Martin Zajanc and Carolyn Beecher

Recorded June 9, 2020 Archived June 9, 2020 39:50 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019804


Martin Zajanc [no age given] talks with his girlfriend, Carolyn Beecher (65), about his multiple trips to Alaska where he was able to connect with nature and learn more about himself.

Subject Log / Time Code

MZ explains some of his interests in psychology and philosophy and how they have influenced his trek across Alaska.
MZ describes some of the scenery in Alaska.
MZ shares a memory of eating wild blueberries when he felt very connected with the nature around him.
MZ shares a story about the scariest bear encounter he has had.
MZ responds to CB's question on how he has been able to take these trips alone, and shares what he has learned from them.
MZ reflects on how his upbringing influenced his love of wildlife.


  • Martin Zajanc
  • Carolyn Beecher

Recording Location

Virtual Recording




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00:01 It's a Tuesday, June 9th 2020 talking from Polson Montana. I'm here with Carolyn Beecher my girlfriend.

00:14 Yeah, so I'm Carolyn Beecher.

00:17 Age 65 hair with you on Tuesday, June 9th of 2020 in Polson Montana by the Lakeshore of Flathead Lake and I'm speaking with Margie science. Who's my boyfriend?

00:34 Let's go. Give me a call. So Marty you're a survivor of 9 solo Journeys walking across Alaska from the Aleutian Peninsula to the frozen frozen ocean of Barrow, Alaska adventure and do it again year after year.

00:58 A little more whatever they were. No Trails. I never got so extremely challenging. My interests are across have a great love for nature and Alaska philosophy psychology behind the Primitive man and the effects of a simple diet on the body and this territory gave me the ability to pursue those interests and once I got doing it, so I found out I loved Alaska so much and the whole concept and I was learning so much.

01:47 That sir, I can wait to do it again and again and get the benefits from that. I'm always looking for depth and what I do to bring more.

02:01 Is there an about myself and to save her life and give more enthusiasm for life it was going to be other people, so I pursued it with great enthusiasm.

02:22 You must have been severely challenged sometimes and

02:29 Weren't you afraid of dying out there to do so without a touch of everybody and I took the very big mess that I really look down and went wherever I felt like going in my object was to

02:57 Beer like emeralds people and not know what's ahead of me. And so I rarely knew what was going to be like that. So it's all a surprise that people ask why I did it. Well when you don't know what the other near exploring the world and back by the time I didn't take any food and when you're living that way, sometimes you come over him out and then you look out and it's the scariest thing you've ever seen. You don't know it's best that you don't know where water or food and it looks as a good chance of dying other times. So you're my cry just at that because it's so overwhelming and then other times you might come over and it's the most beautiful sights I've ever seen.

03:57 Untouched and you feel like the luckiest person so

04:08 Beautiful views that when you came over and was it mountains wasn't trees or what was the

04:22 Gorgeous gorgeous valleys mountains flowers. Sometimes you a lot as the weather was Jimmy challenge at other times. Just just an absolute honesty. So sometimes volcanoes. It's a very area mountain scenes that are unbelievable like that likes that were

05:02 On liver tree Wildlife salmon

05:11 Where are you? What was the most?

05:20 Amazing experience or memory that you have from being

05:25 On those many Journeys

05:29 Well, I think

05:32 Or control the Hawks to write the point in doing this is too was to

05:41 Try to be as close to Nature as possible to learn and to do that are really need to be in the moment. And so if there's any mental weaknesses, they're going to come up and have to deal with those to be able to be in the present, but it seems like a couple times during each Adventure adventures with last name where from 35 days to 2235.

06:13 And sometimes I would get into such a state that all of a sudden some unusual situation some usual mental state would pop up princess one time. I was in a gorgeous Journey that I took I was about fifteen days into a journey and I hadn't found any food for I think a day and a half Arabian outraged the channels and when I said no Trails, but 5% of the time my feet word incredible storms. It's just challenging people have a tendency to say. Well, what did you think about while you're walking is so challenging the whole terrain is it is a chess match is a it's like being a chestnut you're not so you don't have time to think.

