Call of the Wild: My Escape to Alaska by Guy Grieve
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
At some point in our lives we all dream of packing it in and having a grand adventure. I often think how I'd enjoy taking time off and traveling the world. Gut Grieve made that dream a reality. As the blurb says he was stuck in a job he hated, in dept and was unhappy with aspects of his life. So rather than suffering it out how most of us do, he quit his job and took to the wilds of Alaska for a year.
I enjoyed reading this, Guy mentions that he wrote for The Scotsman while he was in Alaska and these articles were part of the basis for the book so it makes sense that this is easy to read. I was happy to read a chapter at a time, although there were some points where I had to keep reading. I wouldn't mind doing some digging and finding the original articles.
There were a number of photos of the camp and surrounds included in the book and this helped me picture his daily life, in the book there were also lists of what he took with him, which I found interesting. I suppose you could use this book as a jumping off point if you were looking at doing something similar - but it goes without saying research would be key before attempting something like this. I liked that it acknowledges the realities of living in the wild. Guy had a huge amount of help setting up for his year in Alaska. Both with extensive research before he left Scotland and once he arrived in Alaska. Guy mentions both Christopher McCandless and his death in Alaska (John Krakauer wrote Into the Wild based on McCandless' story) and Guy also mentions another man who was attempting to do the same thing as him but was found starving in his camp because he didn't prepare for the winter properly.
I would loved to have read more about the Native American family that helped him when he reached Alaska. I can imagine they would have some amazing stories to tell and reading about the dog sled team was fascinating. Those dogs are fantastic, that they can withstand the cold, the pressures of sledding and reading how they train them - amazing!
The only thing I didn't love about this was that Guy left his family behind and it's not even that, I guess it's more about how I felt about that. For one, it frustrated me to no end. How do you quit your job, leave your wife and two small children to live alone in Alaska for a year. It's all well and good to have a mid life crisis, but it works a little differently when you have family responsibilities. But each to their own I guess. I know if that was my husband, I would've gone with him! But by the end of the book, I think I had a better understanding of why he did it.
I'm interested in reading his other book, Sea Legs, where he and his family sail from Venezuela to Scotland. I like the 'off-road' sense that you get from Call of the Wild. I like a swanky hotel as much as the next person, but I also love that idea of visiting a place as locals would. I want to see a place as it should be seen, not through the windows of a kontiki bus and that is was this book inspires.
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Until next time, happy reading :)