Friday, October 31, 2014

Ed Stafford

After setting a world record by walking the length of the Amazon River, adventurer Ed Stafford's (Walking the Amazon) next challenge stranded him--naked, and without tools and weapons--on Olorua, a remote Fiji island, for 60 days armed with only cameras to document his stay for the Discovery Channel. His book is Naked and Marooned: One Man. One Island.

From his Q & A with Mark Frauenfelder for Boing Boing:

You were formerly in the British military, and I think you specialized in survival skills. Did you have to learn any special survival skills to go on this island, or did you kind of purposely avoid that so you could figure out how to improvise?

The mistake a lot of people thought was that I was a survival expert. I'm not. I came out of the military and went into a job leading expeditions, but expeditions and survival are completely different things. One, I've got a rucksack full of equipment, and food, and a lighter to light a fire with, and all of the kit that I need in order to run an expedition, whereas this 60-day [inaudible] on an island actually had me completely outside my comfort zone. I deliberately stripped away all of the things that would make my life easy, like help from other people, and equipment, and food, and water, and a knife, and everything that I would normally rely on.

That's why, for me, it was interesting. That's why I did the project because it wasn't going in there with a mosquito net, and a knife, and a bag of rice, and bits and bobs like that. Of course, there's no challenge there. Of course you could survive. It then does become that paradise island, and you get preoccupied with not getting bored. But to start from scratch, to actually trying to create an existence for yourself, and try to advance in terms of involving your comfort, that was, to me, as a massive challenge.

Therefore, I did have to learn new skills. When I walked the Amazon two and half years, I didn't know how to light a fire with two pieces of wood, rubbing them together, because I used a lighter, but I had to learn how to do that. I learned how to...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue