Last week, after six gruelling episodes, I finished filming the first brand new series of Trailblazer, my new show on Discovery Channel. Its out later in the year and, for me, is the most exciting series yet in terms of scope and originality. Adventures don’t need to be scripted to guarantee entertainment – just give yourself a difficult challenge – and let it all unfold naturally…
Thanks to everyone at Discovery for their support, especially Liz McIntyre and Dan Korn on their departures from the channel. Good luck to both of you and thanks for being strong allies over the past few years.
Last year was an especially good year – over 95 million unique viewers watched Marooned globally. But (in my humble opinion) the best in undoubtedly yet to come.
OK so I haven’t really been in the state of mind to blog recently. For the past couple of years actually. Part of me could reach for the excuse that I didn’t have an “real” expedition on and that I had no content to write about. But that’s utter drivel – life’s been extraordinary. I’ve just been hiding.
Naked and Marooned, as punishing as it was [read the epilogue of the book to get a raw taster], was over two years ago now and the subsequent survival 9-part series Marooned finished filming in July this year.
Now, as we head into 2015, after months of talks with Discovery Channel, we’ve found what I believe to be the best series concept yet…
Authenticity has always been the starting point. I never want to pretend anything. And as discussions have gone back and forth it has remained a key point. So too now is self filming – something that I enjoy and have no intention of giving up.
Nakedness has gone. Been there done that. Nobody likes a willy waver after all. I hate them. So too has the sense that we have to strip everything that could possibly help me out so that life would be suitably excruciatingly difficult. Within its admirable intentions, that too has led to artifice. Why go to such artificial extremes? What are you trying to prove? For me the self analysis is almost over – there are only so many days you can sit naked and alone in the wild – and I’ve clocked up 140 for Discovery now.
But with bringing back the practicalities of expedition kit and basic supplies, suddenly the door is open to explore the furthest flung parts of the planet. To go further, for longer, into more inhospitable – and sometimes much colder – places. This is what really drives me, and this is the more expansive and exploratory feel to the new series. What is the concept exactly? Contractually I can’t say yet. But my desert boots and shemagh are packed and a very remote desert is my destination tomorrow for episode one. The aim is that the series will start airing in the second half of 2015 so I guess I have some adventures to be having between now and then.
For me the big grin on my face is because it feels like I’m coming home. This is much more like Walking the Amazon. Bring it on.
The are a few tickets left for our annual Transglobe Expedition Trust event at the RGS on November 10th. Headlining is the legend that is Ray Mears, the evening is hosted by Ran Fiennes, and John Hare will speak on his work conserving critically endangered bactrian camels. Tickets are £25. Contact Anton at TGExpedition@aol.com to inquire about remaining availability.
Wow I just looked at the date and realised a year ago to the day Cho and I held hands (very macho) running into the Atlantic Ocean at the end of our 860-day expedition.
The night before I’d collapsed at the side of the road from exhaustion and then we nailed the final 75 kilometers in 17 hours. It remains the happiest day of my life.
A few months later we brought Cho over to the UK (it took a couple of well-worded letters from Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Michael Palin to the British Ambassador in Lima to swing it!) and he has a great few months over here living up in the country with my mum and playing a bit of rugby at my local club. He even got “Overseas Player of the Year”. Nice touch lads.
Cho’s back in the jungle now with his dad but hopes to return to England next year. I’m planning my next expedition to another far flung part of the globe – and start pitching for sponsorship in September. Life is great – I can’t complain at all – but there is a bit of me itching to get out of London now. A year is a long time.