Searching for Solitude: Jack Bailey

I could never put my finger directly on what caused my retreat from L.A. I suppose it was a culmination of events that spurred my final decision to bounce. Three years spent dwelling in the southern parts of the Golden State had me beat. The work, the scene, the unadulterated indulgence, the meaningless conversation. I had experienced the uninhabited freedom of America’s wild on rare occasions and found comfort in the solace and simplicity of merely existing within uninhabited surroundings. Big Sur, Yosemite, Joshua Tree; All places I had frequented and grown fond of. Three of America’s uncorrupted hearts, magnificent in their own right and all pumping blood into my immediate obsession to venture as far North as possible.

My friends showed little faith in my plan to drive from Los Angeles to Anchorage. “There is literally nothing up there—days and days of absolutely nothing”, they said. Nothing was just what I wanted. Decision made, I loaded Ziggy—a 1995 Toyota Pickup named after my old white hound—with surfboards, fishing roads, camera gear, smokes and booze, and headed north.

The majority of the journey spent in my own company initially led my scrambled mind to what could only be described as temporary insanity, brought about by constant head noise and the overwhelming urge to talk to oneself. But I overcame the fear of loneliness, found comfort in the clarity of my own thoughts, and eventually settled with an uncommon feeling of absolute content. 13,830 kilometers and four months later, I found myself perched on top of a jagged peak in Alaska’s Denali National Park, bearded, bruised, bemused, and completely happy to be surrounded by nothing I was looking for.