07:12 Dwell on things you're also thinking about how do I get from where I am to Tempe to so much water so much fun. Gina's so much. It is never a straight line. And usually you're walking to walk. Anyway, I've had finally found after starving. I finally found some wild blueberries which some pain relievers which were a great prize in one trip and I get there a live there on a extremely small plant. The berries are often bigger than the plant but I found a really good.

08:00 And I started eating them statically and I was totally lost in The Barrens because I need to know to Tricia and they were delicious. So I've been eating for several minutes and also not her to know it was on my hands and knees eating like I would like a wild animal and I heard and heard a noise and I guess I startled what was that and I realized I was eating so loudly I was eating like a bear.

08:35 And I looked up and hears about 12 Caribou about a quarter mile away off to my right and down a ways farther off to a little left brown bear.

08:50 And I realized that I had achieved what I wanted. I was animal I was being totally one of the land and it was absolutely beautiful moment and not right as I was thinking that a hawk flew over and just hovered 20 feet above me which is really really unusual and I looked up Albert fish fillet and all of a sudden my mind was inside the hawk. I was actually looking down and seeing myself down at under I can see myself and I could feel the wind on my wings on Wednesday the feather and guiding guide in the wind so I can hang their just right above us when you come over.

09:46 I suppose some people thought you were crazy to do what you did was whenever I saw anybody but I've never felt while staying in my life. Look if you were saying and fully in the moment and using all of your abilities and your your physical and mental abilities to their capacity and totally being in touch with life allowed you to survive when so many people have gone out in Wilderness and not made it through with more than what you had.

10:32 Well a little bit of luck a very fast reflexes. My sister tells me I didn't start the journeys across a locked on size 44 years old and which was a really good time and to do it because my ego wasn't a big enough to prove anything or the battle nature. I was doing it to gain something for myself and to feel alive and to appreciate life.

11:09 And so instead of going to come across situations that are extremely dangerous and storms and or whatever you're doing it and water it. But if I shoot storm hits and it's just plan not safe out there. The wise thing is to your not feel you have to get someplace or get certain amount of miles is just

11:32 Make a whole life in the bushes calling your tent stay warm. If you don't have any food start for a couple days, if you have to no big deal to do without food for a couple days and then fix your car later expect to stay alive all the time too slow with nature and she appreciated and storms are beautiful or not to kill yourself. It's just something else to appreciate the Marvel at the strength of Nature and the power just flew around and it all sounds like easier said than done. I mean, where did you get the strength to in about the mental fortitude at and the strength to carry the load you were turning I mean two different questions. Maybe the mental strength is is a lot to keep your

12:28 Your focus

12:30 I got something I love so.

12:37 Extremely exciting and I gave me light energy. Of course. I was our challenge myself. Mentally. I lost over a hundred and some of those some of those Journeys were only without food and it was very very weak and many many times. I thought I had push myself as far as I possibly could always find out that somehow someway, I could go deeper yet and and and find the energy when I really needed to that's interesting when you're doing something like that.

13:17 And I think you mentioned dying before. Yes, you have to before pursuing a trip like this. You have to make peace with your mortality. There is a chance of dying, but then you say isn't worth it is the Chatsworth it is what I might gain worth the worth this Challenge and it always was yes, and so

13:43 If you were so that eliminates a lot of the fear, you know, something happened to do your best and it's amazing how good she was are at adapting and if something goes wrong to figure out what to do humans got all over our planets in a very short amount of time just an ingenious and she has always been extremely smart or just another technology. It's outrageous what we could do a lucky lucky and Brake in a really watch your body so you don't hurt yourself and I'll just undulation lots and

14:38 Just have to be very wise was watching yourself. And I think I was also lucky not to severe severe problems for Bluff charges on Bears a lot of dangerous situations. I've had Bearno's has three feet from me in my tents and basically said I want them to check out my chance as in a lot of brown bird with biggest bear in the world as they ran off and this is soft rain unbelievable. What was right there your best and basically I was a big bear fall asleep again because

15:38 Scariest bear encounter you ever had a day and a half and I was cooking some really really thought so I yelled and he didn't go away. He just kept coming and coming and coming in each other. And I remember I was a rare day when there's a little bit of sunshine in the bugs are killing me. I have my shirt off.

16:38 Not too scared. I'm trying to scare this bear away and I never did shooting a big animals. But anyway popped up on his head and neck and back which is a sure sign those thinking about coming at me and at that point. Yeah, I just decided to act like a total blocks.

