01 December 2017

Full Interview ~ What It Is REALLY Like Living Off The Grid In Alaska

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I don't know where to start man that I'm

four or five or six months pregnant I live in the woods spent a snapshot of myself to my sisters saying barefoot unemployed pregnant living in the woods you just have to say I'm Christie I support this you actually are responsible for all of it the house regulate things I have a job I'm not pregnant I also live in the woods I mean I grew up here I'm busy is this short version yeah I got out of here somehow through the long hike you know the so the longer version is I grew up here um moved away went to school and then came back after my dad died because somebody had to take care of the place so this is this is the house that I grew up in where somebody and we're somebody so we're taking care of the place and we really didn't have any other plan either just you know we had come back from the sailing trip and like we should have some kids and this is where he grew up so we knew it would sort of work so yeah that's getting person there is a better story than that I'm not quite sure how to tell it exactly but how we ended up out here yeah because we don't live in a conventional life and we don't want to that's that's the like we got back from

the sailing trip and I didn't know we couldn't go back to nine-to-five jobs would just kill us it's just crushing to just everybody knows it's just crushing 9:00 to 5:00 with a week's vacation there's not a single job around here yeah unless you want to work 40 hours in guest houses yeah in between ones that's true that is exactly right so we so we came back from the sailing trip I like as I mentioned I decided that as soon as we got back I had to figure out how to do something remotely so I was living in San Diego no we both we're building that place you know what it was it was the little cabin the original place that Rick built what's like melting into the ground is rotting and so we were like well we need to rebuild a little cabin and then because no weld into this thing they're so cute Rick used to come it's Amanda's house because it was supposed to be this full of cabin this little tiny food storage place but now it's grandiose 12 engine we mocked it up and and it just got to be nicer and nicer we got excited you know it's exciting never Protestants you might build that and it was a nice it was a nice bookend a sailing trip to

finish the sailing trip we hadn't gone back to work yet so we came out built that place that was worth learning to be remote yeah well I hadn't started work yet so we had just come back from stealing trip and I hadn't like gotten employed yet so we came out and we built that place with Rick and then I started doing the my training at my job to do remote stuff and then Rick died and that was unexpected yes we didn't planned we had come up in said oh that was so fun that was a great summer that was awesome what are we gonna do you know we actually become more like how are we gonna get back on a boat for them and Rick died it seemed almost it wasn't it really even a question was just we've had we've had a few things in mind we're gonna say we don't even talk about it which is like oh that's so obviously what you're gonna do yeah up here I don't actually remember a time when we sat down we're like I guess we're moving back but yeah I mean somebody's this place really acquires a lot of upkeep so it's not really possible they're just especially as Rick had left it I mean it was there was a lot of rock going on the place is 40 years old and some creosote

pilings wasn't it was it was but by Gunton there's a lot of work to do so we you know we've done the foundation rebuilt thus not maybe you thought the outhouse we've rebuilt the little cabin and built the guest house and I knows the roof is the next thing in our one was two months old the first time we came the first time we came back here like to live permanently it was also freezing so we got we got here from San Diego we left San Diego is 80 degrees we got here is like 15 below it's 20 below and I'm like oh this is a misnomer you wrap up a baby baby baby today without suffocating him yeah two month old yeah that's crazy so it's a winter trail is different than the summer trail so we got here in the very early spring because that's when we do all of our hauling to get everything in we can take the winter trail with the snow machine somewhat we say so much but yeah the guys did I do all the grocery shopping the guys hauling takes about a week to get all the firewood and all the building materials all the groceries I mean time to be totally honest with you like to really be real about the first week it was just bizarre to be here

without my my you know without Rick yeah like it was just the place felt haunted to me and it also felt like there was some weird without the dogs yeah that was to go outside and there not be anybody panting barking howling nobody like getting you're trying to get your attention it's just quiet really quiet and it's dark yeah and we have to my goal yeah so but at the same time super familiar right because it's a place I grew up in yeah I wish I could tell people like the smell you guys didn't get this knocks we've been here but when you first walk in here but when you walk in after the house has been empty for it doesn't take that long for that's not to come back maybe four days it's just a super nostalgic really it's the wood smoke and you can still smell the dogs which is always we have things like it's on the cloth it's on the rug that's everywhere so you walk in and it's just overwhelming and it was really raw I mean I still miss Rick and you know what's funny no when we moved back he'd been dead for a year almost so here's not a long time when your dad dies it's just not and this place was so him I mean this was his life green like

