Last week, Life Below Zero’s Sue Aikens took to Reddit for her very first AMA (Ask Me Anything). Here are some highlights from the Q&A.
How often do you use technology (Internet, TV, etc)? Did you always live like this? Do you generally feel happy and fulfilled?
I use technology everyday. There are no phone services here or cell signals, so having a satellite system enables me to run the Kavik Camp and communicate.
What made you choose the lifestyle? Do you enjoy the outdoors and being isolated or did you simply just choose to live this way?
Even as a child when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was always lighthouse keeper. I have always craved extreme isolation to be happiest.
How can you afford to do what you do?
I am only allowed to live here by having a successful business. I run Kavik as a twisted B&B from June through September the revenue is just enough to sustain the business and supply me with winter heat. It is enough.
What happens with your concept of time when you’re alone? Do you see it as just months or seasons or are you like ‘oh it’s Tuesday, got to go hunting.’
When I have my alone time, I generally don’t give a fig about time or dates. I know when the sun starts to set again in August I am about a month away from being alone… then when it rises again in March I know I only have a few months till I need to pay attention to what day it is. The rest is a clean slate for me to paint.
Where does your family live now (just in general, not wanting to get all in your business!)? You’ve mentioned grandchildren, do you get to see them often? Was there a Mr. Sue? 🙂
My children have chosen to live a more populated life in the lower world. I get to see them every few years. They have been here at Kavik and I try to bring the grandkids up in summer now that they are older. I have had 3 Mr. Sue’s. Two passed away… one left me for an 18-19yr old when I was out with my grandsons cancer issues. I am happy alone now.
Do you have a backup plan in case you are injured/sick and there isn’t any way for a plane to come save you (because of bad weather, etc)?
Captain Bawb checks in with me every few weeks via Skype, and if he cant reach me after a few weeks he checks by plane. My kids and I also have code on FB and other platforms. “10 fingers 10 toes” means I am OK… less than that means trouble.
Despite all the dangers and the near-death experience with a bear, why do you continue to live in almost complete isolation? What compels you?
It is because of the dangers I stay. I am challenge-driven, so this offers me continual challenges.
Why did you choose Alaska to be your isolated home? Why not any other place, where it isn’t so cold?
Well my mom brought me to Alaska when I was very young. Alaska can get into your blood and call to you. It did with me. I have lived many places, but this is home.
There are little foxes (or something similar) in a lot of your shots on the show. Do they live with you?
Foxies!! They live in the wild but a few years ago decided I was not a threat and chose to share themselves with me. They visit, play and follow me, but are wild and hunt for their food etc. I feel so honored by them choosing to share life with me.
Do you have the opportunity to interact with the other folks on the show?
We chat on social platforms or call, yes. I was supposed to meet with Kate in Fairbanks last week, but I had blizzards on the North Slope that prevented my ability to fly down. I learn new things by watching the others, and it is fun to see some, like Agnes, doing things I do as well!
I just wanted to say that I’ve always found your bits of LBZ to be the most interesting. I have a lot of respect for you for really choosing to live your life the way you want to. What has been your favorite memory of living in Kavik? I’d imagine you’d see a lot of beautiful things that most people will never get to experience!
A favorite memory would be last year when a baby caribou that got left behind… decided my grandson was her new “mama” he got to experience a wild animal that he cared for and helped but then let go with the next herd. It touched him in a way that words couldn’t. Myself as well.
Hi Sue, I just want to say you are an absolute inspiration to all people, but especially woman throughout the world. I note your previous comments about having to learn your skills early in life, do you yourself realise quite the inspiration that you are?
I dont see myself as inspiration, but I do try to be the best “me” I can be every day. I have to live with myself for the rest of my life so I better be someone who I can be proud of. Thank you!!