17:20 Anyway, either couldn't black Copper Hen with this little creature was doing it slowly but I caught from from Austrian. They're coming back. I'm getting out of here. And I did I did get out here and I did see him come right back in just one of the few things. I saw hundreds and hundreds of beers.

17:50 Well, you have the company of animals moving on the landscape, but didn't you miss people? I mean it had to been a very lonely time sometimes.

18:04 And I see how to prepare myself how fortunate you deal with myself during all that time. But as it has to say if you have weaknesses metal that come up in your have to do with large amounts of time by yourself makes you a natural philosopher. And anyway, so I would say I was prepared to do without people and yes, I'm sure there were times that I miss people and then thought about it, but generally that was just the situation I was involved when I was doing that you're involved with your family and and makes you appreciate that more and someone is selling things to appreciate when you are alone.

19:05 I remember you after you'd been out on a journey or two that you had practiced learning the words of certain songs so that you could

19:18 Go all the way through when you were by yourself. I mean you said you prepared yourself. Sometimes just the sounds of a stream will will sound like some people, you know again for the next three days, you're just saying whatever to that was did not too much problems along those lines.

20:02 So I guess

20:06 Maybe I asked this before but I'm not sure you answered it sufficiently, or maybe I didn't ask it but why why do something like this is mind-boggling to to go take such a risk where you don't have anybody else around you and you're risking your life daily carrying a heavy load and just as far as being during a long is hard to find somebody who can really get along exception about with extreme stuff like that when you do have somebody else

20:52 It changes a journey tremendously about tell a person trying to keep them alive and you mentioned before to that had you afford something like this and actually the trips and seltzer and tell people you really don't need that much and not that much about some serious weather and something warm to slip into but you don't

21:52 Well, not all the time with them. That's what was your question. Why what's the most important? What can I do that's going to give me the most benefit which you mean in life in general psychology. It sounds very selfish. But the better I made myself the more I knew he was going to make me more beneficial to other people more to share and like bring out your vitality.

22:51 Schulman's

22:54 Have some

22:58 Elemental that change their brains so they wouldn't feel would never feel content with whatever their situation now that sounds pretty bad. But if you think about animals a horse in a crowd like that turns men into different reasons.

23:25 There's no field in washing my mind that whatever the situation.

23:32 Eventually, no matter how good you have it your mind is going to start finding flaws with your situation. No matter how much money whatever your relationship is where you live whatever your mind is going to go. I need a little bit more of this.

23:53 And which is good that gets us makes it change. It makes the doubt. It's not sure that's why it made us the number one predator on the planet because of an amazing species and you can say I knew you were going to do that and I don't accept that. I think that I do have an incredible. I think what I have is

24:30 Amazing and you can go from there there for you can have a more consistent for happiness.

24:37 And what else?

24:45 Been looking for what you have to be grateful for.

24:49 Or yeah. Yeah life is the on these trips. I was wondering around amongst millions of other species plants and animals are absolutely phenomenal in Wild regions the desert absolute absolute prices.

25:10 But there was so much to pay attention to so much to appreciate and I learned that if I had a modest amount of food and I must not want I could be happy there were times when I'd sit there eating our grounds for something in the middle of nowhere and some spectacular place with absolutely nothing else. Nobody 450 miles around felt like the wealthiest man on the planet. I didn't want nothing else. It was just I didn't know it was so special. I was so you for it that I couldn't convince even been any happier.

25:49 And when you're done that when will you know that with a small amount of food and warmth that you can reset happiness and then you come back out in society when you come back out as wait a second.

26:02 Everybody's got Evan and I've got a they've got a vehicle that can go 70 miles over flowed over land and Total War on the world in the world and still they're whining about something they have every food on the planet at their disposal in the grocery store. And there's a wait a second try to find anything out there. How many times did you eat anything out there right next your nutrients because lethargy and everything all set in. So anyway, y'all know we're so spoiled. We're so pampered. That's not mine. I want more. I want more. I want more.

27:02 Because I'm appreciating every little peanut butter.

