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Thread: Moving to Alaska...maybe?

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    Default Moving to Alaska...maybe?

    So, we may be headed to Alaska. It's not 100% yet but we're hoping to be there at some point this winter....yeah, I know...probably not the best time to arrive. Here is our situation:

    I am 28 and my husband of 10 years is 30. We have 2 kids (5 & 8). My husband and I were born and raised here in Georgia. We're starting to think that we need a break from here (my mother, on the other hand, has a very different view on this ) Anywho, my husband is an RN and we've been talking a lot lately about him starting up with travel nursing. One place we have both always wanted to go is Alaska. The more we read and the more we look around websites the more we're starting to think we may want to live there, not just travel there. This website has also given me a huge amount of information. So thanks!

    We're pretty sure that he won't be able to get a permanent position at a hospital since we do not currently have an Alaskan address and he will need to apply for his License. We also want to make sure we actually like the state before packing up and heading out. So tell me if you think this may be a good plan. We're thinking of having him go ahead and start looking for a contract position. Once he lands one and we get there, it'll be for a minimum of 13 weeks. He's hoping to get a 26 week contract or see about extending a 13 week contract. We're hoping this will be enough time for us to travel around and make sure that we are willing to make the big move. If we enjoy it as much as we think we will, then he wants to start looking for a more permanent position while we are there and heck, if we don't like it then we'll just move on to the next location.

    Does this sound feasible? Can you think of a better way? Before leaving we plan on putting the majority of our household items in storage and tow a Uhaul trailer behind us with the stuff we know we'll need. Yes, we plan on driving from Ga....with 2 young kids....and a dog... Smart, huh?

    Any information you can give would be GREATLY appreciated!!

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    Its a good plan. You need to time the 26 weeks to be able to "test the waters" of the seasons. A good number of people come in the summer and love it, then endure the winter and flee south. I know, and most of us do, families that has happened with. And its not necessarily the cold but the darkness of the winter that gets a lot of people. You need to stay active and do things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    Its a good plan. You need to time the 26 weeks to be able to "test the waters" of the seasons. A good number of people come in the summer and love it, then endure the winter and flee south. I know, and most of us do, families that has happened with. And its not necessarily the cold but the darkness of the winter that gets a lot of people. You need to stay active and do things.
    Thanks for the info. We're hoping to be there during this winter but not sure about the timing yet. When does it start getting lighter longer? I ask because we would like to try and be there during winter when it's darker and also when there's more light. We're wanting to be there at least by January.

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    Shortest day of the year is December 21, longest June 21. Jan/Feb are usually the coldest and although it is getting lighter, gradually, its still a short day in Anchorage. It seems to be headed for a cold and early winter. The forecast is for snow this week in Fairbanks. 2011-2012 had the most snow and 2012-2013 had the longest snow season, from first snow to last if that's any indication. Getting here in Jan for a 26 month contract would take you to the middle of June and the longest days.

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    You won't like it. Better jus stay down south. There's no work here and it's cold and dark and all the fish and game have been depleted to near extinction due to transient outsiders who take and give nothing back to our poor homeland.

    Reality of it is. Rent is sky high ( if you can get a place), good luck With finding a rental that allows dogs for anything less than $1100 a month. Better have perfect credit or you'll be living in a dump. Jobs are tough to grab ahold of especially to non residents especially in the winter. You'll probably wreck your vehicle within the first week or three, be it caused by one of the few remaining moose or a drunk driver ( which are rampant) or jus due to the fact that your likely rookie winter travelers, being from a relatively warm place that gets maybe less than 1" of snow in a year. So youll want to make sure you have top premium AK insurance. And remember, you actually have to Become a resident and LIVE here 18 months before your eligible for a PFD which IMO doesn't make a person worthy of collecting one. It'll be tough not having any family close by or friends to count on for babysitting, emergencies, comfort, etc. so be prepared for that bit of shock as well.

    Jus saying, it ain't what you see on tv. It's exactly the same as down there jus harder and different scenery.



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    There is also a higher crime ratio here. Drug abuse, rape, Shootings everyday and murders across the state. Don't believe your escaping any problems.



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    Just move to Anchorage and you won't be that far from Alaska. You won't have to worry about the cold or dark and you can live at the end of a cul-de-sac. Rent will likely be expensive, but hey, it's a big city.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Not sure what got up their noses, but it's my impression that healthcare professionals are in high demand across Alaska and you may have plenty of options. In addition to the hospitals check out the native corporations. If you're moving here because you love the outdoors, don't move to Anchorage unless it's the only place you can find work - it's expensive, urban, and has a high crime rate. And yeah, it's much like anywhere else, only harder to get to (the usual comment about Anchorage is "If I wanted to live in Seattle, I'd live in Seattle").

