The two states I’ve spent the most time in outside of Wisconsin have been Alaska and Hawaii. If you’ve never heard of the term, “the lower 48” here’s a definition:

Lower-48. Proper noun. (US, geography) the contiguous continental states area of the United States of America, comprising 48 states in number, and the District of Columbia, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

The photo below is from September 2013 and it’s from my first trip to Alaska. That champion stair descender is George. He and I ended up visiting Hawaii for the first time in January of 2014 on a bit of a whim. We rented a mini van for dirt cheap and cruised around the island while staying in humble AirBnbs. We fell in love with it and I ended up saying how I wanted to live there for the winter. Two years later, in the winter of 2016 is when we first stayed there for a bit over 3 months.

I’m currently on the Big Island of Hawaii for 6 weeks this go around, and I’ve been back to Alaska 9 times since my first trip in 2013. Being back in Hawaii reminds me why I keep coming back here and Alaska: the people I meet are consistently genuine, a little weird, kind, and deeply connected with the land. I love the non lower 48.

man leaving alaskan shack in Seward alaska