OW many of us fulfil our dreams?” asks Ben Fogle, pointedly. “I’ve always lived my life to have no regrets, and when I die, I’d like to think, ‘you know what, I made a difference and I did everything I wanted to do’,” he says.
We’re discussing the premise behind his hit Channel 5 show, New Lives In The Wild, in which he travels the globe to meet people who have turned their backs on the daily grind.
“The world is quite angry right now, isn’t it?” Ben, 43, continues. “We’re reading it all the time; it’s never been so divided [and] this kind of simmering anger that manifests itself on the internet, in social media, it’s so unhealthy.
“For me, the wilderness on one hand is very black and white: it’s going to either be rainy or it’s going to be dry, you’re either going to be cold or you’re going to be hot,” he observes.
“Sometimes it’s easy to interpret it, but it also just has an honesty to it that I think society has lost and that’s what’s really appealing.”
Six seasons in and Ben, whose TV career stemmed from his stint on the BBC reality show Castaway in 2000, is clearly thrilled about the series’ success. His long list of exploits includes the six-day Marathon des Sables, swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco and a 49-day, 3,000-mile rowing race with James Cracknell.
During this series he will join another set of brave individuals who have chosen to venture down an alternative path, from Egyptian farms on the edge of the Sahara Desert and the vast wilderness of Australia; to the foothills of the Spanish mountains and even a floating island off the Canadian coast.
“The more places I go, the more I understand and the Ben Fogle’s dreams of escaping ‘civilisation’, are on hold – for now. He tells why he envies those who can live off-the-grid more I want to ask,” says Ben, who sharpened his broadcasting skills on shows like Countryfile and Animal Clinic,
Above all else, the unifying trait, he notes, is the supreme happiness of everyone he meets.
“I think so many of us dream of breaking free from the manic expectation in society,” he begins, passionately. “Now, more than ever, people are trying to earn enough money to be able to pay their mortgage or pay their rent and then have enough money to pay for the latest technology.”
He adds: “I’ve got this real problem with planned