Bear Grylls has made a career out of going on epic adventures around the world. He’s a former British Special Forces soldier who climbed Mount Everest just months after breaking his back in a free-fall accident. Bear has hosted a number of extreme adventure TV shows, including Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel and Running Wild with Bear Grylls on National Geographic. On Running Wild, Bear took celebrity guests like Barack Obama, Julia Roberts, and Zac Efron along on survival adventures. Bear also hosts You vs. Wild, an Emmy Award-winning interactive Netflix series where viewers decide which adventure he goes on.
But the thing that struck me the most in chatting with him was how incredibly down-to-earth he is. He’s a man that needs no introduction and has lived a life full of adventures most could only dream of, but at the end of the day, he enjoys the same simple pleasures that many of us do: a warm cup of tea (or coffee), the feel of the sun on our skin, and quality time with family and friends.
I think even if you live in a city, the outdoors is the great leveler—it’s always available for all of us, wherever we live. It’s free, it’s a natural healer, and it does more for us than almost anything else. Getting outdoors is about putting simple things into place, whether it’s just looking out of that train or bus window on your commute and looking at nature or walking those last few stops to work rather than taking the subway.
There’s something incredibly natural and healing about just walking, lifting our heads away from the phone, and looking around us.
Nature is our best healer—it’s hardwired into our evolution.
Embrace the power of simple things like walking or getting outside in the morning. I do most of my training outside now, even in the mountains where it’s -10 degrees at night. Even if it’s dark, I love that I’m outside, and it’s even better during the day when the sun is shining. It’s brilliant and healing.
For me, it’s North Wales, where we live. We own a little island up there; it’s pretty wild, and there’s just one little house on it. It’s really remote, it rains a lot, it’s windy, it’s often cold, but it has the most incredible coastline––rugged, mountainous coastline with pretty wild beaches. We’ve spent so much time here as a family and will continue to do so. Definitely a hidden gem in the world.
Probably where I am now, in the high mountains in Switzerland. It has everything; I can do all the skydiving and paragliding that I want, and I love the climbing and the community here. I like the fact that I’ve got my ice trough—my old horse trough that’s full of cold water—and access to great sun and great natural mountain food (good cheeses, great meats). I think this is a really happy place for me, and it’s where we always head back to after filming. It’s a simple life up here, but it’s wonderful.
The five Fs: family, great friends, following your dreams, keeping things fun, and faith. Those are the things I’ve always tried to follow.
It all started with health. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that we need to be our own teacher and doctor. I had a real journey of finding out the things in my life that help me maintain optimum health. It’s about so much more than just nutrition; it’s also a way of life. There’s this wave of millions of people around the world who are understanding that to function at our best and to have optimal health, vitality, and longevity, you have to listen to nature, be outdoors, get cold, get enough sun, lift some weights, listen to how our ancestors used to eat, and get away from processed foods that create so much disease in people. We need to get back to how nature and millions of years of evolution have allowed us to adapt and thrive.
For many years, I thought that if we want to be fit and healthy, we have to eat lots of vegetables and not eat too much meat, and my health really suffered. Slowly, I realized that this wasn’t what nature was saying to me; nature is saying we have millions of years of evolution to thrive off animals. The partnership with Ancestral was a really natural coming together of like-minded people, and they’ve built an incredible community of thousands of people with incredible stories of how getting back to putting into their bodies what society’s taken out, putting the natural stuff back in, has transformed them.