Life Below Zero Challenge #4: Be Your Own Boss

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].

There are people that are born with a certain drive in them. You either have it, or you don’t. And for Erik Salitan, it’s strong.

“Living way out in the arctic here in rural Alaska, you need to be self-motivated. The only person to kick my butt out of bed in the morning is myself, so I need to get up and do what I need to do, and there’s nobody there to tell me to do it,” Erik says.

So for this week’s Life Below Zero Challenge, we’re asking you to be your own boss. Pick something you need to overcome, and motivate yourself to do it without the help or pressure from anyone but yourself. Or as Erik says, kick your own butt out of bed in the morning and do what you need to do!

Tonight on Life Below Zero, Erik must overcome a missed opportunity when he loses a chance at a 1500 dollar wolf pelt. He’s hoping to make up for the loss using the call of a rabbit in distress to lure in predators.

“A lot of people misconstrue people’s desires to hunt as a blood lust or something like that, that’s not what it is at all. I love animals more than anything. I came here just because I really have an appreciation for wilderness and I was willing to sacrifice some of the social interactions associated with living in a town to have all these great opportunities that I do,” Erik states.

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 #5! 


  1. KG
    May 8, 2014, 9:45 pm

    Maybe the Producers of the show need to motivate themselves not to keep changing the gun Erik uses to shoot the foxes. Erik has trouble with his AR15 magazine…no wait he’s carrying a Ruger 10/22….no he shoots the fox with an AR15 but quickly takes out the magazine as he stands up just he’s lightning fast and you don’t see that…no he pokes the fox with a Ruger 10/22! Really!!! Come on guys…people notice this stuff!

  2. Marlene
    May 8, 2014, 11:43 pm

    I kind of live like Sue. I prefer to be alone although I do love spending as much time with my grandkids as possible because they give me so much joy. I am self sufficient. I do buy my meat at the store, but I freeze my own vegetables. I cook everything from scratch and I do not buy prepared meals ( ie tv dinners, frozen meals). They don’t taste the same as homemade and are filled with all kinds of additives. I don’t own a washer n dryer so I do laundry by hand. That helps keep hands from getting stiff from arthritis. It’s hard at time, but it needs to get done. I don’t like to rely on others when I’m capable of doing for myself. I have a drivers license, but don’t own a car right now. If I need something i either walk to get it or I do without. It’s not a big deal to me. I like things simple and easy. I enjoy watching Sue and the others as they struggle day to day. They encourage me. Thanks for delivering such an awesome show.

  3. James Wright
    May 10, 2014, 4:16 am

    Spent 18 years in the Army, cold weather survival, loved the training. Miss the cold weather, use to survive in -70 so fun.

  4. AleDukes
    United States
    May 10, 2014, 2:38 pm

    How can you proclaim to LOVE animals when you kill them for their skin??

  5. Mary Hlavinka
    May 10, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Get rid of Eric. It does not bother me the killing of animals for food but it seems to me he just likes to kill.
    I think the trapping is very cruel. He says he loves animals but I do not believe that. Most people that kill for food actually thank the animal for giving its life so that they may live. Eric is just a killer of animals.

  6. hal
    May 11, 2014, 6:29 pm

    maybe when Erik bought his conibear traps he should have bought the $5.95 safety, too – it would have saved him from almost losing his hand when the trap suddenly closed

  7. Alison
    Athens, GA
    May 12, 2014, 1:21 am

    So impressed that NATGEO chose to present a woman so strong and beautiful as Sue Aikens in their exposé on Artic life – few role models exist on TV today for young women to follow that pose such individualism and spirit. Thank you NATGEO and a special shout out to Tundra Sue!

  8. Paul
    May 16, 2014, 9:01 am

    Eric is BY FAR my favorite personality on my favorite TV show, Life Below Zero. He represents youth, self reliance, discipline, and hunting/trapping skills. But he is obviously very intelligent and has a fascinating way of articulating his life in Alaska. (Forget Mary’s comments…this show is not for the squeamish or for the PETA crowd.) She can be thankful she was not born in 1750.

  9. Lee Shelton
    May 16, 2014, 9:07 pm

    I don’t know whether to feel sorry for sue or not after all she chose this life…so should I feel bad for her or annoyed that she chose this rough way of. Life but does she. Deserve her own private cameraman after all she’s just not interesting enough! After all nobodies got enough going on daily to fill up enough time to fill up an hours worth of t.v. mostly it angers me to see the car rector’s depriving their children of social skills that they might genuinely need to have to get along with other people!

  10. J Bird
    May 18, 2014, 9:48 am

    Alas, life is hard. I have to decide whether I’m too hot or too cold and adjust my thermostat accordingly. I have to decide what to eat from among the 15,000 plus items from my local grocery or which take-out I want. I have to look for my TV remote, choose my cell phone or land line, and decide on the desktop or laptop. I even have to adjust the temperature for my shower. Oh, and I have to wash my own clothes, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and vacuum with my self-propelled vacuum. I also have to remember to use my remote starter to make sure my car is nice and warm. Damn, it’s too cold for golf today, 65 degrees. Oh well, guess I’ll go to the gym. Yes, life is hard. One would think that after 200,000 years of progress, it would be easier, but it’s just one thing after another. Who has time to fish and hunt?

  11. Char
    May 19, 2014, 1:34 pm

    I enjoy the show. The reality of people living in that kind of climate is awesome. Talk about self starters. We are used to going to the store for everything and don’t realize the amount of work that goes into acquiring your own food.

  12. Jan
    June 5, 2014, 6:47 pm

    I really like this show. Spent quite a bit of time in Anchorage, and then Juneau and outer Islands. Like everyone but the couple in Noovik. It is not necessary to constantly show blood & guts. We get it. I’ve lived it, so perhaps others need to see some of it but a couple of episodes that is all there was when that couple was on. Love Kate & Andy, Eric, & Sue. Sue is very brave to be so far out with no one to help her. Looks like the Polar bears are coming in closer to camp. They are very dangerous, more so than grizzlies. I just hope she has enough ammo to keep them away. They are fearless & will stop at nothing to kill you.

  13. Roberta Aulwes
    Williamsburg VA
    June 9, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Love the show! Blood and guts never bothered me. I should have been a forensic pathologist. This show actually tempts me to go hunting. It never bothered me that Eric didn’t pray over the animals he killed. The pioneers never did either. He seems to handle them with appropriate respect. Chip’s daughter isn’t in any great danger. My fingers got caught in a mouse trap and my daughters’ got caught in the car door. (My fault, I felt really terrible about that) However, we all survived with fingers intact. As for being bored, I’ve passed a few boring days myself. and I live in a pretty interesting little city. What gets me is these guys have something to do every day if they want to survive. I’d like to know some more background on them. Eric is young. Do his parents live somewhere around? Did his dad teach him to hunt? What does Glenn do in town? Does he get a job to buy ammo and supplies for his camp? (other than nat geo paying for the filming} And how did Chip and Agnes, and Kate and Andy meet? In the great expanse of AK, how do you meet your significant other?