Benedict Allen (benedictallen.com) is one of the world’s foremost explorers. You can follow him on twitter @benedictallen. He’s the writer of a plethora of books, including ‘Into the Crocodile Nest: A Journey Inside New Guinea’, ‘Hunting the Gugu’, ‘Into the Abyss’, ‘Edge of Blue Heaven: A Journey Through Mongolia’, ‘The Skeleton Coast: Journey Through the Namib Desert’, ‘Mad White Giant’, and presenter of six BBC television series. He’s the only person to have crossed the full width of the Gobi desert alone except for camels. He’s well known for his technique of immersing himself with indigenous communities and avoiding taking technology with him on expedition. He has survived many near-death experiences, including sewing up his own chest-wound with his boot-mending kit after being abandoned by his guides in Sumatra.
In this episode we discuss his inspiration from his air pilot father, how he developed the mental and physical resilience to go on months-long solo expeditions in his 20s. He describes enduring brutal initiation ceremonies in Papua New Guinea with the crocodile cult, that involved being beaten every day five times a day with bamboo blades, a ceremony that no outsider had before experienced; encountering snakes in the Mongolian desert. And we talk about how exploration can help us understand the current mass extinction of wildlife we are experiencing and causing.
The Wild Voices Project podcast tells the stories of people saving nature. We are part of WILDVoices media, a global production team bridging emerging storytellers with aspiring environmental professionals. Find out more about us at wildvoicesproject.org. Learn more about the global community at wild-voices.org.