Alone Together, Season 9

Jacques Turcotte

Age: 23

Hometown: Juneau, Alaska

Profession: Wilderness Expedition Guide

Jacques found the outdoors from a very young age. He started out with hunting and fishing and immersed himself into the world of bushcraft before hitting his teenage years. All throughout school the outdoors always came first; you’d be more likely to find him building primitive shelters behind his family home than studying. He’d take every waking moment during high school to drive up to the north woods of Maine and New Hampshire, where he’d hike, mountaineer, and explore the natural world through the use of bushcraft and primitive skills.

As a young man, fresh out of school, Jacques was disillusioned with the constructs of modern life and had no desire to spend years stuck in a stuffy college classroom. Instead, he headed west for the first time, where he spent 90 days traversing the Rocky Mountains, off trail backpacking, white water canoeing, canyoneering and rock climbing. The west called to him like nothing else ever had before. He realized this is what he wanted, not for the outdoors to be a hobby but to be his entire way of life, his source of income, and his home.

So that’s what he did. Jacques went back east, purchased an old yellow school bus and turned it into his off-grid home. From there he started teaching science and wilderness survival in the mountains of California, wrangling bison in the canyons of Utah, and guiding ice climbing on glaciers, canoe trips on freezing lakes, and bear trips deep in the forests of Southeast Alaska.

Jacques’s dream since he was a little boy was to hunt and fish the forest and coastlines of the last frontier, and truly live off of the land. His last 5 years have been spent chasing his passions across the wild American west, and in that time he has developed an understanding of what matters most in this life. He’s learned what true suffering means, the power of kindness and love, and how to thrive in wild landscapes. Jacques sees his Alone experience as a way to deepen his connection to the land and show young people that beautiful and incredible things can happen if you follow your passions — even if that means going against the grain of society.

Teimojin Tan

Age: 31

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Profession: Physician

Teimojin grew up in Montreal and had a very worldly upbringing. From taking his first steps on a plane as a child to solo traveling through developing countries in his youth, he was never one to feel stuck in one place. As he traveled, he developed a fascination and appreciation for indigenous cultures. As he learned about plant-based medicines, survival, hunting tactics, and local customs, he was also exposed to the health disparities and challenges facing impoverished communities.

Seeing people in need and feeling helpless to render aid inspired him to work for non-profit organizations in South America, Ghana, and East Africa and to pursue higher education. But
coming from a single-parent household, he wanted to be financially independent so at the age of 17, Teimojin joined the Canadian Army Reserve as an Infantry soldier. He took a special interest in Cold Weather Warfare & Survival and would spend weeks to months in the Subarctic learning how to make improvised defenses, conduct patrols, assaults, search and rescue missions, and employ strategies to procure food and shelter that he learned from the native Cree Rangers.

Eventually, Teimojin found his way to medical school and became a doctor. He plans to work in the rural Emergency Departments, Hospitals, and Clinics of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. These seemingly contradictory life experiences in fighting and healing, with a healthy obsession with the outdoors and survival, lead him to further specialize in Wilderness Medicine. He now teaches people how to prepare for and to overcome illness and injury in austere environments. He hopes to share a unique perspective on the medical side of survival so that others can venture out in the wild confidently and safely. His dream would be to teach Survival Medicine internationally while working as a physician in local underserved and indigenous populations and being involved in community development projects. During this season of Alone, Teimojin has an incredible opportunity to live out all of his passions and is thrilled to put his knowledge, skills, and abilities to the test!

Adam Riley

Age: 36

Hometown: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Profession: Alpaca Shearer, Treehouse builder

Adam has always had a thirst for adventure. When he was nine years old he and his family immigrated from England to Florida, and as a rosy-cheeked British kid, he had his first taste of swamps and wildlife. He spent his childhood in the woods catching snakes and building forts, and when he graduated high school he quit his job as a professional alligator wrestler, bought a ticket to Madagascar, and spent four months exploring the island’s jungles and mountains. Upon returning to the US, he moved to the desert southwest and worked as an instructor at a wilderness therapy program where honed his backcountry and survival skills.

