Sunday Herald Sun - Escape
League of GENTLEMEN
Nick Cummins takes blokes on remote trips to learn to go rogue
Nick “Honey Badger” Cummins knows a thing or two about off-the-grid adventure and what it can do for your soul.
The former rugby international turned TV star just filmed the second series of Off the Grid with the Badger in Arnhem Land, starred in Channel 7’s SAS Australia series and runs a company called Rogue Gentlemen’s Club designed to help men navigate life by taking them away from it all on missions through remote Australia.
When you take men off the grid, what sort of changes do you see?
A lot of people have gone through a tough time – especially with Covid. Part of my aim is to get them to live life with a bit more spark.
Does being out in nature help your mental state?
For sure. It’s only really when you’re silent out there in nature that you realise how cluttered your mind is. Us blokes block ourselves off, but when we’re out in nature, we get our feet in the dirt, we give trees a hug. All tree huggers are welcome.
How are you liking living on the Gold Coast now?
I never know where I live. I bum around then I bugger off for an adventure. I don’t mind being a minimalist. I’m sleeping on a swag in my master bedroom.
Have you explored the Gold Coast hinterland?
Yeah, I love it. I grew up out in the bush in Beaudesert so any chance I could get I’d duck into the mountains around Tamborine to get lost in the rainforest.
How’d you take to Arnhem Land?
It’s a sacred, ancient place. There’s a wisdom to the world up there, I reckon – it’s raw, dangerous and beautiful.
How would you go surviving up there by yourself ?
Better than most. If I’m totally safe, I’m not as interested. I like that element of risk when you’re travelling – it makes you feel alive. You can’t just tap out any time you want. I learnt how to spear-fish with some Indigenous blokes. I got a fish, but I went to grab it and a little blacktip reef shark grabbed it right in front of me.
You carry a big knife with you on your show – does that help?
I see now why blokes who never leave the bitumen buy the biggest 4WDs of all.
What’s on your bucket-list of off-the-grid destinations here?
I want to see the northwest side of the Kimberley. It’s untouched wilderness. The west coast of Tasmania – no one’s seen a lot of it. You could spend a lifetime seeing the untouched spots of Australia and still only see two per cent of it.
What about overseas?
Everest. I’d love to get there – at least to base camp. North Korea – that’d be interesting. I could see myself in North Korea.
What’s the physical and mental benefits for men getting out into the bush on your missions?
There’s a process to doing everything together. It could be to get a fish for dinner. You have to kill it, clean it, gut it. A lot of blokes baulked at that. It teaches you not to waste anything, and the responsibility that comes with killing animals.
What tips would you give a bloke who’s not an athlete about getting off the grid?
A survivor doesn’t have to be a big strong unit, you don’t need a footie body – it’s about your mind. Anyone can do it.
We’ve had people from 16 to 60, and only a couple of athletes.
What’s the feedback you get from those who do it?
I get messages from their family saying how different they are now. The pressure gets to blokes. We don’t express ourselves. But out in the bush everyone becomes mates and we tell stories and they know everyone has their backs.
The second series of Off the Grid with the Badger – produced in partnership with outdoor retailer BCF – premieres in February on BCF’s Facebook channel. For more about the off-the-grid missions you can do with the Rogue Gentlemen’s Club, see roguegents.com.