Reed City woman participates in adventure TV shows
OSCEOLA COUNTY — Brooke Whipple’s quest to chase her passions has led her across the world, and she doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
Although currently living on a farm on Meceola Road in Osceola County with her husband, Dave, and children, Belle and Mickey, Whipple has spent the past few years participating in several survival and adventure TV shows.
Now a veteran of shows such as National Geographic Channel’s “Yukon River Run” — which featured crews building multi-ton log rafts to float down the Yukon River — and “Alone,” a self-documented survival show requiring participants to last as long as possible in the wilderness produced by the History Channel, Whipple said many of her opportunities have stemmed from her environment.
“What ends up happening is you start surrounding yourself with inspiring, amazing people, and that will get you noticed because you are just doing these out-of-the-box things and living an out-of-the-box lifestyle and it just starts to snowball into opportunities you never thought existed,” she said. “It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I definitely can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Whipple’s adventures with TV shows began when she was working with a friend of hers, Neil Eklund, in Alaska, where Eklund would build massive log rafts to take people on guided tours down the Yukon River and Whipple worked as a guide.
It was this connection that led to Whipple and her family participating in “Yukon River Run” in 2015.
Following their return to their Michigan home, she said the show “Alone” caught her interest and she and her husband instantly knew they would love to be cast on a similar survival show.
After applying through a casting call, the couple found themselves being invited to participate in interviews and attend “boot camp” for season four of “Alone.”
This escapade would see the two being dropped in the heart of Vancouver Island in British Columbia with the task of surviving in the wilderness without any assistance for as long as possible, which ended up being 49 days.
“We were really proud of what we did,” Whipple said. “Seven weeks alone living off the land is really, really hard, but it was an amazing experience.”
She explained the couple ultimately was required to leave the competition due to the amount of weight loss she experienced.
Mere months after returning home though, Whipple found herself being invited back to participate in the fifth season of “Alone,” which would require participants to survive in Mongolia, this time without a partner.
Although she was thrilled to go to Asia and participate in an extreme adventure once again, the intense experience of being alone in the wilderness was still fresh in her mind from her previous season.
“It is very traumatic in ways. It’s very rewarding, but it’s very taxing on every aspect of your being — your physical, your emotional, your mental. It’s really tough, especially just to be alone,” Whipple said.
Although she only lasted 28 days during her second season of “Alone,” Whipple said she feels no regrets about the experience.
“Being alone is so much harder than people imagine,” she said. “You’re surrounded by wilderness and you are the anomaly. You are the thing sticking out, not everything else. So you’re in your shelter and you hear noises and they get in your head when you sit there all by yourself in the dark for hours and hours and hours.”
Whipple explained part of her strategy for staying occupied during this isolation was to stay as busy as possible, including using birch bark to craft a journal, baskets, jewelry and a chain — which she would add a link to each day she lasted in the Mongolian wilderness.
“It was such a big deal for me to make a new link and watch that chain grow because it was an accomplishment, it was verifying my day and what I was doing,” she said.
Although Whipple has immensely enjoyed participating in these challenges, she is not interested in competing in “Alone” again, but rather is looking for new opportunities.
“I have nothing else to prove. I know I can do it. I want to do other challenges,” she said. “I really love adventure travel. I’m big on hiking and camping and climbing mountains. I just want to inspire others and get people excited about living the life they were meant to live.”
As part of her effort to inspire others, Whipple works as a public speaker, hosts a Youtube channel titled “Girl in the Woods,” has written multiple books and hosts workshops to teach people about surviving in the wilderness.
In particular, Whipple hopes to encourage youth to find what drives them and help give them the motivation to go after their passions.
“I feel like kids aren’t told they can be whatever they want to be. It’s work on your grade point average, go to college, but there’s really no discussion of what’s your joy, what’s your real passion — and that’s what you should chase down,” she said. “I think sometimes you should do what’s not expected.”
Although Whipple said she is not sure exactly what is in store for the next stage of her life, she hopes this method of reaching out to others through public speaking will be a significant part of the journey.
To connect with Whipple about her adventures or public speaking, visit brookeanddavidwhipple.com.