions about life in Alaska, and you’ve learned to respond to ignorance tit-for-tat. When ridiculous queries are thrown your way, you relish in telling elaborate stories about your dog-sledge team, deluxe igloo, and prime views of Russia.

11. You’re prone to claustrophobia.

When wide open spaces are your norm, it’s easy to get accustomed to peace and quiet. After you shudder at the idea of population density. The sights, sounds, and smells of the city become sensory overload, and you need frequent escapes to get by.

12. You’re always up for an adventure.

Your friends may consider you an adrenaline junkie and marvel at your spontaneity because you never turn down a chance for adventure. Day or night, a trip to the beach, jaunt through the woods, or any outdoor encounter is welcome, and you’re ready to take off at the drop of a hat.

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