Just 18 months after breaking his back in a parachute accident, 23-year-old Bear Grylls became the youngest Briton to scale Everest. In doing so he put himself firmly on the map as one of the most fearless young explorers of our time. He has since led groundbreaking expeditions across the world. A self-proclaimed born survivor, his TV show of the same name airs in 150 countries, reaching more than a billion people. His autobiography, Mud, Sweat and Tears, hit the shelves in June. Aspire found out how a man who uses seal carcasses as wetsuits and buries himself alive to ‘escape’, likes to relax on holiday.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Our family’s little Welsh island hideaway. We have a lighthouse and a small cottage, but no mains electricity or water – we use wind, solar and rain water collection. It is a little slice of heaven away from everything.
Where is your least favourite destination and why?
Probably Copenhagen. We went for new year and almost everything was shut. We finally found a hot chocolate shop where the cleaners were fans of the show and we got a lock-in, so it wasn’t all bad.
What drives your holiday making decisions?
How do you reseatch and book your holidays?
I use magazines and travel articles, which I only ever have time to read while flying somewhere for filming. It inspires me to book something with my family as soon as I get home.
Do you ever use travel agents?
No, I don’t need them I guess. Discounts and cheaper flights would lure me towards them though.
Do your holiday choices alter depending on who you are going with?
Yes. I tend to go with my wife and three boys, so we very much think about sports and activities. For Christmas and new year we’re going away with best friends and their kids so we’ll have to think about how to entertain the troops.
What is the greatest travel experience of your life?
Antarctica was special, as were Siberia and Patagonia, but for different reasons. I am lucky to have been to so many incredible places for filming – the show gets us access to so many hidden places. It also reminds me how special home is.
Which travel dreams are you still keen to fulfil?
I want to climb the untouched peaks in Greenland.
Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Sunrise from the summit of Everest has yet to be bettered. Except maybe by sunset from our lighthouse in Wales.
Do you prefer an active holiday, a lazy beach option or cultural time away?
Lazy beach for me. I have enough drama and danger at work. The occasional cultural city break with the family is fun for a weekend.
What are your plans for the next few months?
Filming for season six of Born Survivor, and then no doubt off to some far-flung corner of the Earth.
Have you had any holiday nightmares?
A few, but it happens less often nowadays. Our honeymoon was a budget one-star job to Cancun. Lunch wasn’t included and our room was right next to the sewer outlet, which added an interesting dimension.
Do you think the travel industry has a responsibility to look after the detinations it visits?
That is down to the country and the resort itself, then the consumers can decide.
Are your holiday and travel decisions shaped by the desire to be green?
Yes. We use eco-hotels a lot. And on luxury holidays with the family I want the resorts to be eco friendly. This matters too much to ignore.
If a friend asked you for advice on where to go for a two week break what would you suggest?
I realise now this depends a lot on whether they have children. But you can have an amazing holiday almost anywhere.
Have you ever workied with or in the travel industry?
We often get invited and welcomed by the travel industry to film at their destinations, as they feel that it will promote tourism. But sometimes they aren’t always that pleased when the programme airs, as we tend to focus on the danger and hardships, and the worst that their jungles and mountains can offer.
If you were stuck on a desert island which three luxuries would you choose to have?
Definitely my guitar, and my Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Pack! I don’t need three.
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