Behind the Glasses: Bryan’s Alaskan Adventure

Each month, we’ll be going beyond the glasses to get a glimpse of the personal experiences of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For October, we get to know about Bryan Sauka, our Business Analyst, outside of the office a little better.

WHO:

What’s your name? Bryan Sauka
Job title: Business Analyst

THE ADVENTURE:

Where did you go?

Gates of the Arctic, Alaska. This 2-week journey started at the top of the Brooks Range, 110 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Without a guide, I explored 145 miles of untouched Alaskan wilderness, hiking and pack-rafting through the most brutal conditions I ever experienced.

What inspired you to go on the journey?

All my travel experiences in life have involved exploring new cities. I have been fortunate to experience new cultures, new cuisines, and new ways of thinking because they helped shape me into who I am today. Unfortunately, all of these experiences came with a whirlwind of congested, anxiety filled travel activities that distracted me from the essence of what I craved most at this stage of my life…to learn about me.

I was at the point where I didn’t need another city. I didn’t need slightly varied versions of bars and cafes. I needed to hit the reset button and break free from all the patterns, routines and dependencies that plagued my life. I wanted to push through whatever limitations I had built up around me. I was ready to venture into the unknown and explore inward, completely free of distractions.

What did you learn from the experience that translates into your everyday life?

Operating under extreme conditions over an extended period of time where the terrain, weather, and predators can kill you is a frightening place to be. I thought I knew my breaking point in life. I thought I knew how to push past fatigue. I was very wrong. Out here, I was forced into an unknown and very uncomfortable situation where fatigue meant horrible injury and the breaking point was death.

This journey showed me what giving my all actually felt like. I experienced great clarity and true freedom. I was functioning on the outer edges of my limitation spectrum. It was unlike anything else I ever felt before. I didn’t know exactly what that feeling meant at the time, but I knew it was special.

I returned home with a greater appreciation for things that I used to take for granted. I clearly saw what needed to change in my life. I touched the core of who I really am. I learned how to tap into my mind. I am grateful for this experience and it has made me a better person.

What was your favorite part of the experience and how has it impacted you?

Encountering bears and falling in the frigid Arctic river would just be scratching the surface of what I experienced on this journey, however the part that stands out the most is what I felt once the bush plane dropped me off. After watching that plane fly away, I looked around and saw nothing but hundreds of miles of the most unforgiving, alien terrain on the planet. It was in this moment that the rawest and most primal version of myself came out.

The emotional baggage and distractions from my everyday life were stripped away. All that was left was the most primitive form of human existence. It was here where I was truly free.