Hi everyone! I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment on my recent posts. Each and every comment meant so much to me and appreciate all of your support! I know I’ve been posting less than usual, but it’s because I’ve been so distracted with the fact that I’m planning a huge cross country move right now while dealing with my grandpa’s very sudden death and every free second that I’m not at work needs to be spent either planning, going through my stuff, or running/doing Barre3! The good news is that last Monday night we officially accepted jobs and secured housing, so I’m able to now tell the world what’s going on! Everyone I’ve told so far just has a ton of questions so I’m going to format my blog post in questions to make it more helpful!
Why are you moving?: I’ve lived in the southeastern area of Pennsylvania (first Reading, then various areas in the Philly suburbs) my whole life except when I was in college at the University of Pittsburgh. Once I started dating Andrew we started taking fun vacations to new places such as Bar Harbor, Maine and I realized that there are so many places out there that have less people and traffic than Philly with lots more opportunities to go hiking, camping, and kayaking. I realized that although I love Philly, it’s time for a change. Andrew and I have been researching places and have been struggling to find a place that is populated enough to give us good opportunities for jobs while also allowing us to drive a short distance to great hiking trails. We also hate humidity and decided the west coast would be a great idea, so we started looking into some places out there. That was going well until we went on our honeymoon…and accidentally found the place that we are going to live!
Where are you moving?: We are moving to Anchorage, Alaska!!!!!! The city has about 300,000 people living there, so it’s about the size of Pittsburgh (minus all the suburbs). It’s in south-central Alaska and is located about 4,300 miles away from Philadelphia! During the summer we have accepted summer tourism jobs in Seward, Alaska, which is 2 hours south of Anchorage. This will give us time to save money, interview for permanent jobs, and check out apartments before officially moving to Anchorage in October. We will both be working at a glacier tour company – I will be in charge of group sales and will work primarily in the office with the tour manager, and my husband will be the supervisor of the customer service agents. We have been given cheap employee housing and we are really excited to live in this amazing place while searching for our permanent positions in Anchorage!
Why Alaska?: Alaska has everything we’re looking for and more! Anchorage is a moderately large city with lots of things to do throughout the year. There are running stores and running clubs in the area, really fun sounding races, and gyms and yoga studios for me to check out. They also have some seriously yummy local breweries up there (the Moose’s Tooth was our favorite on our honeymoon – we went there twice!) and we’re excited to explore all that the city has to offer. The best part are the local trails – the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail runs through the city and has gorgeous views and lots of wildlife, and a quick 15 minute drive will get you out of the city and into the Chugach mountain range! We couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to live and we know that the long summer days will be amazing! We know there will be tough winters, but we are prepared for that and honestly, I’m more of a winter fan than a summer fan anyways. The good news is that in Anchorage I can finally be a summer fan too because there’s no humidity!!!!
When are you moving?: We need to be in Seward on April 28, so we are moving on April 19th. It’s so soon and we’ve got so much to do to get ready!
How are you moving there?: We are trading in both of our cars and getting a Jeep that can handle winter weather! We’ll be towing a 6X12 U-Haul trailer behind us with a few select items that we can’t live without (clothes, some books, our TV, bed, our camping equipment, etc.). We think it should take us 5 days but I’m planning a 7 day trip to give us some wiggle room and time to visit my sister in Milwaukee. Once we arrive in Anchorage, we’ll put most of our things in storage and will drive down to Seward with just some clothes, books, and our hiking shoes!
What if you can’t find a permanent job in Anchorage?: While we know that it’s a possibility, we don’t count on that happening. We have all summer to interview for jobs, and since we will technically be pretty local and have all of our stuff up there already we should be taken pretty seriously. Andrew has been applying to jobs in Anchorage for the past year and while he has gotten many calls back, none of them will offer him the job without an in-person interview first. We think that’s because many people say they will move but then change their minds, so the fact that we’re up there should be a big help. I have a Masters degree in education and should be able to easily find a childcare or special education job, and Andrew has supervisory experience and is open to working anywhere. It might be tough at first, but we have been having a tough time financially and job-wise here in Philly for the past year so we are prepared for dealing with that.
What is it going to be like living in Anchorage?: Although I honestly have no idea (I was only there a few weeks last June), I think it’s going to be pretty normal there. It looks like the cost of living is pretty much the same as Philly – 1 bedroom apartments seem to range from $800-1200 per month. Fresh fruits and veggies will be more expensive, and gas will be more expensive too. I think it’s worth it though because I won’t be spending over 2 hours a day commuting to and from work like I do in Philly! There are also many grocery stores, clothing stores (they have not one but TWO Old Navys!), and big box stores like Target and Walmart. In the summer it’s just like any other small city, just prettier! In the winter it’s definitely more snowy than most other cities, but according to locals they do plow the roads and I’ll have studded tires to help with traction. It’s actually not the coldest city in the US – that fun award goes to Minneapolis/St. Paul! And the snowiest city in the US is Syracuse! Anchorage is in the top three for both of those, but it’s good to know it’s neither the snowiest or the coldest 🙂
Are you still going to be able to run up there?: Yes, all the time! Seward is going to be awesome for running this summer and there are tons of places to run in Anchorage (including the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail that I talked about earlier). Like I said before, there are a lot of running stores and running clubs in Anchorage and they host many large races throughout the year. In fact, I just found out about a huge all-girls half marathon in July that gives out bracelets at the finish line instead of medals! It’s pretty cool that they have something like that up there. I’m not signing up for any races until I have a better understanding of what days I can request off this summer, but I’m sure I’ll be doing a few this summer/fall!
I think that’s all the details I have right now! I’m so excited about our new adventure, and can’t wait to get up there! I will keep on blogging even with all the crazy packing I have to do, so stay tuned for more updates and hopefully a really fun travel log during our trip up there! And for those of you who are just here for my running posts, I’m definitely not going to stop writing those! I’ll just be writing about running in deep snow with moose chasing me 🙂 Just kidding (I hope!)
Who has made a cross country move like this before? Any advice? And who wants to come visit me in Alaska? 🙂