Alaska is full of the unexpected, and who’s better than the locals for sharing it with you? Every so often, we ask the “Dear North Six Questions” to get the insights and experiences of true Alaskans – giving you a sense of their land, their lives and their spirit. Our inaugural post features Anne French. Stay tuned for more in this series to meet the people behind Dear North, our tribe and those who call Alaska home.
What first got you interested in Alaska?
Anne: I took a trip to Southeast Alaska with my family about 10 years ago. The kids were little then, eight, ten and eleven, and they just lapped it up. Alaska is rugged and gorgeous, as we all know. But there’s this exquisite side, too. This mist through the southeast is majestic, creating a sense of adventure waiting to unfold. You can hike into a luscious green rain forest right out of Juneau. It’s pure magic. Who knew Alaska even had a rainforest? If you look closely, you’ll see something so sweet and lovely it’s beyond imagining. There are so many things the rest of the world doesn’t know about Alaska. The surprises here.
Alaska is always ready for a closeup.
What do you love most?
Anne: The people, without a doubt. Of course it is indescribably beautiful up here. Of course the fish are wild, clean, abundant, and all that good stuff. Of course, the glaciers take your breath away. But the people are to die for. They’re warm, hospitable, and inclusive. And that’s putting it mildly You feel like family almost immediately. And we laugh and laugh over the perceptions that everyone in Alaska lives in igloos or in the wild or that there are mainly men, with long scruffy beards, living in Alaska.
It is wild. It is extreme, but in unexpectedly captivating ways. You experience extreme kindness. You’ll see everything from exquisitely delicate shapes to extreme vibrant colors. Creativity and ingenuity is a survival technique. This settles you down, and wakes up your senses. It makes you dream about wonderful things and great possibilities.
What is your favorite season in Alaska? AND How does that season influence how you work and play?
Anne: Rain is my favorite season. It keeps the greens green. The grey sky casts this beautiful light on the ground, and in the Winter, you go gently from rain to snow to rain to snow. It’s just what you thought was so magical about the snow, and playing in it, when you were a kid. It’s as if you can feel the earth breathe. Quiet is a sound you grow accustomed to, and your footsteps crunch softly as you turn a corner and see something untouched by anyone else.
Favorite Alaska word or expression?
Anne: “Come on over.” Any time of the day or night. “Come on over.”
Most essential item?
Besides a down coat and Xtratuf boots? Soft cushy slippers and beautiful high heels. The more delicate, minimal, and Japanese, the better. Sure, the weather calls for rain gear and heavy-duty down. But given half a chance, we’re stylish and on-trend.
Favorite Dear North Salmon product?
Anything you want to know from Anne about Alaska or Dear North? Whether it’s about the culture or the packaging, she is happy to share. It’s part of the Alaska in all of us.
Anne French is the business lead for Dear North, a mom, devoted traveler, and lover of Pakistan, France, Alaska, San Francisco, and Sri Lanka where it all started. And that’s a story for another day.
Anne: Salted Raspberry and Rhubarb Salmon Bites. Who on earth dreamed up this combination of tastes? Of course, these ingredients are all over the place here. Sweet, tangy and salty. Love it.