Adam spent the next fifteen years exploring remote wilderness on every continent. He returned to the U.K. to complete his Bachelors in African Studies, and while doing so took on an apprenticeship with a professional shearer. The seasonal work of shearing allowed him ample time off for more adventure. In 2008 he set off to travel overland from London to Singapore. He bought a horse in northern Mongolia and spent two months crossing the steppes, learning traditional skills from the people of that region. In 2010 he bought a van in Australia and drove across the interior outback, looking for surf and reptiles. In 2013 he purchased his first sailboat, convinced one of his buddies to join him, and taught himself how to sail across the Caribbean. That first chaotic season encountering storms and running into sandbars opened up a whole new world for him. In 2015 he spent four months in the Peruvian mountains living and working in remote Quechua communities, shearing alpacas and exchanging skills. Family health problems brought him back to his family farm in Arkansas, but after attempting (and failing) to settle down into a normal life, he took off once again for his most daring adventure yet, a single handed crossing of the pacific ocean..

In the summer of 2018, with minimal equipment or technology, he transited the Panama canal and set off for an 8000-mile solo journey. Adam spent over 80 days alone at sea. The longest passage being a grueling 22-day, 3500-mile crossing from the Galapagos to French Polynesia. Passing through the crucible of sleep deprivation, isolation, equipment failures, and storms, he finally dropped his anchor five months later in New Zealand. The plan was to continue around the world after some time spent making repairs and refilling the coffers, but COVID shut down the borders and Adam was forced to sell his sailboat. Adam currently enjoys fishing and hunting in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks, where he works as a carpenter building custom treehouses. In his free time, he is building a new cabin on his six-acre property and enjoys floating the Arkansas rivers and biking its many trails. He applied for Alone with the belief that his diverse skills and background have made him uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of Labrador, and add another chapter to his adventurous life.

Juan Pablo Quiñonez

Age: 30

Hometown: Pinawa, Manitoba, Canada and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Profession: Outdoor Professional

Juan Pablo Quiñonez is a survival specialist, outdoor professional, and wilderness first responder with over 10 years of experience in outdoor recreation and survival. He holds a B.A. in Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership. Juan Pablo grew up in Mexico, where he loved going into the forest to trap rattlesnakes, scorpions and lizards.

His outdoor and survival experiences include backpacking the entire Pacific Crest Trail (2650 miles) in 99 days; paddling over 1500 miles during numerous whitewater and flatwater trips
(including the Hayes River to Hudson Bay); living for six months in the wild with his partner, Jennifer, foraging to compliment their semi-starvation rations; and spending 100 days foraging in solitude during the boreal winter, supported only by small rations.

Juan Pablo loves adventure and is passionate about living off the land. He loves activities that push him to his maximum potential and test his own limits. He believes it’s important to practice and share the skills and wisdom of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, that strengthening a genuine connection to the land is key for resilience in these times of disruption and decline. If he wins Alone, he’ll use the prize money to buy land and begin a homestead community where he can start a family. He’s excited about this opportunity to test the limits of his body and mind.

Igor Limansky

Age: 40

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Profession: Community Leadership

Igor is a first-generation American and son of an Armenian-Egyptian mother and a French-Russian father. His connections to his familial cultures and his American culture has guided his work in community organizing and leadership for the past 13 years. He believes that the way we treat the land is the model for the way we treat each other. He is dedicated to experiencing wilderness living through thanksgiving, reciprocity, and presence.

As a meditation practitioner with 15+ years of experience he sees his time on Alone as an opportunity to deepen his relationship with the land, draw on the wisdom and experience of his ancestors, and engage in an extended wilderness meditation retreat.

Igor is a community organizer and leadership consultant “by day,” and bowhunter, wild game chef, traveler, and writer “by night”.

