By an overwhelming majority, the question we get from just about everyone is: What's next?
We have no idea.
Nicole and I both really like Sitka, but it is very expensive to live there. We have decided it may be time to think about transferring from the boat to a house, and real estate prices in Sitka are very high. Add to that the fact that groceries and everything else (except seafood) include the added expense of coming to town on the barge, and it's just not a cheap place to live. So while we were on our little road trip we decided we would look at some other options to compare before committing to a life in Alaska. We also have the almost insignificant issue of both being unemployed (and having thrown away our savings on the afore-mentioned road trip), so along with housing options we needed to look into employment possibilities at the various locations as well. We had some ideas for the places we would look, and kept an open mind for other options along the way.
Before I go into our findings, I should explain a bit about our current thinking. With the arrival of Madeline, we both agreed that it would be wonderful to find a way to make a comfortable living working as a family. No being away from each other for eight to ten hours everyday and no stupidly expensive daycare. Obviously this severely limits our options. Fishing and farming come first to mind, although some sort of family business like a store could possibly work as well. Alaska in general and Sitka specifically would be a wonderful option for fishing and dismal for farming due to the terrain. The Yakima area in central Washington would be just the opposite, great for farming, not so much opportunity for fishing. This means our decision on location could limit our options of employment, or our decision of employment would do the same for location options, but either way we are going to have to make a decision about something to start the process. So we talk about commercial fishing, we talk about a goat farm for the dairy products, we talk about raising buffalo for the meat, we talk about harvesting maple sugar for syrup, or grapes for wine, and we apply all these ideas to the places we stop that feel "live-able". That's really our only first-cut criteria for the places we consider is the positive or "live-able" feeling we get spending a short amount of time visiting.
That being said, we came up with our short list of places that made the cut and deserve additional consideration, and would love to hear from anyone reading this if they have additional insight or information that might help our decisions. Information on these areas is appreciated, additional suggestions are welcome, smart-ass comments are expected.
Bar Harbor, Maine