Levison Wood: An adventurer walking the planet


Responsible Travel met up with Levison Wood? an intrepid explorer whose oyster is the world.

Levison Wood is a British explorer, writer and photographer. His work has featured around the world. Wood has recently returned from walking the length of the Himalayas, a six-month journey of over 1,700 miles from Afghanistan to Bhutan, which was televised on Channel 4 as a five part documentary series, airing throughout January 2016. His accompanying book Walking The Himalayas has been published across the globe. Levison also walked the length of the river Nile – an expedition of 4,000 miles that took nine months and was also documented to critical acclaim. His book Walking the Nile was a Sunday Times bestseller. Lev’s most recent expedition Walking The Americas from Mexico to Colombia aired on Channel 4 as a 4 x 60′ series in January 2017, with his accompanying book due to be published on February 23rd 2017. His work has taken him around the world leading expeditions on five continents and he is an elected Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club.

Harvest blanketed by thick fog – credit Ace the Himalaya

Where’s home?
I live in Hampton Court, London. It’s a nice combination of being far enough away from the madness but close enough to commute into town. Also it’s right next to the river and Bushy Park which is glorious.

What’s your first ever travel memory?
A holiday to Greece with my parents when I was four or five. I remember having to learn to ask the Greek shopkeeper for some sweets in Greek.

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Describe yourself in three words?
Adventurous, risk-taker, creative.

What inspired you to start travelling?
I always wanted to see the world with my own eyes and form my own opinions. I read lots of books about explorers and history which I loved.

What do you dream of for our world in the future?
That we realize just how fragile our environment is and that we stop being selfish, that the population will steady out – or even hopefully drop, so that nature can recover a bit. If we don’t then basically our children will lead a pretty tragic life.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced on a journey?
Overcoming the death of a companion. A journalist called Matt Power came to write about me and collapsed and died while in the remote African bush in Uganda.

Where’s the best place you’ve woken up?
I can mention a thousand places, but perhaps on a mountainside in Nepal to the sound of a cockerel.

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Pioneer Expeditions

Is there one person you’ve met who you feel you were so lucky to connect with?
Again – a thousand people, but I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some pretty amazing humans, from the Dalai Lama to George Clooney but it’s my close friends that I feel luckiest about.

Has anyone ever told you that you won’t make it?
Ha, plenty of times. My boss in the army thought I was mad for leaving in the midst of a recession. I told him I’d be fine.

Tell us about a time when you felt like walking away from an adventure?
The only time I’ve walked away from an adventure was when I tried to cycle from Madrid to Gibraltar. It was January 2005 and didn’t stop raining. I was poor and slept at the roadside and didn’t eat for days. Eventually I got arrested by the Spanish police who thought I was a tramp and spent a night in a homeless shelter. After that I gave up cycling and went to Morocco instead where the weather was better.

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