Les Stroud is a documentary filmmaker and a survival expert, but prior to the release of the Survivorman show, few would have predicted that people would be so fascinated by a man simply living in the wild for a week or more.
Why is just surviving so interesting to us?
The answer is probably a combination of a few variables, but after speaking with Les, I believe that the greatest of these is our disconnection from the Earth. We live in these artificial environments that we have created out of concrete, brick, and steel. Our flesh very rarely touches the ground or the trees and if it does we consider ourselves dirty. The modern day definition of survival is making sure our weekly paycheck can cover our food, utilities, and household expenses. We are constantly balancing these equations in our head and it’s no wonder most people feel a little off. There is nothing natural about our present lifestyle and watching Les reminds us of what real Survival is all about.
We had the chance to interview Les and here are a few of the most memorable takeaways.
What can we do to reconnect to the earth?
“It takes 3 days.”
According to Les, it takes him 3 days in nature to feel that he’s reconnected. I bet most people would think that they could just go out into nature and feel connected within a few hours, and certainly the effects of being outdoors, even for a short amount of time, are scientifically proven to be profound; however I believe it would be overoptimistic to think that we could live is these concrete jungles for long periods of time and then take a walk in the forest and all is immediately cured. The mind and body need a bit of time to adjust. Think about those instances when you’ve taken a break from the gym, or school, or even work — did you return to the exact point you had left off, or did you need some time to get back into the flow? I’m guessing the latter, because we need time to assimilate and adapt.
“Walk on the ground barefoot.”
Les claims that this practise, also known as “earthing,” can not only help connect you to nature but is also a cure for jet lag. With all the pills and gadgets that claim to counter the negative effects of jet lag, walking barefoot on the grass seems overly simplistic — or so I thought. A quick Google search, however, will reveal a slew of articles and testimonials proclaiming the jet lag curing effects of simply walking barefoot on some grass or soil for a mere 20 minutes.
How close has Les come to dying during an episode?
When it comes to Les Stroud, nothing is boring or superficial. When asked what was the most dangerous situation he’s been in, you would expect him to tell you a story about the tigers of Bangladesh or a close encounter with a North American brown bear, but you would be wrong. He was in a car accident.
Les was driving in Mongolia when the driver lost control and the truck he was in rolled twice. He sustained a punctured lung, 2 broken ribs, and a shoulder injury. He mentions time slowing down when the truck began to roll and that ‘something’ — call it intuition or some divine presence — told him to move his head at a particular time; if he had not taken that advice, the Survivorman would not have survived.
To hear Les recount that chilling experience in his own words, click the Soundcloud link below or go to the Collective Evolution podcast page (The G and Coletti Show). We get into his unique meditation practice, earthing, and even his experience asking indigenous peoples about our modern way of life and where we went wrong.