No matter where you go in your life, if you grew up in Alaska it will always be a point of pride and conversation. The state is huge and you could be from the verdant rainforests of Southeast or a thousand miles north in the tundra of the Northwest. No matter where you grew up, there were sure to be far more trees than people, an outdoor lifestyle, and a lot of fish! These are some of the residual signs that you grew up at the top of the world.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Relentless energy when the sun is shining.
Alaskans know full well not to waste a moment of summer sun. Whether it be working hard or playing hard, Alaskans have a "Go! Go! Go!" mentality that doesn't fade. When the sun shining, an Alaskan will be moving and getting things done no matter what.
2. An unstoppable hunger for salmon.
As the salmon fill the rivers and streams in the summer, Alaskans go fishing to fill the freezers for the winter. At this time of year, salmon can be eaten at every meal without a thought. Most who grew up in Alaska can eat a LOT of salmon without ever getting tired of the red, succulent fish. Whether it be smoked, dried, grilled, canned, baked, broiled or in something different like a pie or spaghetti, Alaskans find a way to keep eating salmon as long as they are running.
3. Assuming it's cold when it's dark.
The Alaskan summer midnight sun brings the warmth, but when it's gone during get long, dark winter nights the heat doesn't linger. Consequently, it is never both warm and dark in Alaska. Summer nights are light and winter nights are cold. It can take an Alaskan a while to used to warm, dark summer nights in more temperate places.
4. Immunity to sticker shock.
With the long distances food is required to travel to get to Alaskan store shelves, most people understand that the more remote you are, the higher the prices. That can mean a $17.00 frozen pizza in Glenallen or a half gallon of milk for $8.00 in Utqiagvik (formally Barrow). So, Alaskans think prices everywhere else are reasonable.
5. Inability to Parallel Park.
With so much space and so few people, Alaskans rarely have to drive very close to other cars, and hardly ever have to parallel park. Unless you are in downtown Anchorage on a regular basis, most of Alaska has plenty of room to park far from other cars. Of course, parallel parking is required for the driver's license test, but those skills can get rusty when they are hardly ever used.
6. Preference for Alaskan blueberries.
Small, dark, tart and completely unique, Alaskan blueberries are just not the same as the ones sold everywhere else. If you grow up in Alaska, you will forever miss the blueberries of home when snacking on the other kind.
7. You think everything is close together in the rest of the world.
Alaska is enormous and getting from one region to another takes a while, and usually more than one form of transportation. When a journey from one town to the other takes a plane, a boat, and a car ride, you are unfazed by epic distances. Everything in the Lower 48 states seems so manageable once you leave the great land.
8. You're secretly awesome at basketball.
You may think hockey would be Alaska's most popular sport, and it is pretty popular, but basketball is really the most popular sport in the AK. In rural Alaska where all items including sports equipment are scarce, basketball is played night and day all summer long. With the midnight sun lighting the courts, the pickup games are never-ending.
9. You know the power of layering.
With weather that can drop 10's of degrees in a few hours, or warm up with the sun to sweltering temps, Alaskans know to bring a lot of different kinds of clothes everywhere they go. The ability to adjust your outfit for comfort and safety from the elements and the mosquitoes is an Alaskan skill.
10. You are oblivious to dress codes.
Jeans, a flannel shirt, and a season appropriate boot are usually the norm at any event in Alaska, regardless of how fancy it is supposed to be. You'll see jeans at church, at nice restaurants, even at the opera in Alaska. If you are traveling, you might want to ask a friend before heading out if you are dressed correctly for the occasion because Alaskans actually have no idea.
11. You need trees in your life.
Growing up around far, far more trees than people, buildings or cars, an Alaskan will always need to find some natural place to recharge. If you lose your Alaskan at the nice hotel, wedding, or sky scraper, look in the nearest park and you may find them sitting under a tree just getting away from the crowd and talking to the birds.
Did you grow up in Alaska? Any strange side effects we didn’t mention? Tell us about it in the comments below.