Guilty pleasure: I admit to liking “reality” shows about people who live in the wilderness. It’s so totally NOT something I would ever want to do, I’m fascinated, especially by the women. I am a creature of comfort. I freely admit that if a hurricane approaches this area and the A/C goes out, I would consider that cause to evacuate immediately. Living in -60 temperatures without heat and running water, burning wood for fuel is just not on my radar, and probably never will be.
I excuse my fascination as research. My job requires me to get into the minds, hearts, and skins of people who aren’t me, to understand what makes them tick, and to portray that accurately and with compassion. And so I let myself observe the lives of these people using the only medium available to me–reality TV.
Yes, it would be much more accurate for me to actually go spend time with them in their wilderness camps, but that just isn’t going to happen. I love camping–in the mountains while it’s hot in the valley–for about 3 days. I won’t even consider camping here in Florida where moving a few miles inland isn’t going to make a difference to the temperature.
Even in my ideal conditions, after 3 days, I’m done.
I’m endlessly fascinated by how inaccurately people see themselves. The person who repeatedly describes himself as “calm” is actually a major drama queen. The guy who constantly lectures on camera about how living in the wild requires a person to go with the flow, to not complain, etc., complains constantly, screaming at his wife and dogs like a crazy man.
Right now, I’m completely obsessed with a woman who lives alone for most of the year in a remote camp 500 miles north of Fairbanks. She refers to herself as a “food group” since there are predators circling her camp in the winter, searching for a tasty snack. She was attacked by a grizzly bear that came into her sleeping quarters through the wall while she was asleep, and other than being a bit more cautious overall, her biggest adjustment was to decide not to sleep naked anymore.
She’s a mother and a grandmother, but so completely unlike me, I have to figure out what makes her tick. Why does she choose this lifestyle? Why would she stay there, living alone, after that bear attack? Was she born this way? Did something happen in her life to make her want to get away from people? I have to know!
If you have any insights into this woman’s mind, please feel free to share. If you have any guilty pleasures of your own, I’d love to hear about them.