We Moved to Alaska! A beautiful view of mountains and a link for penciltreks.com a travel and homeschool website

So here we are. We did it. We moved to Alaska.

If you have been following our adventure all along you know what a journey it has been. If you haven’t then read my first post— we started this journey back in July with no idea where it would lead. It all happened so randomly. Let me tell you where we are now that we moved to Alaska.

Our new home

Two weeks ago we moved into a little cabin on a mountain overlooking the Anchorage suburb of Eagle River. I’m sitting here warm inside on a cold dark morning waiting for the sun to peak over the mountain behind us feeling that deep contentedness that only comes with a sense of home. It’s a much welcome feeling after the long journey. Even as much as I enjoy a good journey there comes a time when you want to feel home again and I am grateful to be here.

The house is small, but perfect. It’s just what I was looking for as it captures the essence of what you imagine when you think of Alaska. It’s just down the mountain from the Mt. Baldy trailhead which though steep is a great hike offering stunning views. I can’t imagine we live here.

We’ve been enjoying the waning days of autumn, roasting reindeer sausages and marshmallows on the fire pit and enjoying countless beautiful sunsets.

Even the dogs enjoy the view!

I don’t want to overromanticize it though.

In many ways Alaska is somewhat inhospitable to human life– at least by comparison our life in DC. There is a bit of a bear problem. We had one seriously hurling our bear proof trash can against the house repeatedly the other night. And taking the trash to the street is a bit scary in the dark. We’ve seen eyes lit up in the woods watching…..

There are also frequent earthquakes and though minor the idea of the earth shaking seriously freaks me out. I picture the cabin sliding down the mountain rolling on its way. (Which is entirely unlikely, but the imagination has it’s own way of amplifying fear)

The satisfaction of home….

But at the same time we are deeply content to be here. All my apprehensions about leaving my equally loved home in the city have been laid to rest.

Rick, in particular, has found enormous satisfaction in living here. He’s been busy chopping wood. I’ve realized how much he missed having physical labor and yardwork.

The first frost last week was beautiful. (Although we definitely miss having a garage!) When you move to Alaska scraping car windows is just a part of life if you don’t have a garage.

And today we awoke to a winter wonderland! It’s so peaceful and pretty and while I am sure by March we will be bored of it for today it’s very exciting: our first Alaska snow.

The spiritual lessons of Alaska….

While moving to Alaska has come with it’s own spiritual lessons seeing the snow fall and knowing it is just the very beginning I am reminded also of the spiritual element to living here. I have mentioned before that nature is the perfect back drop to grow closer to God and Alaska is no exception. St. John Paul II– a favorite saint of mine– in particular extolled the spiritual benefits of spending time in the wilderness and I can see so clearly what he meant. This place is both the most beautiful and the most inhospitable environment I’ve ever experienced and it leaves you to ponder how the Crucifixtion and the Resurrection are so intimately entwined. The beauty transcends the hardships and fear.

Sunrise over Turnagain Arm along the Seward Scenic Highway

As the days grow shorter and the light more precious we are determined to make the most of our hours of daylight. Heading out this week to get some cross country skis. We also plan on doing a lot of ice skating and winter hiking. For the darker hours of the day I’ve decided to learn to crochet.

Christopher Travel heads north!

On the business front I think people are gradually finding a new normal with the coronavirus. As destinations learn new ways to ensure safe travel the world is opening up and we are booking travel again. For now the beaches of Mexico seem to be calling travelers and for our part we are thinking a vacation there for ourselves in the deep of winter might be a good idea.

Rick and I are also having the best time working with vendors here in Alaska. We have all sorts of fabulous ideas for both cruise/land combos and land only packages. Whether you are an adventure seeker or just looking for quiet and solitude we have partnerships to give you the Alaska vacation you want. Alaska is just stunningly beautiful and we are excited to share it with clients whether by land or sea.

Christopher Travel is up and running in Alaska! The view from my home office.

When I wrote my first post, when we were denied entry to Canada or even when we first arrived and quarantined in Salcha it seemed a distant dream that we would ever be settled. Alas, though, here we are. We moved to Alaska.

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About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website penciltreks.com. Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.


  1. Sarah on October 19, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    Oh my goodness, I love that you guys did it! We have talking about going off the grid, moving to Alaska, and loving off the land for the last decade. A bit of a pipe dream for us, at least until my husband’s retires. But that is so awesome!

  2. Lindsay Stevenson on October 24, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Looks absolutely stunning! Just how an English girl imagines Alaska to be!

  3. Smelly socks and garden peas on October 24, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Wow! Congratulations on living the dream

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