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Alaska is a different country

You haven't experienced true beauty until you experience Alaska.

In January 2019, I went to Alaska on my own (naturally) for my birthday. It's no secret how much I love snow. I got myself a small cabin in the woods (pictured above) north of Anchorage. I spent a week enjoying the Alaskan landscape and it completely changed my perspective on Alaska.

Yes, I went there in the winter. Alaska is beautiful in the summer and that's when most people go, however the snow and the lack of tourists is what appealed more to me. Also, an opportunity to see the Northern lights which has been a lifelong dream of mine.

I went there with the expectation of it being a colder version of the lower 48, I came back convinced they're another country altogether.

My very first morning there, I was greeted by snowfall. Gorgeous, silent, snowfall. It was the morning of my birthday, and the second my eyes opened, I jumped out of bed and ran to the door and threw it open to see the most gorgeous snowfall I'd ever seen. My eyes were still adjusting to the light and I didn't even wear my glasses. This what what I opened the door to:

Needless to say, I was hooked.

Over the next week, I went dog-sledding, broke a car doing donuts on a frozen river, drove through the longest tunnel in America, went snowmobiling on the frozen Susitna River and saw Mt Denali (the tallest mountain in America), I tried Ice skating for the first time, chased a moose, got chased by a moose, chased the northern lights and heard the raw call of Alaskan Wolves.

Pictures of most of those activities can be found HERE under my Alaska album.

Quite a week!

What made me start realizing that Alaska is different was my ice skating debacle.

I borrowed Ice skates from my Airbnb Host and headed to the town of Wasilla where they actually clear the snow from the lake so people can Ice skate.

I'd never done it before but I was excited to learn.

I was there by the lake, putting on my ice skates and getting ready for god knows what. There was no one on the lake except for two little kids playing ice hockey with each other on the far side of the lake.

I secured my skates and stepped off the dock and onto the ice.... and fell flat on my butt. Fun.

I laughed my butt off and got up, ready to figure this out. I took one step at a time and built some momentum and started skating a little- probably 10ft before I fell right back down again.

Have you ever fallen while Ice skating? If not, let me tell you- It's like you fall twice.

When you fall on hard ground, your hands go out and break your fall, reducing the impact. On ice, your hands go out.. and slip. So it's like you fall twice! My brain was rattling around in my skull and I was seeing stars but I wasn't ready to give up. After a few more falls, I lay there on the ice, laughing at myself when I heard a small voice say, "Hey, do you need help?'.

It was the two kids! They'd seen me clearly struggling and they made their way over to offer me a lesson. I looked around for their mother and she was still standing on the other side of the lake, just chilling. I figured she'd sent them to help me so I gladly accepted their help!

I got my first ice skating lesson from two 7 year olds.

I only fell one more time, but I learned the basics of Ice skating!

Soon, I was able to make my way across the lake to their mother who told them it was time to go. I thanked her for sending the kids over to help and she said," Oh, I didn't send them. They asked me if they could go help you because they saw you falling."

I was blown away by such a simple and kind act by two little boys. I thanked the kids and they went on their way. I practiced a little longer then headed to my car when they showed up again! They asked me if I liked burgers so I said yes, and they handed me a bag from McDonalds and asked me to join them on the hood of their car!

Their mum insisted I joined too, saying the boys were pleading her to buy an extra meal so they could come back and share it with 'Their new Floridian friend from India'.

They were the nicest people and I met such people everywhere I went!

Kindness is abundant in Alaska.

Later that day, I broke my car while doing donuts on a the frozen Matanuska river. I know, whoops!

I went to the only restaurant- and I do mean the ONLY one- in a tiny tiny town called Sutton-Alpine.

The locals in there treated me like family. They made me food (that they didn't charge me for), sat down with me and we talked for ages. They told me about their little town and how they lived their lives on a day to day basis, getting drinking water from the local river everyday and hunting for their food most of the time. It was a really refreshing feeling to be amongst such genuine people! It really made me feel like I was home.

The next day, I went snowmobiling with a previous Iditarod champion. I'd never been snowmobiling before and I had no idea how fast those things actually go! 70mph on a frozen river was absolutely thrilling. My glasses kept fogging up and for a solid portion of it, I couldn't even see where I was going. I was just hauling ass, completely blind.

We bumped into people in a mini dozer on the trails, clearing the trails to make sure the snowmobiles and dog-sleds could still travel. We stopped and had a conversation with them, I asked them who paid them to keep the trails clear. Their response made me smile- they said everyone pitched in their part for free however they could and that's why their community thrived.

Meanwhile back in Florida, I couldn't get my neighbor to turn down his music at 3am.

Every time I thought Alaska had shown me everything it had, I was surprised with something new and incredible.

I can go on and on about Alaska for hours, if given the chance. But I'll end this post here for now. I'll have more to say about Alaska in the coming weeks. Moose chase, dog-sledding, haunted houses and more! :)

" Traveling will set free, your mind and your heart. Once you've experienced the thrill of the unknown, you'll never want to return to what you know. "

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