I dreamed of reaching Alaska and discovering if the lore was true, if the land was as magical as I’d heard.
Three weeks after arriving in the state by motorcycle and sidecar, it hasn’t disappointed. Grand in size, rich with inspiring people, brimming with breath-catching scenery, this is a place for true adventure. Don’t wait. Alaska is calling.
1. Epic camp spots all to yourself
Massive in size, and small in relative population, it doesn’t take much to get off the beaten path. Follow a dirt road, walk down a trail and soon you’ll find a camp spot with unrivaled views — all to yourself.
2. Adventure proves the goodness of people
Standing on the side of the road holding back tears, there will be a moment when you wish you’d stayed home, a brief second when the challenges at hand have you ready to throw in the towel. That doubt, though, will soon be replaced by inspiration and awe as people come together to help. Strangers will go above and beyond.
Adventure creates community fast and strong. Challenges bring out the best in people. Don’t be afraid, you got this.
3. Get back to basics
Spending time without modern conveniences like running water or electricity gives you sudden appreciation for the basics. As long as you have water to drink, food to eat and a warm place to sleep, life is good. You adapt quickly and realize it’s not such a big deal to go without. And when you do get a hot shower? You won’t take it for granted, it will be a thing of beauty; savored slowly, enjoyed immensely.
4. The Most Fun Fishing of Your Life
Imagine you’re in a remote cove. The water is glassy and clear. You look to your left, there’s a huge swarm of salmon. Every direction you look the story is the same. The water is alive with fish on a spawn and die mission. Throw the line out any which way, give a few tugs and you’ve got a live one. Again and again. Fast, fun, tasty.
5. Spur of the Moment Adventures
Planning is great. Itineraries can be useful. But the most fun will happen spur of the moment. You’ll meet more amazing Alaskans, hike to a glacier lake, sleep in a converted school bus. The moments you never could’ve imagined or planned will become your favorite memories.
6. Embrace Your Inner Pioneer
When something goes wrong in the middle of nowhere, you learn to fix it — there isn’t any other option. Whether it’s a tent pole breaking or a sidecar coming off the motorcycle, you take care of business.
It can be annoying in the moment, but later when you’re standing over the fire, a cold one in hand, you’ll grin. If Laura Ingalls and MacGyver had a love child it’d be you — problem solver, pioneer, adventure seeker.
7. Go into the wild, come back alive
Sure you want to feel like a pioneer, but you also want to come back alive. Luckily, in this day and age you can do both. Get off the beaten path, find someplace remote, and use a tracking device so your mom doesn’t have to worry if you’ve become bear bait and you have a backup if everything goes wrong.
8. Gain perspective
Surrounded by the rugged wilds of the north you can’t help but feel like a speck of humanity. Concerns about email, Instagram, getting ahead or keeping up dissolve completely. There is nothing but this moment.
9. The views from the air
To fully understand the vast wild that exists in Alaska, hop in a small plane and hit the open skies. Skim over glaciers, dip down for a closer look at bears, greedily take in the endless expanse of land. Photos don’t do it justice, this you have to experience for yourself.
10. Seize the moment
I’ll end with a quote from Michael Landon. “Somebody ought to tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit every minute of every day. Do it, I say, whatever you want to do, do it now.”
–Mallory Paige is a storyteller and adventurer with a simple philosophy: Choose Happy, Seek Adventure, Bring the Stoke. She is currently traveling across North America on a motorcycle-sidecar named Rufio with Baylor the dog. For more stories and adventures visit OperationMotoDog.com.