So... what is it that I like so much about living in the arctic?
Although it would often be nice to hire other people to fix my furnace, water pump or outboard motor, living in the north forces one to learn these things and many others . Cutting up a caribou, filleting a char, building a shed or a whole house, learning how to dress for the cold, having respect for the power of nature - these are all skills that might not have a lot of value in the south but here in the polar regions they are invaluable talents. It all adds to the challenge and satisfaction of living here.
I enjoy the fact that I can drive my snowmobile or ATV straight out of the garage and onto the land. No permits, no trailering, no club memberships. And when out on the land, there are no fences or posted land and no private property other than a few cabin leases. It’s very easy to imagine the land as a personal playground, especially since we can, in less than an hour, be far enough from town that we’re not likely to see another human being for days or weeks. Ninety-nine percent of the lakes have no human habitations - the lake is "yours" as long as you care to stay. The sense of freedom, coupled with the necessity for self-reliance, is intoxicating.
I love the simplicity of life here. Everything is a known quantity and there are few surprises. Of course, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea - some like a little more excitement in their lives, but I prefer the relaxed pace. No two-hour commutes to work for me - I can walk it in 10-minutes or drive it in three. I enjoy my small circle of close friends and, surprisingly, we never seem to run out of things to complain about!
Most of the things we do in the north - hunting, fishing, riding snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, going boating - these things can all be done in the south. It’s just a lot simpler, and therefore more fun, to do them here in the north.
It’s also great to go on vacation and partake in some of those minor distractions that southerners seem to find so appealing. My waistline advertises my penchant for restaurant food, I won’t pass up a visit to an Imax theatre and I do enjoy driving a car on "real" roads once in a while. There’s no denying the pleasure we get from visiting friends and family in the south. But after a week or two I’ve had my fix and want to come home. The vast majority of northerners, even those who have only been "up here" for a year or two, feel the same way.
My story is very common - I came north looking to spend a couple of years saving every penny and then head south with some money in my jeans. Watching the local people having so much fun with their snowmobiles, boats and ATV’s forced me to pry open my wallet and join in. My savings plan bit the dust in a couple of months and I’m still here.
It’s been said many times that the north has a way of grabbing hold and drawing you back. I’m sure that is true. I know that I would forever regret leaving here - so I won’t.
Photo: Who couldn't love a face like that?