Explorer Levison Wood: ‘After my next big trip, I think I’ll go on a wife hunt’ | Money



At home, I rise at about 7.30am, after eight hours’ sleep and at least two snoozes, but when I’m travelling, I rarely spend two nights in the same bed. I might wake in a shepherd’s hut or a cave; last week, I woke in the Jordanian desert and discovered hyena tracks nearby. I’ve had wolves, leopards and elephants loitering, and once woke up with a snake in my tent. By nightfall, I’m usually so exhausted that I spark out by 11.30pm.


My diet depends on my location. I’ve eaten bush rat in Uganda and maggot stew in South Sudan, and can easily lose 10kg during a long expedition. If I’m in England, I try to stick to three square meals, ideally smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast, mozzarella and avocado salad for lunch, then curry for dinner. I’ll have the occasional burger, but every few months I do a vegan detox week: it’s not much fun, but I feel great at the end of it.


There’s no average day on an expedition, but if I’m writing at home, I’m very disciplined. I’ll aim for 3,000 words a day from 9am to 5pm, punctuated by a lunchtime walk. I remove any distractions: no phone, no internet. My mantra is, “Write something – it’s better than nothing,” and if I get cabin fever, I’ll decamp to a local pub or cafe. On trips, which can last six months with no days off, I keep journals, organise daily logistics and sort visa issues. It’s intense and I love it, but I’ve not had a holiday for five years (although my mother says my life is one big holiday).


It’s a tricky balancing act keeping in touch with people, and the wedding and party invites are a bit sparse. I don’t have a significant other – my lifestyle’s not conducive to a conventional relationship – but after my next big trip next year, I think I’ll go on a wife hunt.


I’m planning to treat myself to an actual holiday this year, and do some more routine stuff like going down the pub with mates. Relaxation when I’m travelling is usually reading. I’d also like to restart some old hobbies like boxing and yoga, and to enjoy some simple walks in the park.

Levison Wood is a supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.


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