Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Lots of people have been to Alaska. They go up there on one of those cool cruises, fly, some even drive. They look at all the beauty and the sense of untamed territory that Alaska has to offer for a week or two, maybe even a month and then, they leave after taking tons of photos, buying moose dropping earrings for souvenirs (I've never actually SEEN ANYONE wearing those things), T-shirts, sweatshirts and who knows what else.

That's your tourist group.

Then, there are those folk that are part of the military and are stationed in Alaska. They bring their families with them, move on the base and live there until they get stationed somewhere else.

That's your military group.

Then there are those folk who choose to have a living adventure for a year or two or four. Maybe long enough to go to college there or they have a temporary job situation, or they just go up there and "live" for a short while until their money runs out. The longtimer Alaskans call these folk "Cheechakos" (newcomers) and they can be spotted from 100 yards off, sometimes further.

That's your Cheechako group. (Most militaries tend to fit into this category as well)

Then there are those people who perhaps moved up to Alaska, maybe with the intention of moving back to the "lower 48" but fell in love or just plain got stuck and have been there for years. They may have started out Cheechako but became Alaskan somewhere along the way.

That's your Alaskan Transplant group.

Then there are those people who actually were born there and lived there all their lives. The majority of these folk are Eskimo or Alaskan Indians but there are a small bunch of other cultural diversities that actually fit into this categories.

That's your native Alaskan group.

Why did I just categorize all these different folk into these little categories? I'm not sure since I hate categorizing, but perhaps it is to explain different people's different perspectives on what Alaska is and what it offers. Alaska is so big, it has so many things to offer and experiences that are hard to find elsewhere in the world.

So...that may bring you the next question... Why am I even WRITING about Alaska? Isn't this blog site about soap?

Well, yes and no. This blog is about someone who makes soap and things related to soap, but not about the soap itself. It is about the person who makes it. To find out who the person is behind my bar of soap, you need to know about Alaska.

I wasn't born there, I never had a desire to go there, or live there. I only knew that Alaska contained snow, cold, igloos, Eskimos, polar bears and a few other weird animals like moose and ptarmigan (took me awhile to spell that one), and those silly little lemmings that commit group suicide once in awhile.

Despite the above paragraph, I did eventually move to Alaska and lived there for several years. So, I suppose that would put me in the category of the Alaskan Transplant, but eventually moved back to the lower 48...ooops, that isn't in the above list. See? I told you I hated categorizing!

Some of my experiences in Alaska are made of a truly unique, "Alaskan" flavor. I would be hard put to find a way to have those similar experiences anywhere else. Those experiences are part of what make me who I am today. I now live in the Northwest, which is nothing like Alaska. I've had wonderful and very tragic experiences there. I choose to talk about the uniquely Alaskan experiences however and will have a series of "Alaskan Experiences" coming up. So, stay tuned for Alaskan Experiences and feel free to talk about your own experiences if you've been there an done that too...or just say that is weird, strange, crazy, a lie...whatever.