27:15 I got to be more spectacular. So I'm pushing yourself and learning about yourself. And then there's so much appreciate humans aren't Geniuses as well as a group live off what we come up with your walk right out in the middle of nowhere to be grateful for did the world seem different. Did you feel changed when you came off the journey somewhere very very fortunate that I had push myself so much to learn so much and often times I had to recuperate

28:00 From the journeys they were so difficult and complex to Larry that was actually slept. So you're telling me that I can open this door and walk in and there's a

28:22 There's basically there's a Hot Springs right there where I can turn on a faucet and stand or Neath hot water. You got to be kidding. Look at the voice of what I want to eat as much as I want. I got a Bible. Verses of the wild stats. I witnessed by myself dreaming about where I was and some of the things I did Express Beauty and let you know that we don't have out here in the city of everything and that be where I wasn't then it would still needs her haunting me even though I was back home.

29:14 That's a burger for something. I could start applying everything I learned about online.

29:23 Anyway, all beneficial situations.

29:26 So

29:28 Where did the first motivation to do this come from? I mean when you were growing up, did you think you would end up out in Alaska somewhere or was there?

29:43 Some person or some experience that moved you in that direction. I had several people what I was 40 years ago, and he was a severe alcoholic and couldn't do much later my mother and grandfather. I live with them 4-0 took me out and expose me to some gorgeous dreams and picking wild blackberries and things like that, even though they were extremely valuable expenses that I feel song about

30:39 8th grade, I would say I was realizing that I did not want to live a predictable existence. I didn't see the point in it. And so I've always been inspired to go my own way and churches.

31:15 Was there anything that you were that you were moving away from like sometimes you make a choice to move towards something and sometimes you make a choice to?

31:27 To not live a certain way because of influences in your life. I was always moving towards deeper and deeper nature expenses for my learning.

31:44 And as a starter. Journalism has 44 I was so late taking longer and longer no food Journeys and their name and starting to get a feel of what I want to learn and learn a little bit was quite challenging because I did run into 42 low temperatures, but luckily I had done a lot of things not as long or not quite as difficult as still I had a lot of experiences even though it was extremely dangerous. I was able to pull it off when you can. Build a fire and

32:35 Alaska where people did not believe that I did it because how to do that.

32:49 I did it my alarm for 1.

32:54 Inspiration for a lot of

32:59 Creativity and success

33:04 Arctic

33:11 Other lady Village and Native 850 miles across Alaska to Barrow another and are you crazy you're going to die and it was local people who are some of the attention and you are going to eat you on aarklash you seen my death.

34:03 Oh my god, did I believe this should I just not as good at this as well? Did you feel like there was any

34:34 Particular trait that you have that allow you to make this journey that

34:48 Fortunate physically strong, even if you want to have a drink alcohol and drug use I didn't see it making anybody happier. And so I was interested in.

35:36 Will take you beyond any substance if you know how to use them and some of their deaths there's so much depreciates and so much to learn and emotions to understand that I'm just too far and you can cry a little this thing whether it's say I remember being on a glacier for Miles all the sudden there's a little Alaskan Buttercup flooring.

36:12 In a little lotta play some ocean rocks. How does that work? How does this creature this plant grow in this spot? And it was so beautiful. So Flawless that I just dripping renting chairs. Yeah. And where is sometimes you feel like the type of person on the planet and are you happy or as a result of this instead of in the past was just sold I love like right now. I just need to walk outside and since everything. I wish I would have been more impressed with the small things in life.

37:12 Every plant and creature out there if you were if someone else was going to try to

37:29 Take a similar journey. Is there something that you would?

37:33 Tell them I don't think so. I survived what I did but that was supposed to be able to push yourself and get out there an Express life and be in touch with it at 10 and hopefully through all this you'll see how to learn about yourself then that'll make you some more viable for whoever you're around and yes, but yourself.

38:17 And physically and mentally value.

38:24 Copart live, so when your does come time to die.

38:34 It's not so fractal.

38:40 Don't know that you have left.

38:43 Another tears of happiness because you can't feel sorry for yourself all you want but just takes a little and feel grateful for your existence. I brought you and kept you alive go from there and keep it or learn and save her people don't have to love just your table of fear in love for many many people sound.

39:25 In a lot of depth and have any friends and life is beautiful.

39:33 Thank you, Margie for sharing this story with us. You're welcome. Thank you everybody. What a life.