Alaska Magazine: From City Dweller to Woodsman

This is my most recent article for Alaska Magazine, printed in their September 2020 issue.

Here is an excerpt from the essay:

Growing up in suburbanChicagoI had few opportunities for hunting. The metropolitan area is filled with human activity and development. Even though there are small parcels of forest, those are off limits to hunting. Besides, for most of my life, hunting was the farthest thing from my mind. Our food came from a farm or a factory, and often a combination of both.

The source was no different for everyone else I knew. Our family lived at the edge of a small forest. Frequently, we could watch deer feed among shrubs in the yard. There was no thought of these wild animals as food. 

In college, my diet transitioned to whole foods and plant based. There was no consumption of processed foods, meat, or dairy. Outside of a raw food diet, it is considered by some to be the most extreme approach to a vegan diet. The choice was mainly related to health, and the idea of hunting moved even farther off of my radar. Within that period, I went to Alaska for the first time, spending the whole summer exploring Prince William Sound and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Emerging with a new passion for Alaska, I devoured all the written material about the state that I could get my hands on. I read everything from memoirs to historical to anthropological works—all was fair game. These readings broadened, not just tomes about Alaska, but about all cultures. The approach that hunter-gatherers took to life and the skill they possessed fascinated me.

After a brief return to Alaska in the spring of 2014, I permanently moved to the state the next year. I acknowledged that I’d have to be less strict regarding my diet, for the nearest grocery store to my new home was 275 miles away. I also didn’t have access to a kitchen to make my own food. I was forced to do something the human species does best: adapt.”


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