Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Alaska Experiment

Two people from my firm just participated in the Alaska Experiment on the Discovery Channel. For several months they lived in a tent, on Icy Bay, and with only a few staples provided, braved the wilds and wildlife of the Alaska frontier.

While watching the series I kept asking myself, "What the Hell were these people thinking?" and "What would make a person want to do this?". These are not your typical reality-tv glory hounds; and there damn sure wasn't any million dollar prize money for the survivors. So what was the motivation?


Pure and simple. These people were actually in it for the experience. Now, like any documentary or reality tv event, the minute you add a camera you change the circumstances...and the minute you edit that footage, you can throw truth out the window - instead it becomes a point of view. But still, it was a true experience that they shared to gather food, hunt for protein, survive the extreme weather conditions, and manage to live side by side with wolves, bears, and other dangerous wildlife.

My colleagues were called back from their trip early due to the illness and subsequent death of a parent. Real life intruded on reality tv. And I wondered how they have been adjusting back into our corporate existence in the NY metro area after the expansive wilderness of Alaska.

I got my answer yesterday.

Apparently, they left the company permanently.

They are returning to Alaska and taking up an opportunity to work in a wilderness lodge there doing hiking and kayaking tours.

So, while I huddled under my blanket and watched these episodes thinking what a miserable and crazy circumstance...they were falling in love with Alaska.

So their adventure continues.

I'd say the Alaska Experiment was a success.


Stephanie said...

Sigh. I love Alaska. Adore it. Can't wait to go back.

I'm jealous of them. Heck, I'm jealous that you *know* them. Seriously. I have issues.

But Alaska is awesome! I would take it ANY day over corporate life, except for that darn paycheck and those health benefits...

KiKi said...

I didn't know about the falling in love part. Awesome.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That's a great story. But I still love my comfy bed!

Boogaloo Dude said...

Wow. That's amazing. I spent a summer in a Utah desert once. It was an awesome adventure but I don't think I'd do it full time.

Holly Heyser said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I, too, have been wondering how this experience would change people's lives.

I watched the show with great interest because I'm a new hunter, and I wondered how being forced to hunt to survive would affect these folks. Would they run screaming from that existence, or would they be drawn to it.

XUP said...

That’s really cool. I plan to have some adventures like this once the child is no longer so dependant. But maybe in warmer, sunnier places and in a Hilton or something