Extreme adventure: This explorer roughs it out in the wild with nothing but a camera
Mangrove swamps, bareback forests, coast layers and sand dunes — these are just some of the extreme conditions that 42-year-old British explorer Ed Stafford was left at, to shoot for his show Ed Stafford: Left for the Dead on Discovery Channel. And, all that is just in the first episode. Although the genre falls under the category of extreme adventures, like Man vs Wild and Bear Grills, this one manages to stand out. It follows Stafford, who escapes dangerous environments with minimum survival tools at his disposal. Surviving extreme conditions is not new to Stafford, who shot to fame as the Guinness World Record holder for being the first human to walk the length of the Amazon River in 2010. His previous shows Naked and Marooned were all about thriving, while Left for the Dead, he claims, revitalises the “very concept of survival.”Stafford adds, “The opportunity to take on big journeys or explore different locations for what they’re worth wasn’t an option. The concept allowed us to set a greater challenge — dropping me off in locations where a much larger journey with more crucial decisions and obstacles are involved.”
Man in the wild
Surviving in the wild, like Stafford does, with virtually nothing except cameras, can be tricky, but he claims that “no tool is indispensable.” He credits his military background (he was a Captain at the Royal Marine Cadet Force) for the same. “I don’t need one particular piece of equipment that is suitable for all my expeditions, except cameras, which I use to tell my stories.”If you, like us, are wondering how he roughs it out in the wild, he explains, “I stay safe by using my previous experiences and knowledge to make the most of the little resources I have. I’ve been dropped off on remote islands without clothes, water and food. One of the important things to do during times when it looks like everything is against you is to use your surroundings to your advantage.”
Do or die
While walking across the River Amazon, Stafford says, his agenda was simple. “Succeed or die — and that is no exaggeration. I was also massively underprepared in terms of mental robustness. I was told I would die many times by many people. I had insecurities that needed me to lay down a massive marker that would demonstrate what I was capable of. It broke me, re-built me, and was the catalyst for immense personal evolution.” Which is why Stafford feels it is critical to stay positive. “It’s what I struggle with the most, because it opens every single vulnerability. When I’m on my own, I struggle, and I keep picking daft concepts that involve me being on my own, probably because the challenges are more intense,” he signs off.