Ben Winston

Not your average travel blog

Being off grid isn’t always pretty

Even though it’s just a bus stop for the cruise ship companies, a train depot for those riding up through the Yukon from a southern port, a commercial coffee stop and a destination of only a couple dozen buildings for tourists to spend a pretty dollar, Carcross seems to be thriving. There is a restaurant and a bakery, but there is nowhere here to get breakfast because no tour buses arrive till after 10.30am. Without the scheduled cruise ship traffic, Carcross would desperately exist as a decrepit, gold rush relic. The discussion between the staff in the visitor centre is of a neighbour not being able to get into her greenhouse because of a curious grizzly and where the best blueberries are for picking at the moment. They should just ask the grizzly. So to avoid gossip, window shopping cruisers and the coach loads of toilet-desperate tourists, we skipped town and began our adventure around the north Klondike loop.


When you’re away from home, things happen in your absence, loved ones feel pain, occurrences can be upsetting, you miss people terribly and all manner of things which are out of your control can frustrate. Not only do negative happenings get you down, but it’s hard missing all he good stuff too. There is literally nothing you can do and trying to communicate through weak wifi often borrowed from behind a kayak shed in the middle of some trees only makes frustrations worse. Problems don’t go away, and when you’re without the ability to make proper contact, anxiety builds. You lose sleep and attempting to deal or help with with anything elsewhere is futile. Every adventure has a section which isn’t for sharing. For whatever reasons or intrinsic needs to escape for solemn reflection, the adventure around the North Klondike loop felt like my reluctant sanctuary. It’s not always the case, but this time my quiet hibernation is full of frustration and I wish I was with the people I care about. 
Maybe they need me.

Oddly, finding the type of break I need on the road can often be difficult. It’s harder than finding a respite from city life, when some fresh air or a day away from electricals can do the trick. Maybe that’s why I enjoy the challenges that come with travel – it’s simply harder and I’m secretly masochistic. Doubtful, as I’ve come to often embrace a little solitude, and I’m definitely not at the masochistic end of the pain spectrum. There’s a lot of time to think and although worthwhile and fulfilling, it takes a huge effort to be without those you care about. Inevitably, unless you’re travelling with me, some emotions never make it home. They stay isolated out in the wild and defiantly deep in my wonderland mind. Being unable to share sometimes is inextricably hard, but it needs to be embraced and enjoyed if you’re often on the move.


Although frustrating, the conflicting emotions on the North Klondike loop will stay there.
While spending this time away from trying to be social, KP and I had numerous days of silent rain, fog-smothered mountains, greyscale views of dramatic scenery, quiet wildlife, and much confusion as to why I haven’t yet stealthily tossed KP’s nostril-melting shoes into the garbage. While melancholic over troubling emotional times, I did manage a decent wash in a secluded stream again, and I also landed the biggest rainbow trout I’ve ever caught in North America. Sporadically, amongst a relatively dark period, I am reminded that there are cracks in everything, it’s how the light gets in.


KP and I meandered for a week or so before heading back towards the U.S. border. I can feel the end of this adventure approaching and although unconcerned, I keep feeling that there is still so much to experience. It’s difficult, wanting and needing to reconnect in person with valuable souls and also wishing time would move a little slower. Like most things that end, they end badly, or they wouldn’t end at all.


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Where am I now?

After extensive work and tours through Southern Africa, most of my time is spent between Malawi and Europe.
Go Untamed Safaris was striding into top gear, but volatile poitics in 2019, Covid in 2020, the impacts of Russia vs the World as well as insesent corruption forced my hand.
The dust is now settling. Everything has changed. New chapters are about to be written.

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