Ben Fogle came to public attention when he was 27, fronting the BBC TV reality series Castaway 2000, in which he and 35 others were marooned for a year on a remote Scottish island.
Since then, Fogle’s work for television has taken him to more than 100 countries, in increasingly adventurous situations that usually involved physical challenges.
His most frightening experience, so far, was being stuck in a field of crevasses in Antarctica. “There was no way out except by crossing the remaining holes. It was terrifying.” Swimming with crocodiles in Botswana came a close second. “There are only a handful of us who have ever done it,” he says. “And some of them no longer have hands.”
So is Fogle an adventurer, traveller or explorer? “I’d prefer to describe myself as a journeyman,” he says. “I like to collect experiences.”
There’s also a consistent British flavour to many of his projects: He has written about Britain’s remaining island possessions; his latest book is Land Rover: The Story of the Car that Conquered the World; and he has explored Africa with princes William and Harry for a documentary.
“I am proud of my heritage,” says Fogle. “My next book is about the weather. How British is that?”
Fogle’s preparations for travel are straightforward. Appropriate clothing for the terrain – including his trusty desert boots – is top priority. “I’ve used them to climb mountains and cross jungles,” he enthuses. “They’ve never let me down.”
Can too much scintillating travel lead him to become blase? Fogle thinks not. “I still get the same frisson of excitement when I land in somewhere new,” he says. “No place has ever disappointed me.”
– TEXT BY STEVE TURNER
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.