Making the most out of a new experience

The takeovers are starting with Emily from The Hall's Day to Day in AKEmily and her husband moved up to Alaska right around the time my husband and I were moving back to Canada, so it is only appropriate for her to take over while I'm back visiting the great state. I love following her adventures, and I'll admit, I have been vicariously living through her....


Hey Guys! I'm Emily over at The Hall's Day to Day in AK. I stumbled upon Mar's blog before we made our trek up to Alaska. At that time, Mar was still in Alaska and reading her posts made me even more excited about moving 4,000 miles away from our home state of Illinois to the wonderful state of Alaska. It's crazy that I am now doing a guest post on her blog today!

I am married to an avid outdoorsman and my wonderful husband of one year, Joshua. He is really the reason we moved to Alaska. His goal in life is to be an Alaskan State Trooper, so we figured the first person to get a job in Alaska would be our reason to move and make the Last Frontier our home. Who knew our first Alaskan home would be in an Alaskan village in the bush?!

Mar is always posting about her different trips and offering some of her favorite travel tips on her blog. So what better way to start off her guest posts then by writing a post listing five ways someone can move to a completely new culture, new territory, new everything and get the most out of it!

I guess before I write I should give you some background on our past year. Joshua and I moved to the Alaskan village of Newtok. This is a Yupik Eskimo village, 90 miles from Bethel - 90 miles from the nearest road. Newtok is a town of 320 people - 95% of them being Yupik. There are no roads (like I mentioned before), only boardwalks. The school is the only building in Newtok with running water. Luckily, we could shower and do laundry there, but if we wanted water at our home, we had to haul it ourselves. And to use the restroom, we had an incinolet. If you don't know what that is, and I would be surprised if you do, look it up now!

So knowing we were to move to an Alaskan village in the bush was something definitely out of our comfort zone and something completely different than what we were used to! But here were our five things we kept in mind as we made our journey to Newtok. And it could not have been more blessed!

The first tip is to just be brave enough to consider something totally new. I know this probably sounds silly, but it is so true. Even just the thought of moving away or doing something completely different can be terrifying. Be brave enough to set your own limits, your own dreams, and your own experiences. Joshua and I both felt like we couldn't possibly be ready to experience everything we imagined life was to be like in Newtok. That didn't stop us. We were brave enough to get on that plane and say goodbye to everything we once knew. Best decision of our lives.

The second tip is to be ready and willing. I say be ready because I definitely wouldn't go to some new place where I had no idea what to expect. Granted, we knew it would be different than what we even imagined, but we had some sort of idea. Even after we had prepared and what we thought was ready, we still felt timid about this experience. This is where our willingness came into play. If you are willing to put yourself out there, to experience the most out of any situation, how could it not be a great time?! We didn't know for sure all the experiences we would have during our year in Newtok, but we sure were ready and willing to experience it! Which leads me to my next tip...

My third tip is to have (and keep) an open mind. When it comes to moving somewhere completely different, every culture/town/state is different than where you grew up. Our entire year in Newtok, Joshua and I did our best to keep an open mind. No one is just like you. People like different things and hate different things - such is life, right? Having an open mind can help you realize so much more about yourself. Before you know it, you aren't the same person as you were when you first moved. The Natives in Newtok spoke differently than we did, they ate differently than we did, they lived life differently than we did. Having an open mind allowed us the chance to get to know them and their culture and to understand why people live and act the way they do. This tip alone can be the saving grace to any new experience!

My fourth tip is to embrace everything about your new experience. One definition of embrace means to welcome and take advantage of something eagerly or willingly. Joshua and I knew going in that we had to embrace everything about the Yupik culture. What this meant to us was that we would try everything we could. We tried native foods such as stink fish, walrus, aqutaq (Eskimo ice cream) - foods that we never would have imagined eating in Illinois. We participated in Yupik dancing, as shown above. We did everything we could to embrace this wonderful culture, because we knew that nothing lasts forever. We had to embrace everything we could before time ran out. 

And my last tip is to just be friendly. As the saying goes, "Treat others the way you would like to be treated." And this could not be more true as you move to some place new and become involved in a new culture. People will know if you are an honest person, an open-minded person, a friendly person basically from the moment they meet you. Being friendly to the people in your new community can do nothing but bless you and your time there. Joshua and I made some of our best relationships with the people in Newtok because we were willing to dive in and be friendly to them. I mean, who else invites an outsider/white person out to go moose hunting with them when it is only a family of Yupik Eskimos going? We had some of our best experiences in Newtok by just being friendly.

So guys, thanks for reading our top 5 tips to making the most out of any experience! I would hope these tips helped you, not necessarily wanting to move to an Alaskan village (although you wouldn't regret that decision!) but to at least feel the urge and excitement of trying something new! And thanks to Mar for letting me guest post!

 If you want to read more about our year in Newtok, check out some of our best posts hereBut be sure to check in once in awhile at The Hall's Day to Day in AK to see what's happening in our new home of Seward, Alaska! The adventure continues!

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  1. Wow what a crazy experience! I have never moved to a little village in Alaska, but I moved to a small town in Scotland and the same things kind of applied. Brilliant tips! To me being brave really comes upon taking the decision to go (and going with it of course). And having an open mind and embracing is so important during the entire time away, so important to really fully enjoy the experience! Lovely post!

  2. Exactly Camila! I'm sure you have some of the best stories from your time in Scotland! Thanks for commenting:)


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