While it makes for some entertaining insights into the human spirit and how far you can push what constitutes a “comfy” living, we have the man here himself to take us through the entirety of season seven.
Pictured Above: Episode 1 — Peru
This was on the coast of Atacama Desert, south of Lima and it was a couple who had left Great Britain. He had been in the army and they had decided to set up a kite-surfing business where they teach people to kite-surf. That was for a series that we have done which was focused on not just people who had gone to live in the wild, but people who had started new businesses out there. I’ve always loved Peru.
I’ve been there many, many times over the years but that was my first time on the coast. I learnt to kite-surf and fish over the course of the week.
It’s very cold during the night, it can go down to 23 [degrees Fahrenheit] and it gets into plus 110 during the day so it’s extremely hot and extremely cold.
I spent 10 days or so with the family where we were picking the coffee beans, harvesting them, drying them, roasting them and turning them into coffee. The unique thing about the coffee farm was that they were selling coffee trees as individuals, so you can choose your coffee trees online. They had set up a series of cameras so that you could actually watch your coffee grow.
This was a family who had been tired of life, he had been a fireman in the United States. He suffered a bad back injury and their son had been bullied at school.
They had decided that they would change their whole life and start a new one in the mountains of Panama — a very, very beautiful part of Central America.
What she does, which some may find controversial, is that she finds the dogs, treats them and releases them back on the streets. What she had realised was that a lot of nations actually rely on the street dogs.
Street dogs actually have a role to play – keeping vermin down, getting rid of rubbish. They belong on the street so there’s a lot of people that love dogs who find that it’s a hard thing to grasp. Obviously, there’s no vet to look after them and there’s a lot of injuries, road traffic accidents. So, she has a little remote rural remote veterinary clinic where she takes volunteers from all around the world.
I spent 10 days with her out in Sri Lanka on the South Coast helping her do surgeries and operations on the street dogs.
I was visiting a Scottish woman called Susan who had opened a restaurant high in the mountains. It was an extraordinary restaurant and it kind of looked like a crashed spaceship, it was really an extraordinary place. She combines Scottish cooking with Ethiopian cooking, both of it is quite unique.
It’s in a really beautiful part of the mountains of Ethiopia.
I actually didn’t get to meet many locals there.
The family I was staying with, very much kept to themselves. I never quite know how engaged people are with the local community and they were a family who didn’t really engage with the locals which I think was a bit disappointing but that’s the beauty of the series – you never really know quite what people’s relationship is going to be with those around them.
He had just 100 items in total and had weaved himself off materialism entirely. He had very, very few items and was up in the mountains of Oregon in a rural, remote area. I’d say the door was the most unique part of that.
Every time we went in the house you’d have to get on your hands and knees and crawl in. And then of course once you’re in the room, you have to bend your head down to avoid hitting the ceiling.
We had to protect ourselves from the mosquitos rather than the cold. It was in the far, far east of Siberia quite close to the Bering Sea in one of the remotest places that I’ve ever been and that was living with scientists who were trying to bring back the woolly mammoths.
They had built a special park and they were trying to put the DNA into Asian elephants so that they can bring back the woolly mammoths, down all of the vegetation that is threatening to melt the permafrost which would lead to a global catastrophe.
It was an extraordinary story out there but Siberia could be a harsh environment.
Those were cows, I think they were highland cows actually. I did not milk them.
They belonged to the neighbour, I don’t think they belonged to them. There were no wildlife encounters in New Zealand but plenty of beautiful walks.
He had taken me out for a cycle and it was a very inspiring story of one man’s battle with himself.
Season Seven of Where the Wild Men Are premieres today at 9.55pm on BBC Earth (Starhub Channel 407) or on BBC Player.