Climbing the high mountain, or deep diving the sea. Adventurous sports have taken the role of proving heroism for this generation. As a rock climber myself, I love such heroic acts. Just pushing over your limit, achieving what you dreamt for so long is my way of life. My favorite idol is a very well known star. I am talking about a man who loves adventures so much that he survives on the planet by showing all the survival techniques in extreme situations one can ever face. A former SAS serviceman, professional survival instructor and of course, an adventurer, I am talking about Edward Michael Grylls aka Bear Grylls. Nobody can match the amount of the first-hand experience he has of various subjects.
Early Life and Military Service
His daredevilry developed when he was a kid, thanks to his father who himself was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. He learned to climb and to sail with his father at a very young age. And according to a source, he also practiced Shotokan Karate which is a martial art form originated in Japan. He earned a second dan black belt in it. After school Grylls spent a brief time in the Himalayas in the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal. Actually, at this time he was focusing on climbing. It was his childhood dream to climb Mt. Everest.
After a brief span in the Himalayas, Grylls joined the elite SAS Royal British Special Forces where he polished his skills of survival in hard and tough physical and real-life situations. As part of his service, he was once deployed in Northern Africa where he met with an accident that changed his life completely. During a free fall jump, his parachute didn’t open and he broke his 3 vertebrae escaping death by an inch. He merely escaped being paralyzed for his entire life.
Life after the accident
This happened to be a life-changing incident for Grylls. Any normal person might suffer PTSD or be scared for life out of heights, but Grylls being Grylls took this as motivation and after almost 18 months of this incident, Grylls fulfilled his childhood dream of successfully climbing the Everest in 1998 at a mere age of 23. After this, he never stopped and started exploring the world’s extreme challenges that nature has to offer.
According to his autobiography, the list of successful adventures include:
- The Summit of Mount Everest
- Circumnavigation of the UK
- Crossing the North Atlantic
- Dinner Party at Altitude
- Paramotoring over the Himalayas
- Journey Antarctica 2008
- Longest Indoor freefall
- Northwest Passage Expedition
Man v/s Wild
Bear Grylls was signed for T.V. show contracts. Though, he is famous for the show ‘Man v/s Wild’ aired on Discovery Channel as the host and the chief protagonist. The show’s concept was to show us to fight against any odds if one gets stuck into the wild or any other life/death situation. In the show, Grylls would go to the extreme physical environments, it could be any harsh place of the Earth. From deserts of Sahara to the cold and dark Alaska. From mountains to rivers, in the show, Grylls introduced life-saving lessons, how to survive in the wild atmosphere and how to get to the nearest civilization.
Grylls Survives it All
Also, he did many other related shows for different T.V. channels of many different countries. The crux of the show remained the same i.e. to teach people the survival techniques in the most extreme situations. When asked in an interview, what is the thing that drives you to perform and explore the survival acts? Bear said, “Survival requires us to leave our prejudices at home. It’s about doing whatever it takes– and ultimately those with the biggest heart will win.” Following him, I came across the most horrendous and unacceptable experiences. I do not know If I can ever have guts to contemplate something similar. But then they say, desperation makes you do all sorts of unimaginable things. Enlisted here are some of those experiences that I share with you. Tell me will you be able to do the same?
Drank his urine
Yup, that’s right. Grylls performed this as part of surviving in a particular area. The whole idea of it was to explore ideas for how can one remain hydrated if you get stuck in an isolated area for a long time like a desert and there is no help nearby. In that particular situation, remaining hydrated becomes very crucial so according to Bear, drinking your urine can turn out to be life-saving. Tell us in the comments that if stuck in a similar situation would you do the same?
Autopsy on Camel
One of the most isolated areas that can be imagined is a desert. The African deserts are quite isolated. They are not much inhabited by humans and finding human civilization in near areas is quite difficult. In one of the episodes, Grylls showed how to survive in a desert at nights when it gets cold. He found a dead camel there and skinned the camel’s lower body and removed all the organs, thus creating a significant amount of space in the camel’s body which acted as his camping tent. He said on the show that you won’t find a better tent than this in this desert which can keep you warm.
So next time if get stuck in the desert or any arid area and are lucky to find a dead camel then you don’t have to worry about the tent because you know what you have to do. Otherwise, buy a tent before you get lost in the be-wilderness.
Making a Swimsuit out of a Seal’s skin
Imagine you are stuck in Antarctica and you are required to cross a little water body. According to Grylls, you can do two things, first, you must cross the stream without clothes or if you find a seal lying dead near you, skin it and make a swimsuit from it as Grylls did in one of the episodes. Seal’s skin is quite warm and thick which helps them to swim in extremely cold water.
Forget Bull’s eye, hit the Yak’s eye
While exploring Siberia, Grylls met with a herd of Yaks. The Siberian Turkic people consume yak’s flesh. But Grylls went on to another level, first hunted down a Yak and then first ate his eye and then had its liver. He said in this extremely cold weather, the liver or eye can help in providing an adequate amount of carbohydrates and essential fats.
Viper as Water Bottle
In one of his adventures in Namibia, he forgot his water bottle and keeping in mind the extreme heat of Namibia, he was intelligent enough to find natural water storage in the form of a snake. He hunted down a Viper and cut his neck to remove the poison and then removed the internal organs without damaging the skin. Thus, he made water storage for himself out of a poisonous snake.
Always remain hydrated
One of Bear Grylls’ suggestions you will find in his every survival lesson is to remain hydrated always. He often comes up with a different idea of survival. At one instance he peed on his T-shirt and drank his urine after squeezing it, saying that T-shirt might have filtered few impurities. At another instance in a desert, he cut a camel stomach and drank the water inside the camel’s hump which they store for many days. When he found no camel to cut or couldn’t pee but felt thirsty in a tropical jungle, he found an elephant’s fresh dung. He squeezed it and drank the ‘juice’ as he said on the show.
Apart from showing us the survival lessons, Grylls has been doing shows that feature many celebrities from every walk of life. Be it a film star, sportsman or a politician. Grylls has done two episodes with the serving head of the governments of two different nations. One is the oldest democracy and the other is the largest democracy. Yes, you guessed them correct. He featured with President Obama in 2015 in Alaska and very recently with Prime Minister Modi in 2019 in the Himalayas.
Bear Grylls featured on many talk shows and has given many speeches on motivation and survival. He has published many books. His first book – The Kid who Climbed the Everest accounts his Everest expedition, was published in 2000. Meanwhile, he authored many other books, especially for the children. In the year 2012 Grylls released his autobiography called Mud, Sweat, and Tears.
For his exceptional service to the society and his adventures, in the year 2003, Grylls was awarded the Honorary rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve and 2013 with the Honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marines Reserve. Also in 2009, Grylls was appointed as the youngest Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories at the age of 35 and he holds the rank even today.
“I am not fearless. I get scared plenty. But I have also learned how to channel that emotion to sharpen me” – Bear Grylls
With that note, we can truly say that Grylls’ life is one of the most adventurous life anyone can expect. He got to explore many key locations of the Earth and was able to test his endurance and resistance to the harsh and cold physical environments. All these events tested Grylls’ potential to survive.