this is like work and you're living in it and every log you can look at the the marks and be like oh yeah you know this is this is where you know we were playing this game when we blocked it or really broke the window or there's so many stories behind every little detail in the house so you can't get away from the memories and stuff it's it's not like I'm you moved into a new apartment then everything's painted white it's like this place has so much so many stories I mean having a kid it's like nobody can really really truly prepare you for it you can hear about it but it's like you think you know and you have the kid and you're like oh that's what they meant it's just great odd can work anything you really are gonna get no sleep that's a real second they're born it's not like you go through 50 hours of labor then you get to nap and then start being a mom you're like you're on it no I think the biggest thing for me it's hard because this is a family place she's always checking in with the brothers like okay we're thinking of doing this what do you guys think about that but one of my I had to have a washing machine I was saying

something I'm gonna be a mom and I need I heard there's a lot of laundry and I I had done laundry by hand for the previous three years on the boat no laundry biking and your hands are just I mean people sometimes you can't wash your delicates but when you're washing this sweatshirt or jeans by hand like multiple times a week no well I think that was the hardest and the weirdest thing and then video it was the stove yeah so the the big it's the combination of it being a family property and having Rick have you know be gone within a year of us coming back is it feels like it's supposed to be in museum and you're not supposed to change anything so every change that we made felt weird and Rick was not particularly proactive so there hadn't been a lot of changes in the last 30 years so we changed a lot everything looks so different I mean we've rearranged a lot like the baby gate right like that really divides up the space in here we actually took down a wall upstairs where Rick's office was we've opened up that space that's you know it's just and we've gotten more solar panel we've made them way more

comfortable the washing machine the snow machine yeah well the so without the dogs in the winter it's modern conveniences creeping in to this you know old-fashioned lifestyle oh you live off the grid you must be subsistence farmers I'm like no go to the grocery stores just rubbish left it's just for the record we do not live off the grid like we do not we are not hooked into the electrical grid and the sewage grid otherwise yeah are completely on the grid right like I I rely on an income from a very on the grid company like we get all our food from the grocery store we almost are from the grocery store like let's be clear about that I'm not over romanticize this off-the-grid stuff and we just have a really can you explain the hike real quick like the process from you drive your car if you get out of the car and you start we parked on the side of the road like literally the side of the road and you get your boots on and maybe it's buggy so you get your head net on and rushes in the pack put your kid in the pack yeah so you've got you know anywhere between a 45 and a 60 pound pack and then you just trudge

through the woods over some sloughs depending on it the Beavers are bad that year or not they're better or worse if it's rained it's better or worse through the tall grasses and I don't know if nobody's if these are people who have not been to Alaska the grass is literally our head high in the summer like this so if it's rained you're just wet but it's not all misery it's beautiful I mean you got the creek and you get the wildflowers and it can be just you know spectacular and magical so you walk good woods making a lot of noise so the Bears don't get you you know see the random porcupine or moose spruce hen and then you get to the tundra and that's like walking on a sponge and should do that that's about halfway and then you know a couple beautiful tundra lakes and then back into the woods again and then just when you think you're about to die you see the house and it's totally worth it I think that's about accurate right only some sums up the summer travel and winter trail is completely different yeah what's your trail yeah snow machine yeah I mean we're cheating now all right the

winter trail used to be dog sled and the snow machine is just never hard right like the snow is three feet and it's still not hard it's hard when it's cold and it doesn't snow like last year such a bummer there's ice on the lake for the Tundra's solid rock but you still have to walk that summer trail until the snow falls so and still has it has to be pretty deep because of the sloughs and so we have the winter trail yeah so so that's just getting on the pushing then driving hooking up the sled takes about 45 it's about 45 minutes in the winter and it's about two hours in the summer yeah boy yeah I'm and then when you get here there's there's nothing here all right there's well I mean there's no neighbors there's no yeah there's no no wait and that's I think about that all the time and that's that's been one of when we after we built that place I think for me it was going on the sailing trip and have that having that be kind of my big adventure in my I think I was 30 when we left so basically in my late 20s Ric moved out here when he was 28 I think so I had I just had that kind of understanding a parallel yeah that parallel and it was the first time that

