Alone: A Wilderness Wonder

By Lily Bourne

Mankind has many unanswerable questions, and we often try to find the answers through pushing our limits and trying new things. Alone strives to understand something many have wondered: how long can a human survive by themself? 

In this nine season series, ten adventurers attempt to outlast each other in the rugged wilderness with no outside help. They each can bring ten items, as well as camera equipment to “vlog” themselves every hour of the day.  Medical professionals conduct health checks periodically, but other than that the participants have zero contact with the outside world. Contestants can tap out using a satellite phone, and the last one standing wins half a million dollars. Participants struggle with food scarcity, extremely low temperatures, and dangerous predators.

The participants go through many hardships, but the final victor often survives for months alone, thus illustrating the strength of the human spirit. From the three seasons I have watched so far, multiple participants have tapped out while being actively stalked by bears and cougars. One woman tapped out after severing a tendon in her hand with an ax while cutting wood. Most participants get disqualified because they have lost too much weight, since finding food becomes incredibly difficult as one loses energy. 

However, the show also illustrates the internal struggle that people begin to feel the longer they go without human contact. During the introductions of each adventurer, my family often makes bets on who we believe will win the season. The first contestants to tap out are the parents of newborn or soon to be born children. Next are the loving husbands and wives with families. If they start talking about missing home on the first night, they are usually gone soon too. Certainly, exceptions arise, and one of the most recent winners’ wives came to congratulate him right after he won. Personally, I would not want to be hugging someone that has not had a shower in over a month, but that is just me. 

Not only does this show illustrate incredible mental and physical human strength, but it also allows innovation to occur. With almost unlimited free time, the participants turn to crafting in order to keep from going insane. One participant built a boat out of a plastic box, a sink, a makeshift football game, and many other objects to pass the time. Others created musical instruments, games, cabins, chairs, and more. 

Overall, I highly recommend this show to those who enjoy judging participants going through much harder challenges than most people will ever encounter, and to anyone who wants to root for an adventurer as they go through intense hardships!