What’s the more demanding part of your job: the physical challenge or the mental challenge?
Both are equally challenging but at different times. Physically, as time goes on I get weaker. Mentally, the start is harder because I’m nervous, but with time I feel mentally stronger.
How do you prepare before going out for an episode?
I spend two or three days before each show going through evacuation plans with local rangers and doing safety briefings, as well as spending time with a survival expert to go over techniques and the area’s animals and plants.
Do your actions send a dangerous message to viewers?
The extremes of jungles, mountains, and deserts are inherently dangerous places. My job is to minimize the risks but also use my skills to get myself out of there. I am very careful, and I trust my instinct about where the real dangers lie. No one at home should copy me. The show is purely about me struggling to stay alive using the skills I have.
Was there any point while filming the show when you wanted to bail out of a situation?
You bet! A few occasions. Once I was lost in the middle of the Amazon jungle with no tent or mosquito repellent, no net, and no fresh water or food during torrential rain for a solid 24 hours. I was unable—for the first time ever—to light a fire, and I had stuffed grass down my clothes to try and stop shivering. I think it’s OK to have the odd moment of “What have I got myself into here?”
How have your real-life experiences helped guide what you do on the show?
The special forces gave me the self-confidence to do some extraordinary things in my life. Climbing Everest then cemented my belief in myself. I somehow survived while four climbers I was with died. I felt a responsibility to justify that somehow and live the rest of my life with fire, love, and energy.
Why do what you do? What makes you want to be the star of Man vs. Wild?
Hey, it’s a living! [Laughs]