British adventurer and host of the popular adventure show “Into the Wild”, Bear Grylls first came to India when he was just 18. Since then he has made various visits to India and travelled all through the mountains in Northern India. Over the years, he says much has changed over the years, but the warmth and kindness of the Indian people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and south superstar Rajinikanth have joined Grylls in the show while he took an expedition in the country. Actor Akshay Kumar has recently shared a teaser on his social media handle, confirming that he is going to be the next Indian personality to feature in the show.
In an exclusive interview with IANSlife, Grylls, who has been roped in as the global brand ambassador of Swiss watch brand Luminox, expresses his love for India, his best expedition in the country, besides sharing his travel essentials and how he keeps himself motivated to fight all odds. Excerpts:
What do you like the most about India? How is your connection with the country?
Grylls: I first came to India aged 18 and trekked and travelled all through the mountains in Northern India. Much has changed over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the wonderful warmth and kindness of the Indian people. I was so happy to see that warmth and strong spirit still so strong throughout the country when we have filmed here over the last two years. India has always been a country I love so much, not only for the remarkable wildernesses but above all always for the people.
The most difficult expedition you took in India and the one you would like to take?
Grylls: Probably climbing in some of the remote parts of Sikkim. India has so many wild and such spectacular corners of the country and there is always something special about hill people. There is often a connection and respect for the mountains that brings people together. I have always loved that.
How does your family cope up with what you do?
Grylls: Considering my close ties with adventure, my family has also embraced it. We love escaping to our small island hideaway in North Wales – this really is where I feel most at home. We have no mains electricity or water and run everything totally off-grid, but we love it. Our three boys, Shara and I are happier there than anywhere else on earth – adventure and solitude mixed with fun and family. We dive, train, paraglide and climb. It’s a very special place.
If you have to pick five things before going on an expedition, what would it be?
Grylls: A good knife is number one. With it, you can then make shelter, fire, a natural roof and mattress. You can also create traps, hunt food and then with fire, you can boil water and burn animal dung to keep mosquitos away.
In truth, beyond a knife, what will serve you the best on a night in the woods is the mindset of a survivor and choosing a strong attitude. In the wild, positivity, resourcefulness, courage, determination and a sense of humour are kings. And with dealing with other people, kindness and humility are the heart of how to build strong relationships.
What keeps you motivated?
Grylls: Adventure has been the driving force of my life ever since I can remember – from growing up climbing with my late dad, to being a Scout and then through my job with the British Special Forces as a combat survival specialist, climber and skydiver. The adventure has been the one constant through so much and it is always rooted in the endeavour, friendships, risk and resilience. My goal is always to do my best to inspire those values in young people in any way I can. That’s the mission.
You recently shot with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and are going to work with actor Akshay Kumar in your show “Into the Wild”. Tell us about it.
Grylls: It has been a huge privilege to adventure with all of these Indian icons, and what they all shared was a natural humility and warmth, as well as a love of the wild places of this world. The wild and adventure always brings people together and our goal was unified across all these episodes: to show how amazing India is and to show why we have to do all we can to protect our planet.
You recently collaborated with a watch brand. What impressed you about it?
Grylls: It’s incredibly important to me to work alongside world-class trusted partners and Luminox have proved that and more. I’ve been wearing Luminox since my early adventuring days, so it’s great to now be a part of the family.
The rugged watch range has been carefully crafted featuring multi-functional design and state of the art materials set to inspire and encourage the adventurer in everyone ï¿½ men and women, boys and girls, outdoor novices and experts.
Luminox has its self-powered Luminox Light Technology with other functions – rugged materials, a compass, walking speed scale, and more, has helped me and my team in survival situations.
What are you next working on?
Grylls: We will be coming back soon to India to film some more adventures with Indian superstars – I can’t wait. And I also am hoping to return to attend a rally and support the incredible Indian Scouts who are inspiring so many millions of young people to be able to learn about the wild and adventure. Scouting also helps young people learn so many key life skills. I love that, and it is part of why there has been such phenomenal growth in Indian Scouting in recent years.
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