Things You Will Miss Living in Alaska

Honestly, I have no idea what you’ll miss when living in Alaska. But I can tell you what I miss. Now that we’ve been living in Alaska for nearly a full year, there are quite a few things I realize I miss from our travels around the lower forty eight.

Technically, this is the longest time we’ve spent living in a house anywhere since we first hit the road nearly 17 years ago. So, one of the biggest things I miss is the ongoing adventure of RV travel. Being a nomad for so long, staying put does indeed cause itchy feet. Or, Hitch Itch as they say. And it’s that change of scenery and the uncertainty of what lies ahead down the road that I miss. In addition, now that the trails are disappearing (melting) in these parts running the same route on muddy roads is starting to get old. So I yearn for that sense of adventure the road less traveled brings.

southwest salsa
mexican food

Mmmmm….how I miss the Southwest.

Therefore, variety is one thing I miss the most while living in Alaska. They say it’s the spice of life. And that’s another thing I miss. Living in remote Alaska means stocking up on your shopping trips to the big city. When that involves long trips to Costco, one ends up getting a lot of the same stuff. As a result, speaking of spice, I hope to never get that Costco salsa we’ve been eating for months on end, ever again.

I miss the wide variety of salsas found throughout the southwest. And for that matter, I miss Mexican food. We have yet to find any Mexican food worth trying in the Last Frontier. Except at home. Aside from that salsa we have on hand. However, being 5,000+ miles from the Mexican border presents a challenge when one has a hankering for a chile relleno or tamales.


Avocados: In Alaska, and from the backyard in California.

Speaking of which, I miss avocados. Sure, we can get some decent Haas, if we head back to Costco. And that’s only if we’re willing to pay $2.00 each! Much more at other stores, we’ve seen avocados go for as much as 4+ dollars a piece. Personally, this is a pet peeve since come fall I’m usually climbing the tree to grab some big ol’ Fuerte gems to make my famous guac.

Speaking of which, I miss the diversity we encounter everywhere else. No offense intended to the wonderful people of Alaska. Everyone we’ve met has been friendly and welcoming. There is an incredible sense of community with beautiful people everywhere. But I could count the number dark skinned people I’ve seen over the past six months on one hand. I can’t remember hearing any Indian accents. And the only Asian people I’ve encountered stepped off a tour bus to snap a photo of Denali which wasn’t even there.

The spice of life, at Borrego Springs farmers market.

I miss the farmers markets. We got to Willow just in time for a couple visits to the local farmers market. And yeah, we got to enjoy some good local produce from here in Alaska’s banana belt. But I’ll never understand how these farmers survive with such a short selling season. Down south, it seemed we could find beautiful bounty at farmers markets year round. Thankfully, Rene discovered Full Circle which made living in Alaska a bit more bearable. At least in the kitchen.

What else do I miss living in Alaska?

Did I mention change of scenery? I remember when the first snow fell back in October. I recalled hearing that the first snow that falls in Alaska does not melt until spring. Well, we’re barely getting down to that first snow now. As Rene puts it, Winter in Alaska is like the bad boyfriend who refuses to believe it’s over.

I also recall trying to soak in that Autumn scene. And, I wondered what it might be like to look out at snow for the next six months. The bare ground is starting to make an appearance. But I’ still stare at the same snow from my office view all day. Back in 2011, my changing office view was one of the items on our list of things RVers are thankful for. And apparently, I’ve mentioned that changing office view a number of times over the years.

trader joe's
The first stop in our new Project M! \m/

Okay, I’ll admit it. I also miss Trader Joe’s. I mentioned the variety and availability of ethnic foods in supermarkets up here. Or rather, the lack thereof. But a trip to Trader Joe’s was always a treat. And the nearest store is apparently 2,174 miles to the south. That’s where we’ll discover the widest variety of comfort foods and most fanciful flavors, all at reasonable prices. Trader Joe’s also has some of the cleanest supermarket restrooms. Something we’ll be looking for more frequently now that the Project M is our home on the road.

I miss the desert. On many a long run along the Coachella Canal I have cursed the rocks and rugged desert terrain. However, having now run for many miles on snow packed trails, for months, I now miss those rocks. Living in Alaska introduces you to a new kind of rugged. But I look forward to some time in the future when I can compare the two. Remind me of this post when I do.

I miss wearing my uniform. That’s what Rene calls it. Or, used to call it rather. I’m a shorts and t-shirt kinda guy. This time of year down south, I might be donning my gym shorts and tank top. Sometimes for days at a time. Yet, living in Alaska up here I’ve been wearing wool socks since September. The other day was the first time I didn’t put on my wool long underwear. Then, I soon realized it was too soon to do that. I hate wearing long johns, and tight fitting first layer. So, I miss not having to wear multiple layers. Period.

hot springs
Riverbend Hot Springs, T or C New Mexico

I miss hot springs! Yeah, we had a quick soak at Liard Hot Springs on the way up to Alaska. But over these winter months, I most miss our daily soaks at the Fountain of Youth. I doubt many folks living in Alaska have hot tubs outside. At least not compared to locations down south that don’t freeze for months at a time. And I really discovering new hot springs wherever we went.

I miss my barbecue. I like to grill, and that’s something we haven’t done while living in Alaska. Sure, we could have purchased a BBQ but that’s not something we’re going to take with us once we downsize again to living in our truck. And then, there is something about standing outside in subzero temps while cooking that never provided enough incentive for grilling. Along those lines, I’m sick of soup.

However, this is starting to sound like a rant. So let me share some of the things I will definitely miss from living in Alaska.

living in alaska
View of Denali from “Downtown” Willow

What I’ll Miss About Alaska

I am certainly going to greatly miss everything we’ve enjoyed while living in Alaska. Believe it or not, I already miss running on snow trails, in the dark, in the cold. I know someday soon I will miss those moonlit morning runs across frozen lakes. And I will most definitely miss the utter beauty of snowy scenery and vast tundra with no sign of another human, anywhere.

Speaking of humans, I will miss the new friends we’ve made. And I already miss those crazy musher friends that lured us up here in the first place. How dare they head south before us. Though I do understand it’s all about the dogs. I will miss all the dogs. Living in Alaska, you’ll find most people you meet have many dogs. At least the folks we’ve met. And I’ll especially miss those sled dogs who showed my what mushing is really all about.

living in alaska
Mushing with the Odorolac Sled Dogs

Most of all, I will miss the sense of achievement and accomplishment that living in Alaska brings. No, we never had to survive on our own out in the frozen back country overnight, for weeks on end, like some people we’ve met. But when compared to the default life, surviving Alaska has significant meaning. Even if we did survive it in the comfort of our heated rental with indoor plumbing.

7 thoughts on “Things You Will Miss Living in Alaska”

  1. We will be arriving near the beginning of June I think. Maybe we can meet up on the Alaskan highway and catch up.
    Your adventures are such fun!

  2. Get in the truck and start exploring all the cool trail systems around you! Start down toward Palmer where the snow is less or already gone this time of year. Crevasse Moraine Trails would be a fun run, likely dry, with lots of hills to challenge your flat trail feet. Settlers Bay is also a nice exploration (Nellie may be able to do that one too). Plus there are good interpretive signs to give you a sense of the history (and geology – YAY!!) of the area.


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