The Alaskan bush is unlike anywhere else on earth, and it is an amazing place to live. Life out here is no walk in the park, but there are plenty of reasons why I never want to leave!
1. Fresh air
Anyone who’s traveled to the country from a big city knows all about fresh air. You can just breathe easier without all the dust, dirt, and car exhaust kicked up from city life. This also helps with reason #2 why living in the Alaskan bush is awesome…
2. The smell
There’s nothing quite like the smell of moss and trees and growing things. No smog out here!
3. No noisy neighbors
There worst thing about neighbors living in the city for me was noise. Cars pulling up and leaving all hours of the day and night, couples fighting, people mowing their lawns ridiculously early on a Sunday morning. There’s none of that in the bush. When our closest neighbors are out, we don’t know unless they call us, even when they are running a chainsaw or driving an excavator!
4. No solicitors
There’s no one coming door to door selling magazines or window tints. Knowing there aren’t any strangers that will come knocking makes it much easier to just be. Unfortunately this also means no girl scout cookies without making a trip to town.
5. Clothing is optional
Yup. I said it. Honestly, I hate clothes. Unless I’m leaving home or having visitors I’m pretty much always naked. I might put on clothes if I expect to get scuffed up doing chores, but if I can avoid getting dressed I do!
6. Almost no bills
Once you get set up (which can be expensive) the monthly bills for bush living are almost nil. Insurance and a phone bill are our only monthly expenses. We buy gas for the generator in the winter, fill up our rigs, buy groceries and the occasional incidentals. Living out here is much cheaper than our lives in the city were.
There are no HOA’s or building permits in the bush. I can put a garden in my front yard if I want, or paint my cabin lime green. I can do fun, funky things when building that wouldn’t be acceptable inside city limits (check out this cool Alaskan bush house: Goose Creek Tower). There is a lot more freedom to do what you want with your land when living this far out.
8. No bathroom to clean
No scrubbing the toilet bowl when the bathroom is an outhouse! When the bathroom is ‘messy’ you just dig a new hole and move it.
9. No light pollution
If you really want to see the stars, the Alaskan bush is the place to be. The skies are so clear here it’s even possible to see that the night sky isn’t really all black.
10. Northern Lights viewing
The Alaskan bush is also an amazing place to see the northern lights. Clear, dark skies in the middle of nature just add an extra bit of aw to seeing the Aurora Borealis.
From seeing bears in the driveway, to moose chasing us on 4 wheelers, there is never a dull moment in the bush!
12. Fresh food
Alaskan summers might be short, but the long summer days are good for foraging and gardening. Those long summer days also make for…
13. Giant Vegetables
Having 20 hours (or more) of sunlight a day makes for huge vegetables. Just check out these cabbage at the Alaskan State Fair:
14. Endless summer days
There are lots of places in the bush where the sun doesn’t set at all. There’s a reason why Alaska is called the land of the midnight sun! This leaves lots of time for adventuring and exploring Alaska. This also means lots of daylight to get things done in preparation for winter.
15. Winter sports
Opposite of endless summer days are the short winter days. Luckily these days are filled with snow and snow sports. Snow machining (yes, it’s snow machining here, not snow mobiling) is a huge deal here, both for fun and just to get around. There are lots of places in the Alaskan bush that can only be explored by snow machine in winter due to being marshy bog in summer. There’s also snowkiting (think wind surfing with a snow board), ice climbing, and of course sled dog racing.
At least in our little part of the bush, there are blueberries everywhere. And blueberries just make me happy!
17. Fishing and hunting
There is tons of opportunity for hunting and fishing in the Alaskan bush. Depending on where in the bush you are, there is also subsistence hunting and fishing for those who live so far away from cities and towns. This means the regulations are a little different, from extended hunting seasons to greater bag limits depending on what animals are being harvested.
18. Wildlife viewing
There’s nothing quite like being up close with nature. From watching spawning salmon to flying eagles, living in the bush gives ample opportunity for viewing wildlife.
19. No traffic
I always hated sitting in a grid lock, and I flat refused to drive in some cities when we lived in Washington (Seattle for starters). Living in the bush means no traffic because there are no roads. Not everyone owns a 4 wheeler, snow machine or air plane. It cuts out a lot of looky loo traffic when people don’t have the rigs needed to get out here.
20. Getting paid to live here
Did you know you get paid to live in Alaska? There are a lot of rules around it, like having lived in Alaska an entire year, but if you qualify for the Permanent Fund Dividend you could get anywhere from $300-2,000 depending on the year. Getting paid to live where you love? Count me in!
21. Cool summers
I always refer to myself as a desert baby. I’m used to flat, sandy land and hot, dry summers. Our summer this year has barely had a day over 70°. Considering it’s supposed to reach 109° this week where I grew up, I gotta say I’m very happy to be living in the bush.
22. Affordable Land
Land is pretty cheap when it’s hard to get to. As long as you don’t mind a loooooong ‘driveway’, the Alaskan bush is a great place to live. I often call the beach our driveway, and it takes us an hour to get from our cabin to a road, and that’s if we can get to the road at all!
23. Few bugs
Because of Alaska’s long, cold winters, there aren’t many bugs. We have the occasional wasp nest, and a spider or two but nothing like back in Washington. We used to have vegetable fields just covered in spider webs there! It’s nice to be able to walk through the trees and not get a face full of web.
24. Natural silence
With no neighbors, no traffic, and no solicitors the silence is glorious. We’ve got natural forest sounds from birds and squirrels, and when the tide is high we can hear the ocean from our little bit of forest. It’s a little disconcerting to hear ocean in the woods at first, but now it’s one of my favorite sounds here. Not being surrounded by city sounds is an awesome plus to living in the Alaskan bush.
25. You get to tell people you live in the Alaskan bush
People equate living in the bush with being crazy and lucky and crazy lucky. You have to really want to make things work to live out here. As you can see from this list, all the work is so worth it!
Now obviously living in the Alaskan bush isn’t all fun and games, there are a few downsides as well.
While there aren’t many other bugs out here, mosquitoes are plentiful. And there are a dozen different types as well. Some hurt when they bite, some aren’t noticeable, and some don’t even leave you itching. But they are all in your face, mouth and eyes when you get into certain areas, and Deet is about the only thing that keeps them off you! We also use a SkeeterVac on our homestead, which greatly cuts down on the overall population. Oh, and the mosquitoes can be BIG too!
2. There’s no such thing as a quick trip to the store
If you don’t have everything you need to make pumpkin pie, then you won’t be making it. Living in the bush means living hours from the closest store, and that means no running to grab a gallon of milk. Making a trip to the store takes all day, so it needs to be planned accordingly.
Even though I like not having full time neighbors, it can be a pain when you need help. Sometimes you just end up spending hours doing something by yourself rather than making your closest neighbor drive 45 minutes to be a second set of hands. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is the life I wanted and I have to take the bad with the good!
4. Being stuck
At least in our piece of Alaskan bush heaven, there is a lot of being stuck. Summer means no going anywhere during high tide, during the freeze the beach is covered in ice burgs and the inland trail is still too mushy to drive on. We get snowed in sometimes during winter, and during spring break up we end up with a flooded trail and a beach that’s too icy and soft to drive on (this is why we loose vehicles folks).
5. Adventure and catastrophe happen every single day
If you ever think you might want to take a weekend off and lounge about, then living in the bush is not for you. From broken vehicles (once, or twice, or three times), to coming home and finding bears or moose in the yard, owls in the chicken coop, and sharks in the salmon nets.