Passionate About The Outdoors
My time on Alone
1. Tell us about your experience on Alone.
It is difficult to describe doing Alone. There are a lot of high highs, and low lows. There is nothing quite like depending solely on your skills, and the limited gear you bring. The ecstasy of catching a desperately needed fish, and the utter desperation when you lose one. The hopeful expectation of what might be in your traps, the fulfilling experience of having caught your prey, and the disappointment when they are empty. There is peace in living by yourself in the woods (even though in the show it looked like I was always angry) that cannot be described, only experienced. And of course, there is the boredom. As soon as I launched, I tried to work quickly to obtain a basic shelter, water, set up passive food gathering traps, and selecting a permanent shelter location. After these were complete, I worked on active methods of food procurement. The land reminded me of different parts of the Western US I lived in or traveled to; it is beautiful. I did a lot of reminiscing this season.
2. How are you doing now having settled back into your normal life?
Things are good. I’m taking a lot of vacations, teaching in various places, and further honing my skills. I am lucky to have a wonderful family and a good job that lets me do the things I do.
3. Can you tell us about what decisions led to you tapping out?
I knew I wouldn’t make it to the end on day one. The absolute horror that is hunger came rushing back on launch day. I figured this season would go longer than any other, and I thought I was the only one suffering from the memories of my previous journey. Little did I know that a lot of us were suffering from a type of PTSD. Memories of advice from my wife, Tracy, Callie, and Megan immediately surfaced “make this experience your own, do it for yourself. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself”. I decided on launch day I wouldn’t push myself as hard as I did on Vancouver Island, but I did want to push myself. I wanted to push myself far enough to remember the hunger, and to remember the joys of returning home. So many people focus on the money and believe me, I would have loved to win. However, it’s not the money, it’s the experience. I lived in Mongolia for 41 days in a shelter I made from living birch trees, slept on a wonderful bed of grass, heard wolves all the time, elk bugling, and of course battled my nemesis, the dreaded mouse. At the end I weighed the pros vs cons, and I think Brooke said it pretty good. I was hungry enough and tired enough to go home. I wasn’t quite tired of the cold, but I was tired enough of the other two to call it.
4. What was your best meal in Mongolia?
That first meal of chipmunk was pretty dang tasty. I caught a huge fish that I had been stalking that they didn’t show, they only showed me yelling. That was an amazing meal too. That fish was almost two feet long and lasted me two days. I remember peeling the skin off and eating it and relishing in the fat it provided. After I tapped, I had so many great meals in UB it’s hard to pick just one. That first beer though, oh yea!
5. What advice would you give to people who want to try something like Alone?
Practice, practice and more practice. Before you even apply though, make sure your family is on board with you going. You need a good support network at home to do this. If your significant other or family doesn’t want you to go, it will be tough on you and tougher yet on them. Also, do some filming of yourself. Talking to the camera didn’t come natural to me. I was fortunate enough to have a YouTube channel before season 2 and I think that helped me with my casting tape. Lots of folks have skills but sharing them or relaying them in an understandable or concise way is important.
Believe it or not, I didn’t freak out or cuss on my casting tape. :)
6. How did Mongolia compare to your previous season?
I think the environment itself had more resources in Mongolia. The weather was better as well. My problem is I did Vancouver Island first. Not a bad problem to have in the big scheme of things, but I wish I had gone to Mongolia first. On Vancouver Island, the show said I lost 35 lbs., in Mongolia I lost at most 17 lbs. I didn’t stay as long, but I caught a lot of fish, and I was able to find a fair number of wild edibles. Both seasons I didn’t eat any of my emergency rations until day 30, but I ate them faster after that in Mongolia. Granted, they cut the allowed rations by more than half in Mongolia.
7. What did you learn about yourself going through this experience for a second time?
I re-learned that hunger sucks. I relearned that I have skills, that I have a great family, and a good job. I learned I can adapt to different environments and survive in them. I learned I will never be the same after these experiences. I learned that I really like Mongolia a lot. So much in fact I’m taking my wife there next month. Oh, I also learned that if I am going to be living in the woods for more than a week, I’m bringing mouse traps. I love the Paiute, but I really love modern mouse traps.
8. What experience in the wilderness have you always wanted to tackle?
I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska. I want to hike the Appalachian Trial. I want to go down that dirt road that I pass, all of them, when I’m going other places. I want to explore other countries. I want to tackle a lot of things, with food.
9. Can you describe the feeling of being alone for extended periods of time?
Being alone and surviving alone lets you reflect on yourself. That can be good and bad. It lets you truly depend on yourself and shut out the whirl wind that is today’s society. It lets you realize what and who is important in your life. It makes you feel alive. It makes you realize how important it is to share your life with someone.
10. What do you hope viewers take away from your experience on this season on Alone?
I hope viewers realize I worked hard to gain my skills, and I am able to adapt to my environment and survive. I hope folks realize I’m not just a cussing angry guy. I cuss, I get angry, I cry, and I have wonderful times. I hope folks realize I have physical as well as emotional scars that have made me what I am. I am human...
11. Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you so much to all my supporters and fans of the show. I receive so many messages that tell me how much they enjoyed my experiences that at times it’s overwhelming. I think a lot of folks connect with my openness and transparency, and I appreciate that. I cussed a lot this season, battled mice, and had a lot of meltdowns. I hope folks realize that wasn’t all that happened out there. I cried a lot too. I cried for joy, past pains, and reminisced about my life. I had a good experience.