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  • Thinking of moving back to Alaska

    Sorry for the long read, but here goes: So I have sort of a love - hate relationship with Alaska. I moved up there a few years ago after spending a few summers there while still in college. Those summers were some of the best times of my life, lived out of a tent a good chunk of the time and nothing but fishing and hiking since I was a poor college kid. I decided once I graduated I'd move up there from Wisconsin. I took a 30 hr/ week job in Palmer and moved up there. At the time jobs were hard to find for non residents due to oil slowing down. Once I established residency there, job offers got easier and I was offered a good paying job in Fairbanks after a few months in Palmer.

    So I moved to Fairbanks and spent all my time from May - September working 7 days a week, 12 hr plus a day in a very remote area. I only had a few days off the whole summer but the money was amazing, the most I'd ever seen in my life and I didnít mind the work. I never got to fish for salmon or halibut, which was kind of the whole point of moving to Alaska. I also missed the good hunting seasons in August & September. I did get to fish for grayling after work if I wanted but that's not the most exciting thing for me. Then I spent September - the following spring living and working in Fairbanks which I did not care for. Fairbanks was a nice city, but not my favorite place. Coming from Wisconsin where there is lakes and rivers everywhere with great fishing, I saw the fishing in Fairbanks was fairly limited. Also for decent hunting it required a decent drive to get out of town and away from some of the people. I was not a fan of the bad air in the winter, the ice fog, and extreme cold (-45 or more).

    Meanwhile, my fiancť was working in the bush and trying to find a job in Fairbanks so we could live together but there was very limited jobs in her field there, and certainly no way I could get a job in my field in the bush. Not wanting to move to Anchorage or the valley (too many people and too much traffic for me) we decided we'd move back to Wisconsin. We decided La Crosse on the upper Mississippi River would be a great place for us. It has great ice fishing and open water fishing, arguably some of the best in the lower 48 for panfish, bass and pike. There is amazing duck hunting on the Mississippi flyway and great deer and turkey hunting. I filled both my gun and bow tags last year with very nice bucks off of public land. All within 30 minutes of my house, often I only have to go 5 minutes to hunt or fish. We live in a smaller town of 500 outside of the city but close enough for a short 15 minute commute with no traffic.

    Fast forward to now after living here a while and I stumbled upon a great job opening in Kenai. The nice thing about this job is I'd be home every night and have weekends off and the ability to take time off during the summer and fall to fish and hunt. I showed it to the wife and she got all excited about it and wants to move there. She's from Alaska and would love to move back. She then looked for jobs and also found an opening in her field. We always said the only way we'd move back would be if we lived in the Kenai area or Valdez, but it is hard for both of us to find jobs in those areas because there is limited opportunities. So I got to thinking last night about whether or not I want to do this. Each has their pro's and con's. I always said I would not let money dictate my life but rather focus on quality of life and our hobbies. Hereís a brief list of what I have so far:

    Pro's - Great fishing for salmon and halibut, very busy in the summers but still great fishing
    Get to live in Kenai which is one of my favorite places in Alaska
    Better paying jobs, some offset due to cost of living but a little better off than we are currently

    Con's - Limited hunting opportunities in the area from what I've read. Lots of draw tags. Would need to travel for decent chance at moose/ caribou
    The ice fishing doesn't look too great, at least compared to ice fishing in Wisconsin. I didnít care for catching stocked rainbows when I lived in Palmer
    Away from family, would only get to see them once or twice a year


    Just curious to see if anyone has some input or has gone through similar situations. I have a week or two decide if I want to go for this job so I have more time to think about it and writing it here as also helped. Iím sure Iíve missed other details but you probably have the main idea. Thanks!

  • #2
    It looks like you answered your own Question . When you said that you would not let money dictate your life .

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    • #3
      Sounds like youíre in a great spot now.

      Packing up and moving across the continent is a big decision. We did it in 1995. Financially, it was probably unwise. While I do like where I live in Alaska most of the time, I do miss my lifelong friends and a few family members who still live in the place I left. Iíve never made friends in Alaska like the ones I have there, you know, the kind that just bring the shovel.

