Singur și gol, 60 de zile pe o insulă din Fiji. Asta e povestea programului Supraviețuire extremă cu Ed Stafford care va fi difuzat în fiecare marți, de la ora 21.00, din 15 octombrie, pe Discovery Channel. Ați mai citit despre Stafford pe acest blog, e The Real One! Cu el a fost mai simplu să supraviețuiesc decât cu Bear Grylls, deoarece nu m-am deplasat decât până la Otopeni! Cum ne-am întâlnit? Extrem de simplu, prin bunăvoința celor de la Discovery Channel, care m-au anunțat din timp că va sosi și că putem face un interviu. I-am pus un teanc de printuri în brațe puștoaicei care a fost în practică la FHM, Anca Alexe, rugând-o să pregătească niște întrebări, după care mi-am sacrificat o dimineață din concediul meu de odihnă și m-am repezit la întâlnire!
Iată interviul în original (varianta tradusă a apărut în FHM de septembrie):
FHM: What made you choose Romania for your next adventure?
Ed Stafford: At the end of the day, what I’m looking for at the moment is any environment where I can get to… somewhere remote where I can demonstrate survival skills; clearly, this has led to a new survival series, I can’t speak specifically about that series, but Romania is one of the locations where I’ve been able to find an environment where I can get dropped in the middle of nowhere, not come into contact with anybody else and face some challenges that I have to face in a different environment. And there were new challenges, as well, you know, after tropical rain forests, the Amazon, an uninhabited tropical island… the mountains in Romania are very different. You’ve got the differences, as in it being very cold at night and bears and wolves… different types of dangers, I suppose.
What will be the biggest dangers in Romania? Bears, wolves, Dracula…
I was worried about bears. I managed to catch a deer, and when I was making the meat and hanging it up because I needed to cure it so it wouldn’t go off, I’d seen tracks of bears and the locals I met in Romania had told me that I need to be really careful about bears, and they were serious about that.
When I decided to walk the Amazon, everyone had always told me that I was crazy to walk in without a shotgun, because of jaguars. I thought, come on, we’ll be really lucky if we even see a glimpse of a jaguar disappearing into the forest, and I slightly feel the same way with bears. I’m making a lot of noise and crashing about, I’ve got the fire going… a bear’s not going to come anywhere near me, really, it will probably disappear quickly. In theory, bears are a danger, but I try not to overestimate them. The risks are pretty small.
Your mother has been very supportive of your adventures, but has she told you it’s about time to find a proper job, find yourself a good woman and settle down?
She stopped saying that to me after I walked the Amazon, actually. Up until that point, when I was doing expeditions, a lot of people kept telling me it’s time to settle down and get a proper job, but when they heard about me writing a book, they started to go, ‘okay, it’s a career now, we understand’. When I was doing expeditions I’d come back from those £50k in debt, but now with these opportunities with Discovery Channel, it’s a paid job, there’s a salary.
There’s no routine in your job!
It’s a lovely job, because it’s different every day, there’s a new adventure every day, and because of the type of TV that I’m making, it’s not scripted. Whatever happens, happens. I’m really happy with that. For the other side of your question, isn’t it time to settle down and have a family… I have family and we’re very happy. I’ve got a fiancée, and she’s got kids… you can marry the whole thing together.
What goes through your mind when you’re facing a deadly viper in the jungle?
Specifically, when you’re facing something that’s deadly, your senses are heightened immediately, the adrenalin starts pumping and every single bit of focus is on dealing with that situation and making sure that it doesn’t cause you any harm. From a wider perspective, knowing that the risk of getting bitten and envenomated by a viper is very low, I think that some of the risks we took in the Amazon to get that expedition done were often unacceptable, I would say. There was one section where we’d run out of money and there was this huge meander on the Amazon river, and we’d be walking down the edge of the river normally, but it was costing a lot of money to walk along the edge of the river, being behind the local guides, we came into a town where there was higher accommodation and food, so we’d run out of money completely. So we decided to head straight into the jungle, away from the river, so that we’d be spending less money, but it was 350 km of walking before we could get back to the edge of the river, which meant three months of walking through the jungle. If during these three months of walking straight through the jungle, you get bitten by a viper, then it’s goodbye. The risks were unacceptable and we knew that, and it’s weird looking back on it. Cho was an amazing expedition partner, because he has the same mentality as me: if we die, we die. But I think you need to have that, actually, because if you spend every day going to bed worried about what might happen tomorrow, you’re not going to have a good adventure. We said we’d do this now, let’s just do it.
Why did they call you Spice Girl in the army?
Where did that come from?! I got two earring holes in my ear… and I had a girlfriend in the army who was a fashion buyer and she bought me a lot of clothes, and she made me look quite fashionable, and in the British army, all the other officers were quite traditional and had normal jumpers and trousers, but I was looking different in my nylon fashionable clothes, and someone said to me, ‘You look like a fucking Spice Girl!’
Is it difficult to adapt back to your normal life at home when you come from an adventure?
Sometimes. When I came back from the Amazon, I was expecting it to be difficult, and it wasn’t at all, actually. It was incredibly easy; I came back to a wave of positivity. Routine-wise there was no difficulty at all, but mentally, there’s definite fallout from whatever you do and it’s very different depending on what you do. The most recent and the most relevant is the uninhabited Fijian island, after being there for 60 days with nobody to speak to, with every thought internalized and having no one to bounce off in terms of being able to reassure yourself and getting back to your normal track.
In the film Castaway, there’s a character named Wilson, who is actually a ball. Did you need to have a friend like Wilson when you were… Naked Castaway?
