Tag Archives: exploration

inspire: life lessons from the wilderness

Inspire: Life Lessons From The Wilderness by Ben Fogle

From Audible:

The latest adventure from best-selling author Ben Fogle explores what we can learn from nature about living well and living wild. 

What can rowing across the Atlantic teach us about boredom and about patience? Can coming down from Everest take more resilience than climbing up in the first place? How can the isolation of the South Pole highlight what’s most important? And how can we tap into the same reflective state in our daily lives? 

Writing during the unprecedented period of the coronavirus pandemic and drawing on a wealth of personal stories, Ben reflects on the significance of nature to all our lives and shows us how we can benefit from living a little more wild. Drawing on his greatest adventures, he shares what his time spent in the wilderness has taught him about life. Ranging across seas, icecaps, jungles and deserts, Ben’s stories are filled with wonder and struggle, with animals, adventure, wilderness, friendships, unexpected acts of kindness and heroism, and are bursting with inspiration directly from nature. Ben’s epic stories reveal a new side to his adventures and show how everyone can find meaning in the wilderness, even if it’s just outside their front door. 

Full of exciting adventures and practical guidance, this primer on positivity is a story about overcoming obstacles, surpassing your expectations and inspiring your journey of adventure. 

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I must confess that I knew very little about Ben Fogle before I read this. I knew he rose to prominence because of the BBC series Castaway and that he had done some TV presenting including Countryfile. I was totally unaware of the amount of TV he has done though and had no idea of his achievements by rowing the Atlantic, taking part in the Marathon Des Sables or climbing Mount Everest.

Anytime I’ve seen him on TV I’ve liked his laid back style and lack of arrogance. On TV he comes across as confident and happy so it was interesting that he has fought against imposter syndrome and self esteem issues for most of his life. This is a very honest book and probably wouldn’t have been written only for the Covid19 lockdown.

I particularly enjoyed the second half of the book from when he talked about the Wild Folk. This was also my favourite chapter of the book and I was pleased to see Mark Boyle get a mention too. I didn’t know of the TV series that he made and will be making an effort to get a chance to watch it.

I’m not really sure about the title of the book. I don’t really think it’s written to inspire and it sounds a lot more pretentious than it is. The secondary title “Life Lessons From the Wilderness” is much more accurate and the biggest lesson for me was the impact of taking yourself away from the stresses of modern life, even for shorter periods of time. I’ve found the benefits of this recently myself.

The book is also read by Fogle and unlike Steve Backshall’s audiobook this time it worked really well. The writing styles and personalities of the two are very dissimilar though.

Header image source: fossbytes.com

expedition

Expedition by Steve Backshall

From Audible:

Shine a light into the unknown.

There are still dark corners of our planet that are yet to be explored. In this remarkable book, Steve Backshall offers an unflinching account of his adventures into these uncharted territories around the globe, in search of world firsts. Each location brings its own epic challenges – whether it’s the first climb of an arctic ice fall in Greenland, the first recorded navigation of a South American river, or the first exploration of the world’s longest cave system in Mexico. But all of them represent new tests of the limits of human endeavour. 

Accompanying a major 10-part series on BBC and Dave, Expedition is a breathtaking journey into the unknown, and a brilliantly written celebration of the pleasures of genuine discovery.

My Rating: ⭐⭐

I had high hopes for this thinking that hearing the book narrated by Steve himself would bring a sense of authenticity to the story and the experiences within it. However, his constant, breathless excitement and constant over exaggeration of even the smallest happenings soon wore out. The quality of the writing is pretty poor and the narration does nothing to help it. He must have set a personal target to use every over the top metaphor possible and exaggerate every description to the nth degree. Nothing was just large, it was gigantic and so on with over descriptive depictions of scenery and conditions on a continual loop. Rather than create excitement it became bland and uninteresting.

I made it through 8 of the 10 expeditions and barely remember anything of them. I do believe that they were true adventures but trying to explore undiscovered places on the modern Earth is surprisingly uninteresting when described in this book. The book was also a BBC TV series and it was probably better in film than print.

A constant irritation was his references to his family, how much he was missing them and how guilty he was that his son was missing him at the very beginning of his life. In one freak kayak accident he almost dies in a rapid. His lamentations about the possible effect of his death made me quite angry. Why the hell expose himself to these dangers and choose to leave home on these extended expeditions if he was worried about the effect on his family! Selfishness of the highest order and absolutely no right to then complain about it.

Header image source: fossbytes.com