Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Benedict Allen: Going On Expeditions

A hero of mine Benedict Allen talking about, Going On Expeditions! He's a source of great fascination and inspiration to me with his parachute in-walk out philosophy of adventure travel.

His quiet understatement is at odds with the way in which TV demands that all adventure be 'EXTREME!!' yet his adventures are far edgier than anyone else I've seen on TV.

When he travels his left hand is the film crew, while his right is clearing a way through the jungle - unsupported to the source of the Amazon anyone?

His approach is to present himself as ready to learn, like an infant; the communities that he visits take him under their wing, equipping him with the necessary skills. It is not always the adults but sometimes the children that "adopt" and teach him.

A great example of someone who could only be what he is, and in many ways the father of the video diary format.

"Qualifications for a Traveller. - If you have health, a great craving for adventure, at least a moderate fortune, and can set your head on a definite object, which old travellers do not think impracticable, then - travel by all means. If, in addition to these qualifications, you have scientific taste and knowledge, I believe that no career, in time of peace, can offer to you more advantages than that of a traveller. If you have not independent means, you may still turn travelling to excellent account; for experience shows that it often leads to promotion, nay, some men support themselves by travel. They explore pasture land in Australia, they hunt for ivory in Africa, they collect specimens of natural history for sale, or they wander as artists. " - Sir Francis Galton

More soon

PS Steve thanks for the Francis Galton quote.


Sahil said...

Very interesting interview. He definitely is humble and understates the magnitude of his expeditions. 3-6months alone? I like this guy and will continue to read about him.

While watching the video, he looked so familiar.. A quick Google search told me he was on I Shouldn't Be Alive, which was where I saw him. The story of him surviving in the Amazon and having to kill his companion dog was heartbreaking! I doubt Bear Grylls or Les Stroud ever had to do that..

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Glad you liked it, there's lots to read he's written several books, today I started 'Into the Abyss' his story of trying to cross the bering straight with a dog team. As well as his own shows he crops up on the odd tv show here, and has the kind of humor-by-understatement that is very 'English' I think he'd be and interesting companion at dinner or around the campfire.