Alaska: big state, or small?

Alaska is famously large. There are a lot of statistics that emphasize the bigness of the state, the awesome natural features of mountains, glaciers, Arctic tundra, frozen seas. But there is a curious smallness to the state as well, something that isn’t understood until you live here. There are very few people in Alaska. This is the only place I’ve ever lived where I regularly cross paths with people I’ve met in other parts of the state.

When we first moved to Alaska, I was shocked at how often I saw people I knew in the Anchorage airport. You pass through Anchorage to get to Kotzebue, (you have to fly to Kotzebue, there are no roads to take you there) and there was always someone at the airport gate that we knew, either by name or face. We moved to Ketchikan and already knew people in this region that we had known in Kotzebue, who moved here before we did. Now we know people in Sitka, Anchorage, Kodiak, Metlakatla, Craig, and of course, we still have friends in Kotzebue. People move about a lot in this state. Paths cross frequently.

We’re in Craig for two weeks, and just learned that friends moved here two weeks ago, so we’re having dinner with them before we leave. That’s how Alaska is. People you knew in one community pop up somewhere else. And of course, people do leave the state. But it is surprising to me how often there is re-circulation of the population. Any hearty readers out there who want to give it a try? Alaska will give you stories for a lifetime…that’s my personal tag-line for the state. And if you’re interested in rainforest country, I have a house to sell…great view of the water, and in the historic district. Come on up, give it a try. I promise it will change you forever! But it will be good, and eye-opening, and for anyone interested in living in a foreign country where English is spoken and the dollar is the currency, Alaska is your opportunity. It is often called the last frontier. But don’t let the size fool you. It’s a small town place at heart.

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