    We just got our first measurable snow in the interior, and I think we'll probably be able to ice fish in a month. The quality of life here is what you make it - it can be fantastic or it can be hellish and I don't think there's much in-between. I think it's fantastic. Don't much care for the dark in the winter but life's all about tradeoffs and the rest of it is very good indeed.
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    Thanks so much for the info, Bill S. and SkinnyD. Yeah...not sure why I received the negative response but oh well, nothing I can do about that. We've actually found plenty of nice rentals that allow dogs. I believe "someone" doesn't want anyone moving in! SkinnyB, you're correct. There are plenty of healthcare positions available in Alaska. We're looking more into the Kenai area. It seems to be more affordable and more up our alley. We don't like to be around big cities. We hate just driving into Atlanta! We're really looking forward to visiting the area and seeing what it has to offer! Thanks again!

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    As someone in healthcare who moved from the south I think I can relate to your questions! Depending what area your husband has experience in- there are usually openings for experienced RN's. Travel companies usually offer the option of a furnished place or giving you money towards rent. Hospitals are trying to cut down on travel nurses but there are still shortages in critical care, ortho, cath lab, etc.

    As far as finding a place that accepts dogs- yes it can be hard but if you are in Anchorage, let me know because I know some landlords who only rent to healthcare people and allow pets. I moved from Texas to Idaho, then to Anchorage (end of December). The winter is long but it is beautiful and less crowded. If I could choose to live anywhere in the state- Anchorage would not be it, however it is a great compromise with employment and being close to where I like to spend time (and bought land). As far as the crime- of course it is here but if you stay away from drugs and idiots you will feel (and be)safer here than most places. People talk of Anchorage being a big city, but you will quickly put it into perspective when you can drive the entire length in 20 minutes.

    Get on the computer- look at the employers, ask questions, get someone to fly him up for an interview and then take an assignment here and look around. I think people either love it or get out as soon as they can. I have been here 13 yrs and I love it! There is something about it that can't be described.

    Good luck
    Brian

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    You will love Alaska and Alaska will love and welcome you & your family.......The Kenai Peninsula is a WONDERFUL place to live. Hospitals in Seward, Homer, and Soldotna.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    You won't like it. Better jus stay down south. There's no work here and it's cold and dark and all the fish and game have been depleted to near extinction due to transient outsiders who take and give nothing back to our poor homeland.

    Reality of it is. Rent is sky high ( if you can get a place), good luck With finding a rental that allows dogs for anything less than $1100 a month. Better have perfect credit or you'll be living in a dump. Jobs are tough to grab ahold of especially to non residents especially in the winter. You'll probably wreck your vehicle within the first week or three, be it caused by one of the few remaining moose or a drunk driver ( which are rampant) or jus due to the fact that your likely rookie winter travelers, being from a relatively warm place that gets maybe less than 1" of snow in a year. So youll want to make sure you have top premium AK insurance. And remember, you actually have to Become a resident and LIVE here 18 months before your eligible for a PFD which IMO doesn't make a person worthy of collecting one. It'll be tough not having any family close by or friends to count on for babysitting, emergencies, comfort, etc. so be prepared for that bit of shock as well.

    Jus saying, it ain't what you see on tv. It's exactly the same as down there jus harder and different scenery.
    Oh, fer crying out loud... *sigh*

    Ignore the negative responses. Yes, there may be some difficulties along the way and some adjustments to be made, but clearly you understand that or you wouldn't be doing research and asking questions. Besides, it sure as heck isn't all doom and gloom, otherwise we wouldn't all live here. Most folks that live here absolutely LOVE it, including the member I quoted above. No, we don't want our state overrun with people, but I for one welcome new folks that intend to enjoy Alaska for what it can be.

    Rent is high, no doubt, but average pay is higher as well. Even though that may not totally even out, the quality of life is worth every penny of extra expense. Demand for RNs is sky high - he will have no problem finding a job. That there are no jobs here is absolutely false except perhaps for those with no marketable skills. As for driving, yeah, you might park it in a ditch a time or two. Drive slowly, buy studded tires, and you'll figure it out. My wife is from Southern California and has never been in the ditch or a wreck in her 10 years here. She drove slowly and carefully and learned how to deal with ice - you will too. I've never hit a moose, never been hit by a drunk driver, and even though I live in the Municipality of Anchorage *gasp!*, I've never been the victim of crime. There are parts of Anchorage that have higher crime rates, but in general it is among the most friendly cities you will ever set foot in. No, it's not a small town, but neither is it a sprawling, faceless metropolis.

    By all means consider living elsewhere - the Kenai area is wonderful - but if Anchorage is where he finds work, understand that you can have grand adventures there. All of the following pictures were taken within a 1/2 hour drive of downtown Anchorage:




















    And these were taken within a 1.5 hour drive. Yep...pretty terrible part of the state.









    And if you someday add a boat to the picture, all of this is within an hour of Anchorage + time on the water:










    Don't get me wrong - I sure wouldn't mind living more rural than I do. That said, the Anchorage area (I prefer Eagle River or Girdwood) isn't such a bad place to start your adventures from.

