Benedict Allen age 57 is an explorer who until a few days ago was lost in the jungle. The intrepid explorer, who usually lives in Prague with his wife Lenka and three children Natalya, Freddie and Beatrice was dropped into the jungle for his latest adventure on the 26th October.
Allen is a writer, traveller and adventurer famed for meeting local people and learning survival tips from them that are relevant in the local habitats. He doesn’t take phones, GPS or satellite systems with him. He is famous for immersing himself fully among the indigenous people. He has written ten books covering different journeys, completed six BBC TV series and other series for National Geographic TV, The History Channel and Channel Five.
Allen uses a hand held camera rather than a film crew and his way of filming and exploring have allowed millions of people to see truly remote landscapes and peoples.
Looking at Benedict Allen’s website he says on the home page that he hopes that, if people read it, “it would in some way encourage you if you are facing challenges nearer at hand, whether at work, school or at home. Nowadays we tend to think that our planet is fully explored, but of course we understand very little about the world even at our doorstep”. Just looking at the website gives us an in depth look at what drives him to his challenges. He has taken part in local initiation ceremonies so that he starts to understand how the tribes work. He says that not having the back up of phones and satellites enable him to fully feel how the tribes work. If he had the safety mechanisms he says that he would always know he had a way out and without them he can genuinely immerse himself in their local cultures and traditions.
Previous trips by Allen have included:
- A six hundred mile crossing of the remote North East Amazon when he was only 22-23.
- The first recorded crossing of the central Mountain Range of Papua New Guinea.
- The first known crossing of the Amazon Basin at its widest.
- Making contact with two threatened communities, the Yaifo and Obini tribes.
- The first documented journey covering the length of the 1000 mile Nabib Desert.
- A 1000 mile lone crossing of the Gobi Desert.
- A thousand kilometre trek with a dog-team through the Russian Far East.
He is one of today’s most respected and inspirational explorers. When you read stories about him you get to understand the real man and the strength of character he has. It has been said that he had to sew up his own chest wound using a boot mending kit with no anaesthetic and he had to kill and eat his own dog just to survive. On one expedition he suffered a harrowing initiation ceremony where he suffered scarring and beating. He has had malaria on numerous occasions. These are stories that you would think could only possibly happen in films or on TV.
On his latest expedition he planned to return to a previous area he had travelled and to make contact once again with the Yaifo tribe. Allen spent three days with them after trekking for ten days through the jungle but then apparently ran into trouble when he was trying to make his way back to civilisation. Local tribes were warring with bows and arrows and turned the region into a war zone. Allen was hampered by torrential rain and an attack of Malaria. A local tribe found him and he stayed with them as he was completely dehydrated and suffering the ravages of malaria.
Whilst Allen was suffering in the jungle, his wife had started to set up a search for him. He had been due to return and after several days went by and there was no sight of him she reported him as missing. Some members of the tribe where Benedict was struggling against his illness walked over 30 miles to find a village with a solitary mobile phone and they managed to make contact with the outside world. From here the search party was sent to try and find him. A helicopter funded by the Daily Mail eventually managed to find him and return him to civilisation. When asked if he would do it again he said “It is difficult to say I won’t do it again and not cross my fingers. I guess boys will always be boys and explorers will always be explorers”
Great news that he has been found and is in relatively good health considering what he has been through. I am sure it won’t be long before a film is made about the exploits of what actually happened in the jungle. Not quite “I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here”.