If it’s possible for survival and bushcraft to have a poster boy, then Bear Grylls is it. Recognised around the world thanks to his survival show Born Survivor (Man Vs Wild), the ex-special forces soldier has notched up a lifetime of adventures, from climbing Everest to crossing the Atlantic in a RIB to exploring Antarctica. He's also got a new survival academy. Find out how to join below.
There was lot of bravado and ego to start with, and then a total meltdown of fatigue and starvation.
Tell us about the new show ‘The Island’:
It was intended as an experiment to see if modern man still has what it takes to survive. These were ordinary guys with no formal survival training and from all walks of life, with no camera teams or any form of interaction with the outside world.
There will be some conflict and pain but people who can endure will get the chance to survive and thrive.
There was lot of bravado and ego to start with, and then a total meltdown of fatigue and starvation before they were forced out of necessity to get their act together! There’s four phases of team building: forming, storming, norming and then finally performing. In other words, first there will be some conflict and pain but people who can endure it will get the chance to survive and thrive.
Why are survival skills important?
As a father of three young boys – and Chief Scout to 28 million scouts – I know what kids hunger for. It’s about dynamic self-rescue survival skills – skills that could save your life one day. It also encourages key life attitudes that make a critical difference in the wild and in life – optimism, teamwork, initiative, courage, resourcefulness and determination.
I have been lucky in my life many times over.
What's been your best adventure?
The summit of Everest, at 7:22am on May 26, 1998, as the sun rose over Tibet, with my best buddy Neil Laughton is a major highlight. I have been lucky in my life many times over, not only to survive my parachuting accident in the military [Grylls broke his back in three places after a freefall accident] but also to have the job that I dreamt of when I was a boy.
What’s the takeaway from your book, 'A Survival Guide for Life'?
It’s all about growing in character, and learning to thrive in adversity. I’d say that the one key lesson is to keep these F's central to your life and values: family, friendships, faith, fun and to follow your dreams.
Your survival academy is going global – what can trainees expect?
We’ve just launched the Africa course, in the stunning Victoria Falls area of Zimbabwe, and there’s going to be a few more international sites soon. They’re courses that are designed for everyone, but they’re tough. People learn everything from navigation to river crossings and fire lighting.
If you had to make one spot home…
Well, if I were to choose one location to live in forever it would be our own island off the coast of Wales. It’s where I love to spend time with my family. We have no mains electricity or water, and run everything totally off-grid, but we love it!
Bear Grylls Survival Academy offers courses across the UK, USA and Zimbabwe. For more information, please visit beargryllssurvivalacademy.com.