      Anyway, choose wisely, and choose happiness. In my experience, a change of scenery really doesnít change much else.

      Good luck!

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      • #4
        Happy wife, happy life!!
        DENNY

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        • #5
          I sort went through this. My wife was tired of Alaska and wanted to live down south so we sold out, left family and friends flew and started over. While OK for while, I never really was happy but the wife was so I was, we (she) found out we had no connection to where we were living. Family and friends all back home and we gave more attention to the political climate to AK. We had no true connection to our AO. We could not sell out and start over again so we brought it all home with us. The wife was really not happy down south, now she is back home with friends and of course family. She flew up several times a year but that was expensive and hated to leave. Every single friend said we would be home within 5 years. Several also tried to move outside looking for whatever but all came home.

          Family is where life is, when young we see fishing and hunting and play as life but family is everything.

          I am not a Kenai fan so will not comment on how it is there.

          Ice fishing to me why, I would rather be skiing the backcountry.

          If your job is paying for your household goods to ship up take every advantage you can. We got quotes from 2 different (you packs) and both were around $9500+ and we had to pack, they ship it and we still had to drive or fly. We had the person come over check out our household goods to pass off for actual dollar amount.

          So we sat down started calling and built a budget for an Uhaul move. It was quite a bit less expensive to actually get back home than we budgeted. And we drove with a large amount of firearms to include handguns and ARs, no issue what so ever. A $25 Canadian firearm permit Vs $75+ each firearm to ship them.

          Good luck, any questions just ask.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 45.308 View Post
            Family is where life is, when young we see fishing and hunting and play as life but family is everything.
            .
            :ditto:

            Do you guys have kids yet? If so as long as you have a good relationship with your family, choose the location that will give them the best/most access to grandparents, cousins, aunts/uncles. You'll be glad to have a trusting helping hand available.

            Also, any sorts of medical or health issues with the older close family relatives. There are times in life where medical circumstances require us to be available to family for support or help at home. Hunting/fishing time gets replaced by Dr. visits. That isn't something that can be accomplished a few thousand miles away.

            Still trying to figure a way to spend my summers up in AK. Hopefully one day I can.

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            • #7
              I moved from Wisconsin 28 years ago. I miss heading to the tree stand every evening after work in the fall, I miss muskie/pike fishing when I could have the boat in the water 15 minutes after I left the house, I miss spending weekends on the lake in the ice shack.

              I do not miss all the hustle and bustle of the life there.

              Sure, adventures here are father away, harder to get to, and more expensive but personally I wouldn't trade it for down south.

              Alaska soothes my soul.........

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              • #8
                Originally posted by logman 49 View Post
                I moved from Wisconsin 28 years ago. I miss heading to the tree stand every evening after work in the fall, I miss muskie/pike fishing when I could have the boat in the water 15 minutes after I left the house, I miss spending weekends on the lake in the ice shack.

                I do not miss all the hustle and bustle of the life there.

                Sure, adventures here are father away, harder to get to, and more expensive but personally I wouldn't trade it for down south.

                Alaska soothes my soul.........
                Believe it or not, much of the above could be said about Ewe-stun, TX. Easier (if not always faster) access to hunting/fishing/shooting/general outdoors stuff. WAY cheaper. Much lower COL, although one could easily go higher, etc, etc.

                ...but it ain't Alaska. As noted by a previous poster, sounds like the OP is pretty happy where he's at, but if family all desires AK, maybe time to move back for some soul soothing.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the replies everyone!

                  Nolte- We don't have any kids yet, and hopefully it staysthat way for a few more years. We are both in our late 20's. As for family, allof my family lives within 2-3 hours of where we are now in Wisconsin. Her family is spread out everywhere, some inAlaska (all over the state and some in the bush), Washington, Florida, Arizona.So I guess from that perspective it'd be better to stay where we are now.

