Where the experts holiday: Sue Aikens from Life Below Zero

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Sue Aiken – one of the stars of the gritty reality-doc, ‘Life Below Zero’ which follows seven people who live in the wilderness of Alaska, hundreds of miles from civilisation – shares her travel stories and experiences with Just About Travel readers

Whereabouts in Alaska, do you currently live?
I live at Kavik River Camp, near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Arctic Ocean.

How did you come to be there?
I was offered a position by previous owner of Kavik River Camp [a base for hunting groups that Sue calls home] as a manager and purchased the camp.

What is it like living in such tough conditions?
I don’t view my life as tough. There are undoubtedly tough conditions, but I don’t think about it. You do what it takes not only to survive, but thrive. Life here changes and morphs and gives you a unique set of challenges each day, this keeps it interesting and fulfilling to me.

What wisdom can you impart to those wishing to visit your area?
I would say take the time to really discover why you want to visit, what type of experience you are hoping to have and then do your homework to find out what time of year and locale will be your best shot at being able to be successful. For example, seeing the Northern Lights can be amazing, but probably not in May. Do your homework.

Picture Shows: Andy and Kate take their dogs out mushing to train puppy Jack.


Would you recommend such a lifestyle to others?
I would recommend being true to one’s own nature and comfortable with that nature. There are many rules and regulations to do what I do and where I do it. I see these as challenges: others may see them as barriers. Live life to the fullest.

When was the last time you went on holiday?
I’m not too sure. Probably five to seven years ago I think.

Picture Shows: Sue must cut power from the generator to conserve energy.

Where did you travel and why?
Nicaragua and Key West. I worked with a friend on plain air painting and chose unique locations for experiential reasons. 

 Where do you see tourism in your country in 10 years?
I don’t think like that. I work on being the best me I can be today; what I can improve for my personal offerings today. 10 years from now is too far for me to worry about. People in general are curious creatures and you will always have that sector that loves to see do and experience, so tourism will always exist.


In episode one of Life Below Zero, Sue – who was once attached by a  bear and left for dead for 10 days – recounts feeling the bear’s teeth bore into her skull and praying that it wouldn’t crush her skull. She lives alone in the bears’ world and knows there is no-one there to help her. Her motto is “If it hurts, don’t think about it”.

Life Below Zero premieres on Travel Channel  tonight (25 January) at 10pm (Freeview 42, Sky 249, freesat 150, Virgin 292) and will run for 10 weeks


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