Normal life. It’s all a matter of perception. Something I’ve learned in the past few years is that whatever you do becomes your normal. Enjoy a photo essay of my normal.We cook meals, hang out in the lounge room and eat meals together. 

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We enjoy leisurely breakfast hangouts

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Open-plan dining in Denali National Park

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We do our housework and chores. Often that means stacking our gear up – perhaps putting all of our snow shoes together, all of our ice axes in one place, sweeping the tent out, or even just taking an inventory of the food we have left so we can ration properly.

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We do our laundry and we wash our dishes. We swim in the ocean, mountain lakes and streams to stay clean.

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Laundry day!
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Dishes in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Each evening we choose a new place to call home. Instead of unlocking the gate, checking the mail or feeding the dog, we probe out our camp to make sure there are no big crevasses in our new backyard. We build snow walls to protect ourselves from strong winds and gnarly weather systems. We dig a toilet.

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When our supplies get low we have more food delivered by float planes, bush planes, helicopters, 4WD or even delivered by dog sled teams 6 months prior to us going there. And then we turn up at a big boulder and get into the boxes of food. Sometimes we just carry a huge amount of food from the start. We go to the supermarket at the very start of our trip, and 40-something days later we are reflecting on our food choices: “I wish we’d put more cayenne pepper in.”:

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Food resupply near Ant Bivouac in New Zealand
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Breakfast!
Plane re-rations
Dropping food packages off at the hangar, to be delivered by bush plane a few weeks later
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Float plane delivery in the Talkeetnas, Alaska
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It’s like Christmas! Food delivered by dog sled teams a few months prior to us arriving
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Food delivery in the Victoria Forest Park, New Zealand

We make our daily commute, whether it’s on foot or by kayak. Sometimes we finish covered in scratches, with sweat dripping down our faces. Other times we wander on well-kept trails. 

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Scrub-bashing somewhere inbetween Arthur’s Pass and Lewis Pass
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Denali National Park, Alaska

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Instead of stopping for traffic lights we stop at flooded rivers, or by big crevasses or bodies of water that won’t let us pass. Or moose antlers. Or sandflies. Then we try to find a way across, through, over or under. Sometimes we get shut down and just have to retrace our steps and find a different route.

We write to our friends and post letters out via bush plane pilots. We celebrate birthdays and festivals.

We hang out with friends. Without power or any technology, we have real life conversations with other humans. For 70-something consecutive days. Wow! 

Instead of being faced with constant advertising vying for our attention, we deal with sandflies.

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We do some paperwork and administration tasks with pen, paper and satellite phones. We write student reports.

We go to the toilet in groups of four, with bear spray and dig small holes in the ground. Or we poop directly into a crevasse, or sometimes we even just poop on a flat rock and then throw the rock into a crevasse. We pee below the high tide line or into bailers in our sea kayaks.

At the end of the day we go to bed. 

Then: boof! We return to the urban world and everything seems WEIRD!

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