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    Didn't mean to exclude you, mishore! I actually meant to thank you, not SkinnyD!

    Thanks so much for the pictures! They are beautiful! It made us more excited! He has several travel agencies to call tomorrow, so hopefully he'll get some much needed information. And yes, AKBEE, we plan on taking the stipend for housing. I'm not sure if most agencies can accommodate for families. I keep seeing "one bedroom apartment." Would you mind if I PM you? Were you traveling or did you just move and get a job there?

    Again, thanks so much for the information! Feel free to keep it coming!!

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    Thanks for that post Brian. I get so tired of the Anchorage bashing. Yes, most of us here would prefer to live a little more rural but than again if we all did the "rural" in the rest of the state would be a little less so wouldn't it? Case in point Kenai/Soldotna or the urban sprawl taking place in the valley.
    You Anchorage haters should be encouraging people to move to Anchorage rather than your neck of the woods or your town will look like mine sooner than later.
    The crime thing is a myth. State statistics show that rape, murder, suicide, alcoholism, domestic violence etc. all occur at a higher rate per capita in rural Alaska than in Anchorage.
    As far as biggish cities go it's a pretty good place to be.

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    So now you know you will need 4 new studded tires, a boat for the ocean, a boat for the rivers(+ mandatory life vests for kids), a atv(2 if you want to go too), a snow machine(make that 2, hubby will want one of his own), new xc skis(4 pair) , new down hill skis(4 pair), new fishing gear(salt and fresh), lots of new clothes(rain gear, summer + winter boots, gloves & mittens, etc) new camera to save all the memories! Alaska is just a short drive(or hike) from Anchorage and can be photographed from Anchorage. Rumor has it Providence is trying to do away with travelers. After the 1st winter you will be sitting on the door step drinking a mint julep in short sleeves the first time the temperature reaches 40f.
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    We moved here from Hawaii (!) in 1985 and have lived in Anchorage most of that time. We LOVE it. It's certainly the outdoors that drew us here, but especially the PEOPLE. Some really great folks here, who will make you feel very welcome. If you do come to Anchorage, by all means get in touch and we would love to show you around our beautiful little city. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    On the not-so-fun side, we have seen a lot of people come for a short time, and then leave. Mostly it's not the cold that gets them, it's that winters are SO LONG. So. Just plan on embracing winter. We had an absolutely glorious summer this year, but as always it was too short. Now it's fall, but soon the snow will be flying. The best way to make winter work for you is to find ways to enjoy it. Get some cross-country skis, read up on avalanche issues, and then get a good trail map and dive in! Many of our forum members are fully into that, and would be happy to show you the ropes. If skiing is not your thing, you could consider snow machining. It's really popular too. But go with people who know what they're doing, or you could get into trouble. It doesn't take long to get way away from people, and if you have trouble it could be really tough getting back. The people here on this site have tons of advice in those areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrittyBea36 View Post
    Didn't mean to exclude you, mishore! I actually meant to thank you, not SkinnyD!
    Sometimes satire is the best way to make a point, and I believe you understood the point I was making.

    Here's the important thing: find someone back home who will send you pecans and grits on a regular basis. I've got a contact in South Carolina who sends me a box of pecans once a year... not sure if I could stand it up here without them.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    The K-Pen is a fine place to live but Anchorage isn't bad either if you can afford to live in a decent neighborhood. I have been here for over 13 years and the worst crime I have been a victim of was when a kid's bike went missing from my yard. The moose keep my bushes trimmed and lawn fertilized. Just this year I have had geese, porcupines, foxes and black bears all in my neighborhood. I can drive a couple of miles down the road and see Dall sheep and Beluga wales too. My point is that there are wild spaces all around town.

    The climate and location of Anchorage are actually quite good. It doesn't get as bitter cold here as it does in the interior, or nearly as much precipitation as coastal towns like Seward or Valdez. We are close enough to the Kenai Penisula and to the lower interior from Denali south that either can be visited on a weekend trip. If you get into saltwater boating you can be in the water out of Whittier in an hour from town.

    I'm not trying to talk you into moving here, just trying to convey that it is probably irrational to avoid it at any significant cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    Here's the important thing: find someone back home who will send you pecans and grits on a regular basis. I've got a contact in South Carolina who sends me a box of pecans once a year... not sure if I could stand it up here without them.

    What is it with Southerners and pecans? All our friends back in East Texas send us bags and bags at Christmas . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meanderthal View Post
    The K-Pen is a fine place to live but Anchorage isn't bad either if you can afford to live in a decent neighborhood. I have been here for over 13 years and the worst crime I have been a victim of was when a kid's bike went missing from my yard.
    Speaking of that. I read not to go anywhere that ends with "view". Is this true? Where are the nicer areas of Anchorage? The travel agency gives a pretty decent stipend for housing so hopefully cost won't be a big issue.

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