                  Logman & pa12dvr - You guys kind of hit it on the headwith the easy access to hunting and fishing. I love being able to hunt and fishafter work or if im busy on the weekends I can still go for a few hours at somepoint. That is tough to do in Alaska depending upon where you live.


                  Right now I'm leaning towards staying put, at least for now. We talked about it last night some more. The wife still wants to move back at some point and I'd be willing to if we could live in the right area. I looked into the job opportunity some more and they would need me to start fairly soon, like within a month tops. It would be a lot of work on our end to pack up and move that quick and that part just kind of feels weird to me. There is just something about being in Alaska that I love but is hard for me to describe. I'm sure you guys know what I'mtalking about.

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                  • #10
                    When we moved up from WI we immediately noticed the 25% of our income that was no longer going for taxes. No state income tax, property taxes (even in Anchorage) are next to nothing and no state/county/city sales tax.

                    If you plan to have children, I highly recommend staying in WI for the school years. Your child's IQ will thank you. An education isn't a valued commodity by many up here and the educational system structures reflect that.

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                    • #11
                      I definitely noticed that when I moved back to Wisconsin before. People always talk about the cost of living being high in Alaska but there is very little in taxes there and that offsets the COL to the point where for me it was not that noticeable when you break it out in a monthly budget. Obviously this depends on where in the state you live but generally true if you are on the road system.

                      My wife is a teacher and has taught in both Alaska and Wisconsin and noticed a huge difference in the quality of education, Wisconsin being better in her opinion. I'd still be comfortable having kids go to public schools in Alaska as I believe how you raise them at home and how involved you are in their education plays a bigger role.

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                      • #12
                        My boys were home schooled and my daughter went to a private Christian School. When the libs restructured the school boundaries for diversity in education she was bused across Anchorage to East, she was failing. Us parents and a few on the school board fought like crazy against it but of course the minor libs got their way, its for the kids. Bring your parents to school day was an eye opener, not teaching but the kids controlled the class room and the teaching was pure indoctrination. We talked to the school to no avail. We pulled her out to a Christian school and she actually graduated on the honor roll. School books had facts not propaganda. This was 15 years ago.

                        My middle son was bullied in Jr high, I told him to stand up for himself so he did and guess what, he got expelled, the bully was almost praised by the principal and the parents too, they were right and we were wrong. The wife had me leave the meeting. We pulled him out and home schooled, one of the smartest brightest kids there is, he can out think almost anyone his age with knowledge and facts.

                        My youngest son was a football star and was recruited, yes it happens in high school, at first he was allowed to attend Dimond, then we had to home school once the libs took over with more diversity.

                        On the Kenai you can fish at lunch of after / before work it you want. Hunting is a little harder but there are areas in 15a that this can happen along with 1000 other hunters.

                        The cost of living changed in the 1990s when the box stores arrived. Rent was $1000+ in the 1980s for the same apartments now. Food is about the same, junk food and snacks are a little higher. Shipping has always added cost but not like it use to be.

                        Income / sales tax has been a talk for decades, some day it will happen as the left coast libs continue to take over. A couple boroughs already have a tax. They are finally taking the PFD also in talks for decades.

                        Grandkids are hard for grandparents to live a days flight from. This is what happened to us, we can fly to see them a couple times a year, nope, the wife now can have the kids come over and hang out, the happiest she has been since we left. The grass is not always greener somewhere else. Like the saying in the military, the best post/base was your last one and the next one, its a right of passage for a GI complain.

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                        • #13
                          You just had to take the thread into the gutter with political drivel, didn't you? SMH...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cheeser View Post
                            You just had to take the thread into the gutter with political drivel, didn't you? SMH...
                            He is telling it how it is! Been in Anchorage for 45 years, raised 2 kids here too. If the truth hurts, to bad!
                            When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
                            '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"
                            2018 12' Moto Jet "River Pup"

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cheeser View Post
                              You just had to take the thread into the gutter with political drivel, didn't you? SMH...
                              Good to know that a family's life experience and perspective are such a bother. OP posted a problem they had and their solution to said problem. Not just pissin and moaning.

                              Comment

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