Alaska Wilderness Life Road Trip

We are Adam and Samantha from Alaska Wilderness Life. We have lived full time in a remote fly-in location in the mountains of Alaska sine 2011. We purchased a school bus from a family friend several years ago for $1 when she was cleaning out her Dad's property after his death and it has been parked on Adam's Dad's property ever since. The winter of 2016/2017 was very difficult for us in Alaska. We had no snow until mid February which meant our primary means of transport (snowmobile) for hauling firewood and water was unavailable to us. During that time my father moved into an assisted living home that I had put him on a wait list the year before when I was visiting. I was unable to return to my hometown to assist with the move and the emptying of the home I grew up in as Adam was working at the time and someone had to keep the homefires burning. There are so few opportunities for work we jump on them when we can. I had been returning to visit my family in Connecticut at the same time as Adam's family came to visit us in Alaska so he wouldn't be home alone but Adam's father decreasing health has prohibited them from coming out to see us.The last time I left Adam alone in Chisana he broke his arm and didn't go to the doctor as you can't take pets on the medevac chopper and I had the vehicle in Anchorage where I flew out of.

So the seeds of a trip were born last winter as we sat in our little cabin all alone in the woods in the dark and cold. We would leave for 4 months in the winter when the sun doesn't get over the mountains to power our solar panels. We would fix up our $1 bus and drive across the country visiting friends and family along the way. We wouldn't have to run our generator at 40 below every 3 days to power our batteries back up so we would save gas and wear and tear. We wouldn't be alone in the wilderness for the darkest time of the year and over the holidays. We would get to have a long visit with my Dad who is suffering from a type of non hodgkin's Lymphoma, my mother who has Alzheimers, Adam's Dad who broke his neck and back and hasn't fully recovered, Adam's sister and her new husband who I've never met because the wedding was in the summer and I couldn't leave our garden to die as we rely on the food all year, my sister and her family whose kids are now teenagers and not the little tykes Adam remembers when he last saw them in 2010. For these reasons and for our own mental health we decided to leave our home and hit the road.

We have struggled with the idea of asking for money. Several of our followers on Facebook have asked for an address to mail gas cards to help out with our trip. Needless to say our families don't want their address posted on social media in this day and age. When someone suggested a Go Fund Me page we thought long and hard about it. Then I added up our receipts we have accumulated so far and that sealed the deal.

We know we are hard working people.

We know we don't take asking for charity lightly.

We also know that we have gone over budget with all the little details we didn't think about when we planned our trip. Drill bits, screws, plywood and insulation, groceries, everything is more expensive than we anticipated. Not only are we worried about not having enough money for gas, we are also worried about breakdowns.

If you have enjoyed reading about our life on social media we ask you think about donating. It would mean the world to us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
  • Patti Lafond 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
  • Michael Bates 
    • $50 
    • 44 mos
  • Joan Siegwald 
    • $50 
    • 44 mos
  • Diana Martin 
    • $25 
    • 44 mos
  • Libby Johnston  
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
See all


Samantha Smitholum 
Tok, AK
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