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THE BIGGEST NEWS EVER! I’m Moving To…

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!

sewardSeward is the small group of buildings at the base of the green mountain on the left!  We took this from our cabin on our honeymoon last June.

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!!!!

chugachThis picture was taken only 15 minutes outside of Anchorage and was still in city limits  🙂

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  🙂

anchorageAnchorage from our car last June – you can see how awesome the mountains are!

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?  🙂

48 thoughts on “THE BIGGEST NEWS EVER! I’m Moving To…

  1. That is pretty awesome! I hope you’re able to find permanent jobs pretty quickly so that it’s not a stresser for you. I’m so glad that this is working out for you since you are excited about it!

    My husband went to high school in Birdsboro!

    Wave when you pass Madison after visiting your sister in Milwaukee!

  2. Wow… My fiancée will be SO jealous of you! He’s a total winter kid and I can barely survive Massachusetts winters so Alaska is out of our life plans for SURE! But you’ll have to let me know how those races are 😉

    Congrats, congrats, congrats!

  3. I’ve known about your move for a while now but I’m still over the moon excited (and jealous) of how awesome it is!!! On the flip side, you never did do a NY race with me, you butthead =P Good luck! Sending you lots of JB love and good vibes ❤

  4. That’s quite the move but congratulations!!! I seriously applaud y’alls courage to just pick up and leave like that. I move every few years but Alaska just seems to far. I’m so excited for you!!!

  5. I’m so jealous! I’ve been trying to convenience my Hubby that we need to make a move like this but he’s all, “we have good jobs” & “I need financial security”. What a party pooper. 😉

    Good luck! I can’t wait to read all about the move and new life in Alaska.

    1. Thanks! Yeah well I have a job and a small amount of financial security, but my husband has been going from temp job to temp job all year and we’re definitely ready for a change of scenery and some new places for him to apply to. We figure that this is the best time to do it so we’re going for it!

  6. So exciting! My boyfriend and I are traveling to Alaska in May. Not sure if we’ll hit Seward, but I’ll look you up if we do!

    1. That’s awesome! You absolutely need to go to Seward – it is soooooo pretty and such an awesome place to see glaciers and go kayaking! Where are you going in Alaska?

      1. We’re taking a cruise up from Vancouver, BC, up to Whittier and then flying out of Anchorage. Not sure if we’ll have time for Seward too, but I hope so! So excited for your big move either way, though. Way to make things happen!

  7. Wow- that is a huge move! I’m so happy for you and Andrew! When you first mentioned a move out west, I was guessing Utah or Colorado. But AK looks equally beautiful 🙂
    Good luck (and stay sane) with your move prep. I look forward to following your journey via blog!

  8. Wow! What an exciting new adventure for you! Moving really isn’t as hard as it seems. You’ll be surprised how quickly you meet people and make new friends. You seem to appreciate it more. At least that has been for me since moving to Jersey from Ohio!

    1. Thanks! And yeah I’m hoping I can meet lots of new people through work/running. The tough part is going to be fitting all the stuff I want to bring into that little trailer!

  9. I literally yelled “HOLYCRAP!” when I saw you were going to Alaska!! That is HUGE and so beyond exciting! I know you will, but make sure you take a billion pics as you travel up there. I’m a little sad we didn’t get to run in any of the same races before you are moving but maybe one day if you come back for a visit!

    I moved to California in 2005 and drove across the country to get there. It was an AMAZING experience and something I think everyone should try.

    1. Thanks! I am so excited to blog about our whole trip up there – it’s going to be epic! And I will definitely have to come to Baltimore sometime to run a race!

  10. WOW- this is really awesome! We talk about picking up and moving someplace like this. Any place with less traffic and more mountains. Best wishes to you and your husband! Your pictures are so beautiful.

  11. I’m a bit behind on my blog reading, so I’m just catching up with this but I’m SOOOOO EXCITED FOR YOU GUYS!!!! This is going to be an amazing experience and I totally respect you for your decision to follow your dreams! ❤

      1. I was totally wrong, too!!! I’m seriously so excited for you guys 🙂 I hope your Alaska town is like the one in The Proposal! 😉

  12. Awesome! Are you working for Exit Glacier Guides perchance? Anyway, Seward is super fun to live in year-round, but especially the summer. We should go out for an introductory run when you get settled in town!

