There are some people who yearn to live life out in the wilderness and never turn back, and I can understand that. For the most part, people are awful. Think about how many times you let yourself down on a daily basis, and now multiply that by the entire human population. It's just one huge disappointment fest day after day. So I get why people like Stan Zuray from Yukon Men would want to go "into the wild."
Stan grew up poor in Dorchester as a child. His family often struggled to make ends meet, which helped turn him into a wonderful money manager. According to this fascinating Dot News exposé on the outdoorsman, Stan's mother said of his saving abilities: "You give Stanley a nickel, he’ll turn it into a quarter.”
But after amassing a ton of quarters, Stanley wouldn't keep them or give them to his family, he'd throw them into the sewer.
Stan Zuray from Yukon Men blamed money for his father's absence.
He grew to hate money, as he viewed it as the reason why he was never able to spend time with his father:
"It took me a while to understand it. My father worked with the fire department as a blacksmith... He would work at the tire shop in the evenings on Friday nights and Saturdays and then he would also work as a cab dispatcher and he’d sleep a lot so he was never [expletive] home... He was gone so much and I think I blamed it on money. On the quest for money."
I have to say, I can relate to Stan on this one. His desire to be financially secure got him to thinking, "Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if you lived on a farm or something and you could raise your kids and work with [them], and when they got old enough they could go get their own farm… But you’re with your kids in your work."
What really spurned his desire to leave for Alaska was seeing the growing levels of violence in his neighborhood.
With friends dying around him, and zero interest in taking a 9-5 job, Stan headed for Alaska and never looked back. He had an interesting journey getting there and even stayed illegally in British Columbia for a while, but ultimately settled on Tanana, where he bought some property and lived out in the wilderness freely.
Stan's not the only focus of Yukon Men however, his children, Kate and Joey also appear on the show.
Stan's kids love growing up in Alaska.
He had his oldest daughter, Monica, with his first wife — the two live together in Boston. While he did remarry, his wife Kathleen is camera shy and doesn't appear on Yukon Men too often. However, his other children, Kate, Ariella, and Joey, are featured on the Discovery show.
In a recent interview, Kate talks about what it's like growing up in Alaska with her father, and some of her earliest memories. It's like something out of a Disney movie:
"One of my first memories was during winter time being bundled in a sleeping bag very early in the morning before daylight. My dad put a long cardboard box in his dog sled, where I would lay there for hours while we drove 40 miles to my dad’s trapping cabin. I would sleep and then wake up and I could hear the dogs mushing while my dad whistled or hummed a song. I feel like I was a good passenger."
The rest of her interview is worth checking out — you can see it here. Joey wishes to follow in his father's footsteps — like Stan and everyone else in the small community, he loves living off the land and adhering to the Athabascan way of subsistence living as a hunter and survivalist. Pretty badass, if you ask me. All I know is it's people like Stan I want to live with and learn from once the poop hits the fan. Here's hoping that never happens.
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