The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a travel advisory for the state of Alaska warning that the state of Alaska has been known to cause mental illness, short term memory loss, and even a loss of a personal sense of hygiene. Officials have cited numerous incidents of travelers never returning from the far north state in the same state of mind, or in some cases, never returning at all, as a basis for the advisory.
The advisory stems from the dozens of documented reports of returning Alaskan tourists being taken to doctors by their families because of their family’s suspicion that they have developed mental health issues. Clarence Williams was affected by ‘Post-Alaska Depression'(or PAD) when her brother returned from Alaska and started exhibiting signs of mental distress. “It was unnerving,” she says, “when we met him at the airport to pick him up he looked like a wild man since he hadn’t shaved since he left.” She says he’s also looking for real estate in Alaska despite the family’s pleas to get back into the routine of his former mundane, everyday life. “He used to be so predictable. Something snapped. Something’s changed. I don’t like it. What would possess someone to grow a beard and buy land 4,500 miles away in the middle of nowhere? It’s just not natural.”
Officials warn that traveling to Alaska can also incite altercations with the tourist’s home towns and communities. Several municipalities in Pennsylvania reported a significant rise in the amount of neighborhood disturbances instigated by people who recently returned from Alaska. Richard Martin is on the Lancaster County zoning board. He says people struggling from Post Alaska Depression cause a number of problems. “We’ve had people come back [from Alaska] and set up gun ranges in their backyards which disturbs and offends sensible folks. We had a guy try to start raising moose in his 2 acre suburban plot because he thought the neighborhood was too ‘boring.’ Another guy started raising a 16 dog sled team in the middle of a development which, as you can imagine, caused a little bit of anger among the neighbors. This other guy actually bought a float plane, put it in his tiny backyard pond, and insisted on living in it. It didn’t meet our building codes so we made the dumb guy get rid of it.” Martin shook his head. “The wanna be Alaskans are troublesome and they refuse to assimilate into civilized culture.” Martin said a common way to spot someone who has PAD, or is likely to travel to Alaska, is a strong and vocal dislike of overreaching government regulations. “It’s important to keep people who are already troublesome and pushing against local regulations away from Alaska because once they get that taste of unbridled freedom they are always resistant to the zoning board and our expansive collection of laws. We’re just trying to make their lives easier by telling them exactly what to do with their lives and money.”
The Bureau of Consular Affairs, which is in charge of issuing travel advisories at home and abroad, released an educational pamphlet in conjunction with the advisory which was aimed at raising awareness of Post Alaska Depression and the steps which are to be taken to avoid it:
Symptoms of the condition may include a yearning to visit Alaska again, even immediately after returning. The victim may also display an irrational desire to be in the company of large dangerous game, such as Grizzly bears and moose, that is native to the state of Alaska. Victims have been known to shun razors and refer to themselves as “Alaskan bushmen” which is categorically false because they aren’t living in Alaska and couldn’t survive two days in the type of terrain referred to as “bush.” These delusions are typically from the dementia and/or short term memory loss that comes with Post Alaska Depression (PAD). Other more minor symptoms include a sudden spike in Alaska related activities such as (1) Reading informational articles on Wikipedia about Alaska which no sane person would voluntarily read under any other circumstances, (2) expressing a desire to raise a sled dog team or construct a home made sled for a sled dog team, (3) build a log cabin with only an ax, (4) staring at pictures or screen savers of Alaska – or any mountains, wildlife, or weather found in the state – in a lifeless, listless, catatonic manner with a refusal to be cheered, (5) or tote a large handgun on their person everywhere they go despite local laws specifically prohibiting that behavior.
Tragically, as of the time of publication, there is no known cure for PAD. Once contracted, PAD can make victims suffer for years with the symptoms either fading to tolerable measures with occasional flare ups, or worsening until the victim moves to Alaska and is never heard from again.
The best measure is prevention. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why, as of June 2, 2014, we are issuing a travel advisory against the state of Alaska.