I had a kind of rugby ball, called it Gilbert, but I didn’t speak to it! I think my equivalent was the camera, at the end of the day, I was still filming, and to hold a camera there, it just becomes your best friend. I remember sometimes being in the worst mood and for the TV programme to be interesting I need to record my lows as much as I need to record my highs, so I’d get the camera and really tried to convey how really fucking down or depressed or sad I was. And as I’m talking to my little best friend, I start getting happy again as I’m speaking. I’ve watched the footage back and you can just see my mood lift as I start communicating to this stupid camera, so it was definitely my Wilson, I always felt like sharing the whole experience with the world.
What was the most horrifying thing you ever saw?
City of London haha! The only time I thought I was going to get killed was when we were trying to get to a very isolated village in the Amazon. There’s a radio communication system between all the heads of the villages and we call the head of this one and they said that if a white person comes through they’ll kill them immediately. We were trying to sneak down these islands in the middle of the river and Cho, who was my expedition partner in the Amazon, was downstream on one of these islands and he said, ‘Look behind you!’. I look behind me and there are five dugout canoes full of Indians, all with bows and arrows drawn and all the women had machetes. We’d had that death threat, that if a white person comes through we’ll kill him immediately – which is because they’ve had a lot of bloodshed and a lot of people attacking them, they’re very skeptical about people coming through their land, they are defending themselves and their way of life, and rightly so. There was also this rumor that all white people are called ‘face peeler’ which means that they’ll come into their villages at night and kill people and steal their body parts and sell them. It was a myth, but a myth born out of a genuine theory of outsiders. In general, every time I’d come into a community I’d have to explain myself and try to allay people’s fears before they could be acceptant. They don’t have much communication with the outside world and they live quite defensively all the time.
There is a picture of you with the Queen on Twitter. What did Her Majesty say to you?
Not much, actually. Ray Mears, who is a British survival guy and who was standing next to me, had this really boring story about some hobo traveler who visited the palace in 1938 or something. So he snowballed the Queen and the Queen just said ‘It’s very nice to meet you’ to me and went on to somebody else.
Were you dressed properly or like a Spice Girl?
I was dressed properly. I did get caught in a photograph with my hand in my pocket, so… It was an honor, actually. It was 100 years since the Scott expedition set out from the South Pole. They invited lots of explorers to the palace, so I got to meet the Queen, it was a brilliant day.
Do you have any idols among the other explorers that you’ve read about?
Yes, there are lots of people I admire, like Mike Horn, who is South African. There’s this explorer’s club called the Cordon Rouge club. I’ve met some amazing people through that club and heard some amazing stories. There are lots of incredible people in that club. Mike has been incredibly kind to me, we sit on the same board of trustees and we’ve been handing money out to young expeditioners now and he’s always been an idol of mine and having someone like him behind me has been an honor.
What should your book and documentaries inspire people to do?
If you just follow mainstream advice and stay in school and get good grades, a good job and a nice family, you could find yourself in a nice retirement home before you know it, playing golf, without ever having broken outside of the norm. We have such a small amount of time in this world and it just terrifies me that you could just be one of those millions of people going about their everyday business. Yes, life is precious, you don’t want to be reckless, but you can’t wrap yourself in cotton wool to such an extent that you’re afraid of living and I think it’s so important to experience life, without necessarily taking it to extremes, but I feel like I’ve had a lifetime’s worth of adventures in two years’ time and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world because every one of them makes you grow as a person and helps you learn and makes you more able to deal with any situation. It’s important to take risks sometimes because if you don’t push the boundaries, you don’t grow as a person.
Why is there so much mud on your hands?
It’s not mud. If you mix the resin from spruce trees and charcoal you can make this glue, and I was just in the mountains here and I needed to mend together a pot, and this glue works really well. I’ve had a shower and a bath, but I can’t get it off.
Despre Ed Stafford
Supraviețuire extremă cu Ed Stafford este al doilea program TV al lui Ed pentru Discovery Channel. Fostul căpitan din armata Marii Britanii a ajuns faimos în întreaga lume în august 2008, când a devenit primul om care a reuşit să parcurgă integral traseul fluviului Amazon, mergând pe jos. A avut nevoie de doi ani şi jumătate pentru a duce la bun sfârşit această călătorie istovitoare de peste 6400 km, care l-a purtat de pe piscurile din Peru ale Anzilor până pe coasta Atlanticului, în Brazilia.
Ed a filmat singur întreaga expediţie, iar materialele respective au fost ulterior folosite pentru programul Discovery Channel intitulat Amazonul parcurs la pas.
Cum s-au derulat filmările:
• Un ajutor numit Steve a fost instalat în apropiere, pe Insula Komo. El venea o dată pe săptămână ca să aducă baterii noi şi să le ia pe cele consumate, împreună cu materialele filmate de Ed. Schimbul se făcea prin intermediu unei cutii poştale, astfel încât Steve nu a luat niciodată legătura direct cu Ed, în toată perioada în care acesta a stat pe insulă.
• Ed avea un telefon prin satelit, cu care putea să ia direct legătura cu Steve, în caz de urgenţă.
• În plus, Ed avea un dispozitiv de urmărire prin satelit, cu un buton pe care trebuia să îl declanşeze o dată pe zi, astfel încât echipa să ştie că totul e în regulă. În cazul în care Ed nu ar fi apăsat pe buton într-o zi, echipa urma să recurgă la planurile de urgenţă special concepute.
• Înainte de a pune piciorul pe insulă, Ed a petrecut 3 zile pregătindu-se cu tribul Komo. Localnicii i-au explicat diverse amănunte, ca de pildă ce lemne sunt mai bune pentru făcut focul. În acele 3 zile nu au stat însă pe Insula Olorua. Prima dată când Ed vede acel loc este chiar ziua în care ajunge acolo pentru prima dată, adică prima zi a filmărilor pentru program.