With his boundless curiosity, Ben Fogle has become one of the one of the greatest adventurers of his generation. The ocean is key to his next challenge.
What drives someone to climb Everest? To race to the South Pole, trek the Black Cat Trail of Papua New Guinea or row across the Atlantic? Author and television presenter Ben Fogle has done all of these – and far more besides. “Curiosity and the unknown,” says Fogle. “While much of the world had been explored and mapped, we as individuals have so much to discover. Curiosity is the most important attribute any of us can have – it drives ambition.”
It was this combination of curiosity and drive which led Fogle to realise his boyhood dream of climbing Everest, which he succeeded in last year. “For me, the greatest wealth I can accumulate is experience, not financial… I like the idea of confronting fears and disrupting conformity and comfort.”
The father of two spent much of his childhood in the wilds of the Canadian lakes, but it was his two years at university in Costa Rica, with its “smouldering volcanoes and incredible wildlife,” which cemented his resolve to build a career of exploring. “It was there that I decided I would embrace a life of excitement and adventure,” he says.
Having travelled South America extensively, one of Fogle’s favourite places in the world is Patagonia, where he recommends embracing the snow and ice – something he had to do in 2009 when he raced 500 miles across Antarctica to the South Pole. “So few people ever visit; you can feel and taste the remoteness and solitude in the wind.”
Are there any challenges left for Fogle? “I’d like to sail the world – my ultimate dream would be [to compete in] the Vendée Globe – I think it’s the ultimate challenge,” he says. “We only have one life. We might as well live it to the fullest. I have always lived to add life to my days not days to my life.”