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Kevin Vallely and family’s 1800 km paddling trip on the Mackenzie River

In the modern era, it is typical that our lives revolve around devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With the evolution of social media, it is now easier and more convenient to communicate online. Technology has led to a huge population in the world living virtual lives plugged into the wall. It is for this reason that Kevin Vallely decided to organize a paddling trip on the Mackenzie River for his family.

Kevin and Nicky Vallely and their two young daughters Arianna and Caitlin left the comfort of their homes and technology to reconnect with nature. In an interview, Kevin called it the unplugging trip, saying were they at home, their two daughters would be on silent on their iPads. The Vallely family started out in the company of another family who later found the activity too challenging and opted out.

The trip brought the Vallely family together as a team as all activities were shared helping create a bond away from the distraction of technology. The family had planned for the shipping of their vehicle to Inuvik. When they finally made it to Inuvik, it was a rude surprise to hear that the vehicle was still in Hay River. Kevin had to fly back to Hay River, drive up to Inuvik, and pick up his family and drive back home.

The family paddled from the Hay River to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Vallely family spent a total of 35 days paddling up the Mackenzie River visiting and interacting with communities along the river and experiencing a life different from that of the city. The family was successful in their cause to unplug and their daughters no longer crave their daily screen time. The experience was life changing and, according to Kevin, the biggest challenge was the adjustment back to city life.