He can often be found eating the type of stuff we step on: bugs, leaves, dirt, etc. He's also given himself an enema while "stranded" in the middle of the ocean on a bamboo raft, frequently chugs his own urine, and has even slept inside of a dead camel. A dead camel.
But Bear Grylls isn't under psychiatric care or locked up at some insane asylum. In fact, his unusual diet and unorthodox lodging is his bread and butter.
As the former star of Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild and current star of Discovery International's Ultimate Survivors, this English adventurer has managed to capitalize on his expert survival skills and turn them into a highly-marketable personal brand. From television to books to retail to philanthropy, Grylls does it all.
His latest television project, Get Out of Alive, is unscripted reality competition that premieres this summer on NBC.
"We basically take 20 people--10 couples--on an epic journey across mountains and rainforests for a month solid, carrying all of their gear on their back," Grylls tells New Times. "They're going to be busting their balls alongside me, living off whatever they find. They have no idea what they're going to have to go through."
Grylls is also busting his balls pushing a new line of heavy-duty inflatable boats, which he'll unveil today at the Miami International Boat Show.
"I've led expeditions all over the world in these boats," he says. "It's always been a dream to build and design one of our own, and we've done it. We're super psyched."
We asked our Twitter followers for questions for the survivalist. Grylls took some time off to answer those reader-submitted questions from his hotel room on South Beach, covering topics from sticking pipes up his "jacksie" to having sexual encounters in the jungle. Check out what he had to say after the cut.
New Times?: You once gave yourself an enema in the middle of the ocean on a bamboo raft; I can't imagine that being your first choice. How many survival tactics did you have to test before ultimately deciding, okay, an enema would totally keep me alive here for the next few days?
Grylls: It's from a story I knew of a British couple that had been sailing across the world, got hit by a whale and ended up in a life raft.
It was a mother, father and, I think, three kids. They caught turtles and lived off the all the turtle blood and meat, ran out of water, and drinking a mix of all of the turtle blood and rain water that was gather in the bottom of the raft but it was making them sick.
The mother was a nurse and knew that if she could get that fluid into their body through their backside, it'd hydrate them...
I hate that when you're watching these survivor shows, people are munching down on all this stuff and they're going, "Yummy! Great!'
There's nothing great about sticking a pipe full of fluids full of bird poo and blood up your jacksie (ass)."
Danny in Miami wants to know what your favorite national park is, and why?
The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, in the U.K.
For me, it holds real power and memory. I've worked harder than I probably ever worked anywhere in my life those mountains over many months. It's a real kind of spiritual home wherever I'm having a hard time in life.
A different Danny in Miami asks, have you ever failed at trying to make it out of a survival scenario while filming one of the shows and had to call for rescue during an episode? If so, how many times?
I got very injured in the Canadian Rockies once and we had to be helicoptered out to hospital. I was very lucky to not have been killed that day. I was hit by a falling camera in a big metal housing at 50-miles-per-hour down a steep snow-ice space, smashed into my leg.
They said if it were two inches to the left, it would've taken my head off and killed me.
From Tristan in Miami: Do you enjoy hugs?
Hugs? Yeah, it's the best thing in the world.
I've got three young boys and there's nothing in the natural world--no mountain, no nothing--that compares to getting home after you've busted your balls on some adventure and getting hugs from the boys. It's a big driving force in my life.
Joseph in Wisconsin asks, have you ever met a bear with a grill?
(Laughs). No, but I'm ever hopeful.
Maria in Miami wants to know if you've ever had a sexual encounter with a lady of the jungle?
I have, but it's not for repeating. And it was with my wife!
And finally, Alex from Miami Beach wants to know -- and this one is a little kinky -- do you ever drink urine in your spare time?
No. But if I had a dollar for every time somebody offered me a pint of urine at a bar, I wouldn't be filming any TV shows.
I drink it for survival purposes only. Although there are a few weirdos who do it for fun, but I'm definitely not in that category.
Meet Bear Grylls on Thursday, February 14 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Miami International Boat Show (Miami Beach Convention Center; 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach).
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