Bear Grylls, 45, London
Outdoor adventurist, television host
1. How will Running Wild With Bear Grylls be updated, now that it’s moving to the National Geographic Channel in November?
We’ve been filming the boldest season of Running Wild with some of the best guests we have ever had, including actress Brie Larson and Alex Honnold from Free Solo. National Geographic is synonymous with adventure and showcasing the wild beauty of our planet. It’s the perfect destination to amplify the series with bigger journeys and wilder destinations than ever before.
2. You’ve guided more than 100 famous people out in the wild. Who has most impressed you with his or her survival skills?
The wild doesn’t care how famous someone is — it tests us and rewards courage, commitment, and perseverance. Taking President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was interesting, dealing with their respective 50 Secret Service agents following their every move. I’m a huge tennis fan, so taking Roger Federer felt pretty surreal. Delivering medicine to a remote village with Julia Roberts was very special.
3. You broke your back in a 1996 skydiving accident and your shoulder in 2008 during an Antarctic climb. Do you have any lasting physical effects from these adventures?
It taught me the lesson that life is fragile. If we’re lucky enough to survive, we have to get out there and grab life with both hands.
4. How do you train to stay physically fit and emotionally healthy to overcome such difficult challenges?
I stay as fit as I can. I consider it a part of my job. I train using short, highly effective workouts that I can fit around my schedule and family time. I still have a few niggling aches from the skydiving accident, so I do lots of yoga, get massages, and look after the way I fuel my body.
5. You’ve jumped out of airplanes, crossed barren deserts, dined on creepy-crawlies, and explored darkened caves. Yet you have anxiety?
Fear is a part of life. The symptoms for me tend to come the day before. It’s a sick feeling; I’m sure everyone knows what I mean. I’ve learned to stand up to it, embrace it, and use the emotion to keep me sharp and firing on all cylinders. I try never to let it overwhelm or control me. I’m still learning.
6. What’s your secret food indulgence? Do you have one?
I have two: homemade guacamole and thick carrot cake!
7. Has fatherhood altered your attitude about putting yourself in the path of danger?
It’s made me reevaluate my relationship with risk. Risk is good; it stretches us, and that’s how we grow. But you’ve got to be smart; you only get it wrong once. I’ve developed a good instinct of what is smart to do and what is not. I try and listen to that voice.
8. How often do any of your three sons (Jesse, 16; Marmaduke, 13; and Huckleberry, 10, with wife Shara) join you out in the field?
Whether climbing in Scotland, skiing in the Alps, or exploring caves in Wales, we love to do all that as a family. Shara has lived with the dangers of my adventures for years now. I think she’s learned not to ask too many questions.
9. If you could share only one bit of wisdom from your 2012 book, To My Sons: Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life, what would it be?
The real wealth in our lives is found in relationships.
10. At 45, do you ever think about slowing down? Or do you want to double down?
Life is a journey, isn’t it? I always have an aspiration never to arrive at the end of my life in a perfectly preserved body but to arrive sideways, covered in scars, screaming, “Yahoo — what a ride!”
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