Can the man that has survived the wild survive a family holiday?

Can the man that has survived the wild survive a family holiday?

Benedict Allen is best known for his amazing survival stories in the wild, but now a father of soon to be 3, how does he survive a family holiday? And what do his children make of his adventurous streak? Benedict reveals to the Family Travel Show his favourite family holidays, and the little adventures that happened along the way.

Can the man that has survived the wild survive a family holiday?

“Yes – and no. I suppose that having almost died nine times in my life – I’ve been shot at in the Amazon by Pablo Escobar’s hitmen, even had to stitch a chest wound up with my boot-mending kit – I’ll continue to get by with my two Little Terrors somehow. Though as they run rampant up and down the aisle of an Easyjet flight on the latest holiday break it doesn’t seem so!!”

“I tend not to take my children off on my scary expeditions – instead, I take them to the wilds of wherever we happen to be. That might mean the New Forest, a caravan resort in Devon, or somewhere sleepy on the Med.


Once we rented a little Turkish villa – which turned out to be in the middle of nowhere. This had its problems – no milk or bread to be had for MILES – but the children loved it! They were free to run about the dusty hills. As my wife Lenka said, “In Anatolia, nobody can hear you scream!”
Sometimes my then five year old daughter Natalya went looking for scorpions with me, while my little boy Freddie was content to chase the swallowtail butterflies.

Then there was our trip to Crete. We went on a “little hike,” away from the seaside crowds. My family remember it as “THE PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK”, because it turned out to be quite a trek and I ended up dragging everyone through endless thorns.  Natalya still treasures the goat’s skull we found on that occasion”

Has family life been more daunting than your wild adventures?

In one sense, YES, absolutely it’s daunting. I’m trained to survive in the jungle, desert and Arctic. I’ve lived alone in all of these- it’s what my job is about. None of that namby-pamby Bear Grylls stuff for me! What I am NOT equipped for is happy little family hols with screaming kiddies – and boy do mine scream. In the day. In the night. Sometimes I wonder what I’ve brought into the world – but I expect many a dad wonders that at three in the morning. The best that can be said is that my two children (Natalya now eight and Freddie – often known as “Where’s Freddie?” – aged five) are DEFINITELY EXPLORERS TOO! The odd thing is that i still love them. I just wonder why we are having a third child. Any day now, in fact.


Do you find it stressful travelling with children?

Yes, yes, yes! And in that I would suggest I am not alone.

Do you have any tricks for dads for surviving holidays with a family?

All I can do is try and recreate the world which is more familiar to me – one of jungles and deserts and icy places with polar bears. We go off on Mini Adventures. We find trees to climb, rivers to ford, dens to build. Perhaps it’s the only thing I’m good at – but the children seem to love it too…

Benedict Allen will speaking at the Family Travel Show in the Family Travel Talks Theatre on Sunday 1st November 13:00 – 13:40 where he will share his thoughts on what is possible – and what is not – when travelling with young children.

Follow Benedict Allen on Twitter @benedictallen or find out more at benedictallen.com

The Family Travel Show takes place in London's Olympia on 31st October- 1st November 2015. Packed full of inspiration and information, the Family Travel Show will bring together the best specialist operators and family holiday providers all under one roof.

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