I really connected with the fact that he got here there was nothing here right it was like he it was just like stopping anywhere else in the woods and being like okay this is it you know and I because to me this feels like a place it's a dusty this home right you get to the end of the trail and there's the cabin there's already built yeah already wired up solar panels already here yeah so after going through that experience I still it's it is almost every time now I get here and it feels like oh this is this is this isn't any different than 100 yards down the trail the other direction this is just part of the woods where it felt used to feel like an endpoint pay yes which is kind of cool anyway I think you know if you get familiar every through surroundings so quickly you know when you move into a new place and it takes you a couple maybe a month or two but after that you make up at night you don't need to turn the light on tour the bathroom count the state you don't even have to count you feel the steps it's the same thing where you're just in it and you don't think about it for me every once in a while it will hit you

and it's funny it's when other people come out that you see it to other people's eyes you're like oh you're like oh yeah you know I'm doing dishes without water that's that's we have a system and it totally works for us but you have to explain it to people you're like oh yeah there probably are other ways of doing this yeah it's not until that people come out and you see it and actually it's when you see that that's when you see the mass - like oh oh man this place looks kind of trash look when they leave we're gonna clean that up for sure don't I totally disagree with everything ok but ya know I feel it every day like I I remember Rick talking about walking around here after like the chores were done kind of looking for something to do just to be outside and I connect with that every day I feel like I will I'm usually up later that's like my dad time so you know my routine is I do work that I do Kai that I do a building project and then I have you know half an hour before I'm gonna go to bed and I always walk around here I'm just like hate this I'm in the middle and horror this is my bad I'll sit on the bench and watch the

mountain or just stand in the yard and like try to think of something else that needs to get done because I just want to be outside and and I it's constant for me although it's a weird it is like I mentioned you it's a weird dichotomy like the instant that I close my computer is like it it's like the world changes it's bizarre to be in in like high pressure corporate America doing like this standard deal and then close the laptop and be like I'm ative that's probably the difference I'm just in it all the time and I'm busy with Kai the time I waked up till the time I go to bed and it's it I'd do more the daily grind where it's like alright I'm gonna cook I'm gonna clean and it's it would be the same anywhere yeah you know if my life was on the road with tired we were up day care he probably wouldn't he probably wouldn't I mean kids mommy's never ever to you we might have a TV we might have a date night you might be able to see a movie or something good friends again friends that came over are you talking about doesn't happen all the time but I I think it that a lot of moms would relate to that it's like doesn't matter where you are because you're

doing the same thing you know taking care of your kids you're taking care of your family and you're doing it yeah more people that do this the less space there is to do this every once in awhile so so that's kind of selfish reasons like and we can feel we can hear the car closest neighbor every once in a while if he's running his chainsaw you can hear it and it really grates me ah there's somebody else out here it's a really I came and see him right I hear him and in the winter you'll hear snow machines way up off in the mountain especially the wind's blowing right I hate that well it's also very different like it's it's really interesting to me I've given this the speech a lot of times but there's there's like a buffer zone between people and as the lectures are receiving that people are just coming up and you can see right like Wasilla it used to be this little bedroom town that was nothing and now we don't go in Anchorage because what still is sufficient to basically meet all of our needs except for the airport and you can you can feel this influx of human beings and my advice is stay in the city

and don't come it's awful if you can hate it but but if you're really gonna do it anyway be sure you have a supportive partner I think yeah I think that's true yeah don't don't do it by yourself don't come out here alone well and don't and don't do it with somebody who doesn't actually have the same dream cuz you just fight about it if they don't want to be here won't be fun I that's it's but it's a better question that I'm gonna give you an answer to right now so I write to come back to that one because it's a good question that my advice if you're thinking about coming out here be clear about why you're coming out because it's not it's not it's probably not what you think it is and if you think that you're like escaping something you're not probably so just are you trading problems you're trading problems for other problems it's not easy like just my advice okay sorry yeah just that's it be clear about what you're doing while you're doing it because it's it's not what you think it is awesome thank you