Life Below Zero Challenge #9: Embrace Solitude

For the Arctic residents of Life Below Zero, complacency is not an option. Lack of preparedness means certain death. The stakes are high living on the outskirts of humanity, and for many in the lower 48, life can be pretty sedentary, pretty comfy and cozy… until now! [Cue Life Below Zero Weekly Challenges].

Cody Allen joined Andy and Kate Bassich earlier this winter with a goal of learning a few basic bush survival skills. However, he’s leaving Alaska with far more than that. Cody has discovered a greater sense of self while being pushed to the limits of survival.

Andy Bassich knows how important being comfortable with yourself is when it comes to living in a wilderness environment. “There’s a lot of periods of time when you’re going to be alone. If you can’t be comfortable with yourself out here, you’re probably not gonna stay for too long,” he states.

Tonight on Life Below Zero, Cody is put to just such a test as he heads out to spend a night alone in the Arctic wilderness. However, as Cody embarks on this journey–it’s not without its fears.

“I came out here to live what I consider my dream. But I actually am kind of afraid right now that I’m gonna go out there and go through this whole experience and not be able to make it. I try not to think about stuff that’s gonna scare me. I try not to let fear get ahold of me at all. But there’s this notion in the back of my head that I don’t want to find out that it’s something I don’t want to do.”

But Andy is a wise mentor, and knows the importance of having time alone. “If you don’t spend time alone, you really don’t understand yourself very well, and you really don’t know what your needs are,” Andy says. So he considers this Cody’s opportunity to get out into the woods, spend some time alone, and see if he likes it. “We’re gonna find out real quick how he handles fear of the unknown,” Andy notes.

It’s not easy, and Cody faces some of his most trying moments yet. Being alone begins to wear on him, and he starts to doubt himself and let his fears invade his mind. However, it is often times of desperation that bring out the strength you didn’t think you had. With renewed determination and a little help from his canine companions, Cody is able to rise to the occasion.

“Alaska’s a very, very rough place, but I’ve gained so much respect for myself out here that I didn’t know I had, and gained so much confidence in myself out here. I’ve been touched in many ways by the dogs, the landscape, and the beauty. Having to leave this place is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I do it with the mindset that I’ll be back.”

For this week’s Life Below Zero Challenge, take some time for yourself and embrace solitude. Put down the phone, step away from the TV, and get outside. Like Cody, you just might be surprised what you learn about yourself.

Head over to tonight at 10P immediately following the premiere of Life Below Zero at 9P for a Q&A with Cody and find out how he’s doing today!

Tell us! What inspires you about the way these folks live off-grid and on their own? Think you can try giving up some of life’s little luxuries and live a sliver of the Arctic lifestyle? Let us know if you are going to partake in the weekly challenges, and share your stories and experiences. We’d love to hear from you.

Don’t miss new episodes of Life Below Zero, Thursdays at 9P… and be sure to come back next week for challenge #10!


  1. Bill Kopczak
    Beaverton Oregon
    June 12, 2014, 11:54 pm

    So what did you think of your first night out on your own ?

  2. Karin Benson
    United States
    June 23, 2014, 12:56 pm

    I think these a very well paid actors, that basically do a fair job at best. Grizzly bears are not white, therefore cannot leave white tufts of hair on a door that doesn’t have anything to catch a hair on. These people are to well fed to be living off the land. To work this hard, and not be thinner is a real tip off that this is just a scam. Good though it may be, and very knowledge able, it still is a scam.

  3. Marko
    York, PA
    January 18, 2015, 11:52 pm

    To Karin, I don’t believe for a second that these folks are actors. You can live a subsistence lifestyle and not be thin. And furthermore, grab yourself a dictionary and look up the word “scam”. Is the show entertaining? I say yes. However, a scam it is not.