Jessie Krebs

Age: 49

Hometown: Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Profession: Wilderness Survival Instructor

A latch-key kid, raised by a single mom, Jessie’s childhood environment was a pretty common one for the 80’s. An only child until the age of 10 she spent a lot of time on her own, outdoors whenever she had the chance. Also sadly common, she is a survivor of infant and childhood abuse; quiet and shy she preferred the company of trees and cats to people. Fire forges strong tools however, and like many other abuse survivors she was drawn toward opportunities to test her strength. With a dream of escaping to exotic places, she joined the Air Force. Instead, she found herself in Washington State a few months later, carrying a backpack almost as heavy as herself up and down mountains and learning to teach other people how to survive in hostile situations.

After putting in her four years of enlistment as a SERE Specialist (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape), Jessie finally got to travel and work overseas while getting a B.A in Educational Psychology. She also managed to have some outdoor adventures, usually while guiding others on recreational trips in Europe, sometimes while working as a wilderness therapy field guide in the states, and occasionally in the Colorado mountains that she now calls home. Rarely as an adult, has she had the opportunity to spend time in the wilderness alone, though as a child it was her refuge.

Since 2017 she’s worked as the head instructor for SERE Training School, which teaches the global survival and evasion techniques she learned and once taught in the military, now primarily to civilians. Her main passion is teaching women and marginalized demographics wilderness survival skills which she hopes to do through opening her own school: O.W.L.S. Skills (Outdoorsy Women Learning Survival Skills), in 2022.

Karie Lee Knoke

Age: 57

Hometown: Sandpoint, Idaho

Profession: Wilderness/Primitive Skills Instructor

Going backpacking at 6 months old strapped to her father’s back, it’s natural to say Karie Lee has a lifetime of experiences in the outdoors. Growing up in a small town, playing in the woods and making shelters, she dreamed of someday walking off into the mountains with just a knife to survive. That would take longer than she planned though as life swept her away to college, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in both Computer Science and Business Administration along with a minor in Psychology. After 10 years as a Systems Analyst Consultant in Seattle, she escaped the turmoil of the corporate world, moving to Sandpoint, Idaho in 1997.

Now you can find her happily teaching wilderness and primitive living skills at gatherings around the country. Karie welcomes all walks of life on her facilitated trips into the backcountry where she shares that magical connection that only the wilderness can offer. She also delves into the world of Energy Medicine work and supplements treatments for suffering patients with hand-foraged, wild-crafted herbal remedies and flower essences. A passionate champion for farm-to-table health, she also makes time to work for a pesticide research scientist, collecting and analyzing data to be published in scientific journals on the toxicity impact of pesticides.

Karie’s home is a 30′ off-grid yurt deep in the woods, not connected to anything. She is surrounded and supported by the natural world around her: water comes from the sky; warmth
from the trees; food and medicine from the plants and wildlife; all “waste” is composted and returned to the forest to be recycled. She even built a gravity-fed, fire-heated bathhouse
containing a shower and sauna! In this rustic backdrop, when she’s not out playing or teaching, she enjoys a myriad of crafting projects like tanning hides, buckskin sewing, drum making, basketry, and felting. You may also come across her out backpacking, kayaking, snowboarding, or practicing her archery.

Benji Hill

Age: 46

Hometown: Bellevue, Idaho

Profession: Hunting and Packgoat Guide

Born in San Diego, CA, Benji spent his childhood navigating an urban life. Sports and fishing the local bass lakes with his Dad and brother were his primary joys. Spending mornings on the boat and afternoons exploring the shorelines were the foundation of his love for the outdoors

A ski trip to Squaw Valley, CA was accidentally booked to Sun Valley, ID and that opened the door to a mountain life. After the ski trip, Benji and his younger siblings begged and pleaded to move out of the city. The following fall, at the age of ten, school began in the high, thin air of Ketchum, ID.

The mountain life transformed Benji into the adventure seeking hunter that he is today. Bowhunting elk before high school in the mornings in September and antelope after soccer practice was the norm growing up. Once the love for all things wild was born, there was no going back.

