What does it look like to pack up your apartment in LA, move into a 33 foot Airstream, and start traveling with no destination in mind? For us, it’s been a wild ride with intense highs, unexpected lows, and a lot of beautiful moments :)
We’re Kendal and Collin Strachan. We live full time in our 2018 Airstream Classic 33, “Streamy” with our Husky, Bailey. For three years we’ve traveled around the country, not only to to see the sights and seek adventure, but also to narrow in on where we would ultimately call home. We knew when we started that we truly had no idea where we would end, and we’ve always hoped that the end, if there is such a thing, would find us!
In each state that we visited, we’ve intentionally spent time in the communities & towns learning about what is available there and get a sense of what settling down could be like. There are many states that we love but none quite enough to halt us and make us reconsider our travel lifestyle. That is, until we came to Alaska.
After having traveled the entire country North to South and East to West, with a strong emphasis on the Southwest, we got the bug to pack up and take Streamy to Alaska in the summer of 2021. At the time, the Canadian border was closed to everything but commercial travel, so we spent 2 weeks in the blazing heat of Montana drumming up enough business (we’re photographers in the outdoor space) with contracts specifically outlining Alaskan scenery) to justify a crossing, then went for it! We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
As always, we began to move around this HUGE state with a little bit of direction and a whole lot of desire to chase sunshine and big adventures at the forefront of our minds. We transitioned our ice-climbing skills into glacier trekking, paddled iceberg lakes, perused shops in dreamy little towns, fished for salmon along the coast, and spent the entire summer in a honeymoon-like state of bliss. As they say, ignorance is bliss!
In a moment of passion and excitement, as all of our RV-dwelling friends were headed back to the lower 48 at the end of summer, we sat down, looked at the options, and decided to call Alaska home, come hell or high water. For a couple of months, family called us crazy, friends thought we were kidding, and a State Trooper or two suggested that we could still make it down if we left in the next week or so. But we had fallen in love and we were staying for an off-grid Airstream in Alaska winter.
On November 8th, it was 20 degrees and sunny with clear roads and loads of fun to be had. On November 9th, it was 20 below zero (still sunny!), and 3 feet of snow greeted us as we opened (and quickly slammed shut) Streamy’s door to our first morning of true Alaskan winter. For the next couple of months, we took on the challenges of frozen everything, power supply issues, photo-shoots in intensely cold weather, holiday travel, managing the stress of a growing young business, and even the worst flu we’ve ever had on Christmas week. Yet somehow, we found ourselves falling more and more in love with this almost alien landscape. Because of Alaska’s latitude, we received only 4-5 hours of daylight in the area we wintered, which meant 9:30am sunrises and 3pm sunsets. But during those hours of light, the snow covered landscape and towering mountains were covered in incessant pinks, purple, and blues. The trees along the river we camped on were encased in ice. Frozen patches of water radiated vibrant blues. It was like living in a painting.
Even the cold, though it provided its challenges, became a welcome friend. Every day felt like an accomplishment - not just a day gone by. After three years of travel, having seen so much of this country’s beauty, we had been a part of something we could never have imagined. An entire year in Alaska is one of the most diverse experiences that you can have on planet earth. From gorgeous coastlines to the continents tallest mountains, sweeping rivers, breathtaking wildflowers, moose and bears literally just walking around in town, and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, Alaska has it all.
For us, we’ve found a place to call home. But at the same time, we haven’t. Alaska is so large and its land is so intense that we’re not ready to call a single place “home” just yet. Even though we long for a place that’s truly ours, we’ve decided to embrace the native notion that we, in fact, belong to Alaska and this life we live more than it belongs to us.
So for now, we enjoy exploration. Everywhere that we take Streamy, we set up a little home base. Our chairs go by the campfire, Bailey runs around and sniffs out the new site, and we settle in to a routine that is both short-lived and on perpetual repeat. This is the way we choose to do life, and Alaska is where we choose to do it.
Follow @kendal.strachan on Instagram to keep up with our journeys! We have lots of surprises up our sleeves :)