Suzanne Crocker's 'All The Time In The World' documents 9 months off the grid in Yukon

Suzanne Crocker and her husband moved their three children, ages 10, 8 and 4, to a remote part of the Yukon where they lived for nine months without road access, electricity or running water.

Crocker said experience was a 'touchstone' that helps her remember what's really important

Suzanne Crocker and her family spent nine months living in the wilderness. (Supplied)

When Suzanne Crocker and her husband made a move to disconnect their family from technology — they went all out.

The pair moved their three children, ages 10, 8 and 4, to a remote part of the Yukon where they lived for nine months without road access, electricity or running water.

"The kids, they just thought it was a big adventure. They thought we were going camping and I don't think the reality of nine months in the bush really, really, really hit them," Crocker, who made a documentary about the experience, told The Early Edition.

Here are five things she learned while living in the wilderness:

1. All the supplies had to be hauled in ahead of time

Before setting out to the cabin, Crocker had to pull together all the supplies the entire family would need for the entire nine months.

"Simple things like how many rolls of toilet paper does a family use in nine months — those are things that are hard to find," she said (the answer was 134 rolls).

2. The frenzy melted away with the freeze

Crocker said the fall was extremely busy, as the family prepared a cache of food to get them through the winter.

"I was questioning the whole decision ... because I felt like we were just trading one set of distractions for another, but once freeze-up starts in the Yukon … you really cannot go get any more supplies. You're just there. That was when it really started to relax for us and we just started to living in the moment."

Suzanne Crocker switched careers from rural family physician to filmmaker in 2009. (

3. Her family got closer, literally

The first thing to do every morning was to heat the cabin. Until it warmed up, the family relied on each other to stay warm.

"We would all snuggle together in one spot in the cabin and then one of us — usually my husband — would get up to get the wood stoves going and boil the water for tea and then we would read out loud for who knows how long — probably for a good hour or two — while the cabin warmed up," she said.

Crocker said she was a bit worried about how her children would get along, but said they actually fought less during the nine months.

4. Time became irrelevant

The family's days weren't dictated by a schedule.

"Because we didn't have clocks or watches, we would eat when we were hungry and get up when we were rested," she said.

5. The comforts of home weren't really missed

"I occasionally dreamed about a hot shower or a hot bath and that was basically it. I really could have stayed there forever," said Crocker.

Her family is now back in Dawson City, and she said she still lives by the lessons she learned in the bush.

"The experience acts as a touchstone now. I do better at living in the moment. I'm not perfect by any means but it's easier for me to see when I'm getting back when I'm getting caught in those old traps, and easier for me to pull out again. It did make me realize what my true priorities are."

Crocker will attend a screening of her documentary, All The Time In The World, at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival on Sunday, March 8 at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver.

To hear the full interview with Suzanne Crocker, click the audio labelled: Family living off the grid.


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