Adventurer Ben Fogle gets a taste of extreme escapism in this brand new series meeting those who have turned their backs on the daily grind. Each week, Ben spends time in one of the world’s most remote locations, meeting the people who now inhabit these inhospitable corners of the planet after leaving their ordinary lives behind. Our intrepid guide also wonders whether these extraordinary individuals and their incredible experiences might tempt him to move his own family out of London and away from the comforts of the city. Is it daring or downright crazy? Ben wants to discover the truth about life in tough, harsh conditions, where doing battle with Mother Nature is a daily reality.
Ben is much closer to home than usual - he's in rural Oxfordshire with a multi-generational family. Ben learns about the obstacles the family have overcome and how they've spent two decades honing their skills and living off the land.
Ben Fogle joins a family in a mountainside yurt in Alaska.
Ben revisits Emma, who lives a completely organic and off-grid life in an overgrown Welsh woodland, and has managed to make herself completely independent from the outside world. Emma reveals how she has needed to adapt her lifestyle as she has got older, and introduces the others who have joined her. Ben helps them to construct a communal mud hut and learns about the building's spiritual purpose.
Ben journeys to Central America to live with Ian Usher, a 49-year-old British former dump-truck driver who sold 'his life' on eBay and bought a tiny island off the coast of Panama for £30,000.
Ben journeys to southeast Asia to live with 31-year-old former city financier Jon Watkinson in his hand-made bamboo hut on a hidden jungle island on the Mekong river in Laos.
For the first time on New Lives in the Wild, Ben heads to Africa and the deep desert sand dunes of Namibia. He lives with 50-year-old Gideon David and his young family in the largest conservation area on the continent. Gideon is a master bushman who quit a city career in life insurance for the dry and dusty desert. Ben embraces the harsh and relentless work of farm life in temperatures pushing 40 degrees. He tends over 150 animals, repairs baboon damage to water pipes and even learns how to castrate sheep with his teeth! Ben also witnesses the reality of life when one has to think about raising children in these conditions, from hand-washing nappies to learning vital desert survival skills and hunting and eating oryx.
Ben is no stranger to remote parts, but this trip to Alaska will test him to the limit. His only access to his hostsʼ home is via bush plane. If he were to walk, the journey would take ten days and would take him right through grizzly bear country. Ben joins married couple Mike and Fran Turner, who welcome him into their simple, self-built log cabin. He discovers how they have created a self-sufficient lifestyle by working the land and trapping the animals around them. Despite battling against forest fires in the summer and freezing conditions in the winter, the family very rarely venture back into civilisation. Ben takes every opportunity to get stuck into forest survival, battling mosquitoes and learning to cope with 24-hour daylight. The new river season is beginning and there is heavy labour involved. Deep in the woods, he chops trees, learns about trapping and deadly forest fires, feeds fish guts to the plants and even eats bear.
Ben returns to where his own personal adventures began.
Ben journeys to the foothills of the Indian Himalayas to live with former fighter pilot, 69- year-old Steve Lall. Steve turned his back on high society, instead opting for a simple farmer’s life in the mountains. He has fought for decades to protect his tiny private wilderness. Ben joins this mountain-dwelling renegade and his family in their remote, isolated home, a steep 2km climb from the nearest road. He gets hands-on with their harsh subsistence lifestyle, from ploughing with buffalo, chasing monkeys and human intruders, to the more surreal grave digging and naked meditation. Ben discovers that the hardships of this remote location are also the key to its beauty.
Ben travels to Cambodia to live with a fellow Brit who is raising his own castaway tribe on a tropical island. Ben sleeps in a hammock, drinks rainwater and experiences how fragile life is for this family on their tiny island.
Jeff, Rose and their daughters are adventurous off-gridders.
Ben meets a nomadic couple in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains.
Ben meets a 30-year-old British vet who swapped her job in Newcastle to provide medical care to some of the island's three million street dogs.
In this episode, Ben heads back to the stunning Saharan landscape of Morocco.
Ben travels to get a crash course in felling trees and the art of charcoal making.
Ben visits an ex-photographer who lives an isolated life in the wilds of Oregon, harvesting weeds for nutrition. There, Ben experiences a Native American-inspired sweat lodge.
Ben meets a couple who have made their home on a floating island they have built themselves which sits in the aptly named Freedom Cove on Canada's west coast.
Ben travels to a remote island to live with a former Sydney businessman.
French-Canadian Julien lives in a remote Buddhist monastery in the jungle-mountains of Thailand, far off any conventional map. Ben learns how and why this former teenage student from the West stripped away all complications of a modern life for a primitive Eastern and religious existence, and how this choice affected his family.
Judith rejected a modern way of life for one close to nature.
Ben meets former war correspondent Julius Strauss and his Estonian wife Kristin, the former bureau chief at Reuters. They gave up successful careers as journalists in Europe for a new life as grizzly bear guides in the Selkirk Mountains.
Ben travels to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the USA to meet Mike Basich, a snowboarder who left the world of professional sport behind to reconnect with nature and pursue a quieter life. Ben joins him in his extraordinary hand-built log cabin and follows him as he embarks on a life changing project.
Ben meets Lucy, who left Britain to start a new life with her husband Tim on New Zealand's north island. They now live with their two daughters in a yurt beside a river in the middle of 25 acres of woodland they have transformed into a farm. Ben discovers how the forest provides the family with everything they need, getting a taste of their daily routine of chopping wood and foraging for wild foods. He also discovers how the couple are providing their children with an alternative education and the campaign of activism Lucy has embarked on from their wilderness home.
In this opening episode, Ben journeys to the swamplands of south Georgia in the USA, to live with 64-year-old Colbert, a former city fat cat earning big bucks in the world of high finance, who has turned Tarzan. Colbert now lives in his hand-built wooden cabin, totally off the grid and with no toilet – a far cry from the luxurious pad he used to own. From Colbert, Ben learns some of the vital skills needed to survive in this dangerous backwater, including skinning road-kill, spearing frogs, drinking swamp water and building a human nest. He also discovers that his host is a sex guru! Facing the dangers of living in the wild, humidity and mosquitoes, Ben embraces what it is like to truly live alone in one of the biggest swamps in North America.
As one of the world's most in-demand sporting coaches, 43-year-old Nikola Boric once travelled the world, welcomed everywhere he went. Now, he lives in a wooden cabin without electricity, water or heating, with just some pigs and goats for company. Experiencing Nikola's new life in the woods above the village of Kokocak on the edge of Papuk Nature Park, Ben tries to understand what drove Nikola to make a sudden decision to quit everything and retire to such a forgotten corner of the world, finding a new life of purity and self-sufficiency away from mainstream society.