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In Gustavus, Alaska, you will find several canopies like this one. The bikes are there for your personal use, using the honor system. Take a bike, tour around, and then bring it back. You don’t ask permission, you don’t pay a fee, you just enjoy the ride.

The generosity of the people doesn’t stop with the bikes. In Gustavus, everyone waves to everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you know them or not. If you’re in a car, on foot or on a bike, you wave. It might feel out of character at first, but it’s an easy habit to adopt. Your car keys are left in the car. The front door of your house is left unlocked. There is no police station or fire department. The citizens look after each other.

One day, I hitchhiked from the boat launch back to my hotel, accidentally leaving my camera in the car. I didn’t catch the name of the girl who gave me a ride, so I didn’t know if I’d ever see my camera again. In true Gustavus form, my camera was on the breakfast table, waiting for me when I sat down the next morning.

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