Bam Brown's departure from the Alaskan wilderness will air Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery

By Patrick Gomez
February 01, 2017 04:01 PM

 

Family has always come first for Joshua “Bam” Brown, who was raised in the Alaskan wilderness and rose to fame as the second-oldest brother in a clan of nine at the center of Discovery’s reality series, Alaskan Bush People.

But in late 2016 Brown decided to strike out on his own for the sake of love and, as seen in a preview clip exclusive to PEOPLE, leave his family homestead.

With his older brother Matt back home from rehab for alcohol abuse, “I felt like it was the right time to follow my heart,” Brown, 32, says in the current issue of PEOPLE.

But adjusting to life in the “lower 48” states hasn’t been easy.

“Just trying to navigate walking down the sidewalk is an experience,” says Brown. “But meeting fans has been really interesting. My favorite is when a little kid will run up to me and go, ‘You’re the guy off TV!’ I get such a kick out of it.”

  • For more from Bam Brown, including what his family thinks of his decision to leave home, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Also making things easier is the city girl that he’s fallen “head over heels” for.

“She’s stirred something inside me and made my soul wake up,” Brown says of his new love, whose identity is being kept private for now.

There’s no engagement just yet, but Brown says, “I hope we can blend our lives together and I can take her back to Alaska.”

Brown’s departure from the Alaskan wilderness will air on Wednesday’s episode of Alaskan Bush People at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.