Ben Fogle on New Lives In The Wild

The Castaway star chats about munching on rattlesnake and possum, plus paddling under collapsing glaciers in a dinghy, while filming his new show

Filmed in the nooks and crannies of the globe, Ben Fogle: New Lives in The Wild offers a snapshot into the lifestyles of people who give up the urban rat race for the secluded outdoors.


Travelling through New Zealand, Australia, Texas and Alaska, Ben meets brave individuals living an ‘alternative lifestyle’ on desert islands and glacial fjords and has his own Into the Wild experience, without the sad ending…

What should we expect from the new show?

The new show takes me around the world to some of the wildest, most isolated places to meet people who have given up urban life for the wild. In some ways it is a personal journey in search of my own wild paradise.

What is an alternative lifestyle?

An alternative lifestyle is one that turns your existing lifestyle on its head. In the case of the families and individuals that I met it often meant ‘leaving the grid’ by severing electricity, running water and gas, but also ‘leaving society’ by living off the transport infrastructure. To get to my New Zealand family required a three-day walk.

What’s the remotest and most obscure place you visit?

The family in New Zealand were probably the most remote living near Milford Sound on the South Island.

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Did you get into any bizarre situations in these remote locations?

I had to catch, kill and then eat a rattlesnake in Texas and a possum in New Zealand. Paddling beneath a calving glacier in a tiny dinghy in Alaska was pretty ludicrous, too.

If the UK went into technological melt-down, where would you go?

I have often wondered where I would go if London were ever under attack and it would invariably be to the Outer Hebrides on the Western Isles, where I spent a year for Castaway, 13 years ago. I tried to buy the island last year.

Which of the lifestyles you discovered on the show would you actually be tempted to actually adopt?

Restoration Island in the Coral seas on Australia’s northeast coast was beautiful. It was like stepping into [a scene from] Robinson Crusoe. It really was an island paradise with bountiful ocean and white sandy beaches but as with all the places I went there are still hardships and difficulties. The grass is always greener.

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What benefits are there from living away from throbbing cities?

Life is so much more simple. Modern lives have become so complicated. We are bombarded with information each day. Technology was supposed to make life easier but I think in some ways it has complicated it. I love the wild.

Are the people you visited on the show happier than city folk?

The one thing that united them all was happiness. They too had worries but ultimately they were all content, happy people who had realised their dream. How many of us can say that?

Where’s your favourite place on earth?

Home, but that is probably a boring answer. I love the ocean. Anywhere near the ocean will do. Preferably the Atlantic Ocean.

What’s your best travel advice?

Immerse yourself with locals. It’s the only real way to get to know somewhere.

Ben Fogle: New Lives In The Wild airs at 9pm on Monday 22 April, on Channel 5


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