After graduating from MSU-Bozeman in Exercise and Wellness, Benji spent 19 years instructing health and physical fitness at the local gym. During those years he developed a passion for lifting big iron. He relentlessly pursued powerlifting, going from local, to state, to national levels, and finally earning a spot at the World Championships in 2003 in Calgary, AB. An underdog at 220 pounds, Benji took the World Championships for the USA.

Realizing that his body had taken quite a toll, his focus returned to hunting and the outdoors. Teaching kids wilderness skills in the summer and guiding big game hunts became his livelihood. Pack goats were also added to the mix, and have been an amazing part of his life, allowing for longer and deeper treks with friends and clients into Idaho’s remote country.

Benji would not be who he is today without the love and support of his family. His wife, Erin, and daughter, Zoe, are the backbone of his life and encourage him to always be himself, to pursue his dreams, and stay wild and free.

Tom Garstang

Age: 35

Hometown: Earlysville, Virginia

Profession: Prescribed Fire Practitioner, Regenerative Agriculturalist, Leatherworker

Tom was born in South Africa where his father was a game ranger and would later become a well-known Conservation Biologist. Eventually taking Tom and his family to many remote corners of the globe. Tom’s mother also had a deep appreciation for wild places. It was this combination of naturalist and nurturer that sowed the seeds of adventure in Tom’s heart. His family later immigrated to the United States and settled in the Piedmont region of Appalachia.

Restless for adventure and wanderlust, he left high school early and began working varying trade and service jobs, spending his time hitchhiking, riding freight trains and following old-time music festivals up and down the east coast. Later he took a career in fine leatherwork and currently works as a Prescribed Fire Practitioner and regenerative agriculturalist, bridging the gap between farming and natural ecosystems on his extended family’s farm in Earlysville, Virginia.

As a young man, Tom took up hunting the abundant game that calls Virginia home, a passion that would soon consume him. Before long all of his free time would be spent in pursuit of Whitetail, Wild Turkey, Squirrels, Rabbits, Raccoons, Catfish, Dove, Duck, wild plants, and elusive mushrooms. The culture, legend, and lore around these Appalachian food staples and the wily ways in which the old-timers acquired them fascinated him, filling a void left by the distance he had come to feel with the developing world of his childhood abroad with his dad. Tom’s father succumbed to Parkinson’s in the waning days of summer 2019 and his hunting mentor in Buckingham Virginia, Tracy Powers passed away from cancer in the spring of 2021… Alone is the culmination of all of these events, a way to honor the inspirations and mentors who have molded him as a man and to test and humble the person he has yet to become. In a rapidly changing world reeling on its heels from war, climate change, and unseen pathogens an opportunity arises to escape it all if ever so briefly, and start a new where we all began.

Terry Burns

Age: 30

Hometown: Hurricane, West Virginia and Homer, Alaska

Profession: Commercial Fisherman

Terry Burns was born and raised outside of Hurricane, West Virginia. Growing up, he was consistently drawn outdoors and hunting and fishing nearly every day possible. At age 21, he
was in a life-threatening car accident that ended in him being hit head-on by a semi-truck. That near-death experience gave him a new perspective on life and made him realize there was
much more to life than the materialism and rat race to which he had grown so accustomed.

Realizing the only rational thing to do was move to Alaska, he did just that. Soon he was living in his car in the beautiful port town of Homer, AK. There, he got a job working on the deck of a salmon seining boat, which he’s been doing ever since.

In the seven-month off-season, Terry has pursued his passions across all 50 states and seven continents, accumulating more than a few close calls and scars from his annual 3-month long
expeditionary backpack hunts and fishing trips. He’s a man with many stories: from nearly losing his feet to frostbite, to surviving a plane crash in the Amazon, to nearly breaking his back on a caribou hunt in the Arctic. These opportunities have also made it possible for him to abstain from buying meat for the last nine years.

Through the blessings of these transformative experiences, Terry strives for an attitude of gratitude, empathy, resilience, self-reliance and a connectedness with nature. His goal on Alone is to cultivate and foster these attributes in himself and others.