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The credit for our fascination for the great outdoors must at least in part go to Bear Grylls (you know, the guy who was on TV with our PM). His under-the-sleeve solutions and agility while in the wild not only have us gaping but also leave us wondering: just how does he do it? Missing nature the most while he is grounded at home currently, we caught up with him for a quick chat (with proper social distancing, of course):
How would you describe your personal travel style?
I reckon Robin Hood: lived in the wild with his great friends and tried to spread goodness.
What is most likely to be found in your bag for your next travel expedition?
To have a good knife in place is very important for an adventurer. It helps you make shelter, fire, a natural roof...It also comes in handy for creating traps and to hunt food and with fire, one can boil water and burn animal dung to keep the mosquitoes away. On a separate note, more than a knife, what truly triumphs when you are out on an adventure is the mindset of a survivor and a strong attitude.
You've shot across destinations in India. Which location was the toughest to shoot at?
Climbing in some of the remote parts of Sikkim is definitely a herculean task. India has so many wild and spectacular corners and Sikkim being the window to the Himalaya makes the state worth a visit. There is always something special about hill people. There is a connection and respect for the mountains that brings people together. I have always loved that.
What’s next on your bucket list?
You will soon see me doing what I do best in the Indian subcontinent as we have some very interesting projects to film including shooting more adventures with the Indian superstars. I’m also hoping to take part in a rally and support the incredible Indian Scouts, who are inspiring millions of young people to be able to learn about the wild and adventure.
Which has been your most memorable expedition?
One of the most terrifying expeditions was probably our crossing of the North Atlantic Arctic Ocean in a small open rigid inflatable boat. It was 3,000 miles and we had an intense and very frightening gale force 10 storm. With waves as big as houses, icebergs & the relentless cold, wet and exposure, it became a bit of an epic. That expedition stands out because it taught me the power of nature, the power of friendships and the importance of respect in the wild. It takes nothing less than an epic to make you understand what life is. We were very lucky to have escaped that one.
One place you wouldn't mind going back and why?
We love going back to our small island hideaway in North Wales, it makes me feel most at home. My best adventures are the ones with my family; our three boys, my wife Shara and I are happier there than anywhere else on earth. Adventure and solitude mixed with fun and family. We indulge in a host of activities here including dive, train, paraglide and climb. What also makes this exciting is the fact that we have no mains electricity or water and run everything totally off grid.
Any tips you would give to wildlife enthusiasts?
The most important piece of advice is to never underestimate dehydration. Especially when you are out in the wild in cold climate conditions, many often think you can go without drinking water, whereas you dehydrate faster. Always remember to hydrate yourself. Additionally, one must know the power of resilience as it helps you navigate through some of the toughest situations whether in life or in the wild.
How important is a watch when you head for the great outdoors?
I have worn Luminox from as long as I can remember; the watch has had my trust since my military days. I have always been on the lookout for something extra resilient that will weather the storms and knocks with me. I can't help mentioning the new range of Bear Grylls Luminox watches which are built for a beating and stacked with innovation. The watches use the Luminox light technology to navigate in the dark. I trust them to be up for any kind of adventure.
Lastly, how are keeping up with the pandemic?
I have teamed up with Scouts for indoor survival activities during these trying times. It’s brilliant to see that #TheGreatIndoors campaign has been used over 30 million times to help families have fun and survive indoors during this time. In my role as the Chief Scout, it gives me great pleasure to provide access to the many young people an opportunity in this space as they don’t lack ambition. At the end, what is important is to drive an adventurous streak, a go-getter attitude and the willingness to go that extra mile to achieve one’s goal. This is why Scouts is so powerful already and is actively changing so many millions of young lives for the better. But, as always, we can do more.
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