On his Discovery Channel show Man Vs. Wild, Bear Grylls constantly battles Mother Nature. Whether he is tromping through a desert, climbing up a mountain or wading into a swamp, Bear doesn’t do anything half way.
This morning I got to meet Bear and ask him about his experiences and why he puts himself in situations where he has to drink from camel’s intestines and crawl into bears' carcasses for warmth. Bear just laughed and said that this is the only thing he has really ever been good at. Apparently he’s been taking on extreme adventures since he was 6 years old – it just wasn’t being filmed. He first knew that he wanted to do this for a career was when he was in the British Army. “99% of the skills I use when I am on Man Vs. Wild I got from when I was in the Special Forces as a combat survivalist. It really honed my instincts.” So just what does it take to survive the wild? Bear says, “Mostly common sense, keeping calms and never quitting.”
For four seasons, fans have watched Bear battle extremes temperature, isolation and wild animals, so I knew I had to ask him what he thought was the worst part of his treks. The answer was unequivocally the lack of a good meal. “Survival food is never pretty. Snakes, crocs and scorpions are awful, but you would be amazed at what you do when you are hungry.”
The fifth season of Man Vs. Wild premiers tomorrow night. Viewers will get to see Bear on the Russian border, in Papua New Guinea and in the Californian desert. “My visit to the Death Valley starts with a halo jump from 33,000 feet.” While this certainly sounds risky, this is a reality show. Is he ever really in danger? “Absolutely,” Bear says. “I very nearly got killed in Canada when I was hit by falling debris. I had to be helicopter out and to hospital. You have to get it right every time because it only takes once.”
So can the average person stay safe on a nature adventure? "Take a waterproof cell phone and tell someone where you are going and when you will be back," Bear advises. "That way if anything happens, someone is looking for you."
My advice: stay home and watch the show – the food is guaranteed to be better.