    You asked for advice, so here it is:

    Jobs: Jobs aren’t hard to find if you know where to look, especially in Anchorage. Check out the State of Alaska jobsite or the Alexsys job bank (Google both). These cater to Alaska residents or future residents and include a variety of positions.

    Housing: Housing in Anchorage can be a bitch. Not going to lie about that. Avoid Mountain View, Fairview, Muldoon, Midtown, and most of East Anchorage. South Anchorage, Turnagain, Hillside, Westchester, Bootlegger’s Cove, and anything near Kincaid Park are nicer areas and can be pricey. Avoid renting from Wiedner (the largest slum lord in Anchorage) if you can. Craigslist or Alaska’s List are usually your best bet.

    Food: Yep, food will be more expensive, but that’s why you fish, hunt, and buy local. Summertime produces fresh produce from Palmer area and most grocery stores carry Alaskan grown root veggies year-round. Look into getting the Full Circle CSA Box. If you like Trader Joe’s, sorry to report, but there are no TJ’s in Alaska! Anchorage has Natural Pantry and New Sagaya Markets to fill the TJ niche. If you are living in Seward for the summer, invest in a fishing license and a cheap fishing setup from the Fish House (in the harbor) for when the salmon come in.

    Running: We run year-round in Alaska. Check out Skinny Raven sports in Anchorage, the go-to running store in town. Invest in a headlamp for the winter months for unlit trails (it is dark at 3:30 pm in December) and a pair of studded running shoes for icy surfaces. You will be surprised at the number of hard-core year-round runners! And yes, there are numerous running groups and races from the Moose’s Tooth Marathon in June to the Susitna 100, a 100-mile long wilderness run in February.

    Good luck on your adventure!

    1. Thanks so much for reading this! I’m so clueless about moving up there and trying so hard to not buy into any cliches that people in the lower 48 believe about Alaska. I’ve had the polar bear convo a bunch of times. Also, I won’t be living in an igloo! Although I wish since that would probably be cheaper!

      We are working for Kenai Fjords Tours down in Seward. Hopefully they’re a good company to work for! I appreciate the job search and housing advice so much! I’m so glad we’ll have time on our days off to check out neighborhoods and tour places so I don’t get stuck somewhere crappy. The slumlord advice is great!

      As far as fishing/hunting go, I am super inexperienced in both but would love to learn! I found out last year that I’m not too bad with a rifle and I was able to convince my gun-hating husband to try shooting with me and may have changed his mind on guns 🙂 Here in Philly guns are only used for killing people so they’re not really seen in a positive light, but I know it’s different up in Alaska. Now I totally have an excuse to get better at shooting!

      And I am so excited about running in Alaska! I’ve got my YakTrax that I actually had to use this winter in Philly with all our snow and I’ve been stocking up on layers so that I can run year round. I just need a headlamp! Those races sound awesome but unfortunately I’m not at that level of racing yet. I did already see that Skinny Raven is doing the Her Tern Half in July which looks like a pretty low key way to start off my Alaska running career! I’m too klutzy to trail run but I really do want to try that someday!

      I just posted another post about Alaska where I mention how much it sucks to not have a Trader Joe’s up there! It’s the best store ever! One of the other things I wrote about is running without the fear of bears and moose – how do you deal with that? I run alone so that’s a pretty big fear of mine! Thanks so much for reading all this and for giving me advice, you have no idea how much this helps!

      1. Nice! We know a number of people who work for Kenai Fjords Tours (or KFT as we know it)!

        As for the guns, most here are used for hunting and there is a way different mentality regarding firearms here than the Lower 48. Our first year we started out fishing and worked through small game and then big game. Contrary to popular belief, not all Alaskans hunt and most people are willing to share fish and game with newbies in town. You will find that life without Trader Joe’s is possible, especially since Natural Pantry in Anchorage is opening a megastore!

        As for running, I (Krystin) am a klutz on trails, but I love to do it (slowly) anyway. The races in AK are all very low key and I do the half in Cordova (off the road system) every summer. As for wild animal encounters, if see moose, give them space. If you see them during the rut (Octoberish), give them A LOT of space. As for bears, if you encounter one, DON’T RUN, just back away from them. During the height of bear season, it is wise to run with bear spray (high dose of pepper spray) or a hand gun.

        Seward has some great low-key trails and running routes. Let us know when you get settled and we can point you in the right running direction!

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