Grapevine Stories

An exclusive interview with Bear Grylls

The legendary adventurer and TV presenter talks to us about his Survival Academy, the pressures of social media, what he does before he jumps out of plane and how he manages his kid's use of technology. He even tells us why he doesn't mind using maps on phones...

We were really honoured to interview Bear Grylls, who gave us his honest thoughts on mental health, life challenges and managing his kids and their iPads.

Have you seen how people taking part in the academies and adventures benefits their mental health? Do you have an example of this?

Our Bear Grylls Survival Academy take people on wild experiences and adventures all over the world and it is amazing to see how it changes and empowers people. 

There is so much pressure on young people these days with academia, society, social media. Being outdoors is a great leveller. It doesn't judge you, it doesn't put you under that pressure. It doesn't care what you look like. It just says: work hard, and I'll reward you.

What are the main mental tools/mantras you should take with when embarking on a physically and mentally tough challenge? 

Well my granddad always used to cross himself when he flew, and I always remembered that. I don’t think it was because he was scared, I think it was a little mark of respect, you know, flying in those days was a lot more dangerous and I’ve always done that.

Whenever we jump out of the plane, I always give a little sign of the cross and then go for it. So that’s my thing and remember at the heart of it, never give up.

My kids are saying, ‘Oh papa you’re always banging on about ‘never give up’, but actually it’s the heart of everything - the rest is detail.


Do you think we should get the young off their iPads and iPhones and outside using the skills we were all born with? 

So many adults, not only children, are unprepared for any form of disaster in the wild. But it is about so much more than just survival. I really believe that the best thing we can do for our children (especially with the ever-growing presence of computer and digital devices) is get outside and have a mini adventure with them - even if it is just camping out or going for a hike - it brings us close to our children in a way that computer games and TV never can.

It has also been proven that children who get to spend their afternoons running about and playing games sleep better, concentrate harder and work better with each other.

What’s your policy with your own children on tech usage? 

It's a balance. You don't want to miss out on life and just be staring at your phone and not seeing what's going on around you. But on the other hand, technology is amazing and you have to roll with it. Mobiles are a tool.

When people say, 'Oh I hate it when my kids use maps on their phone and drop pins to go and find their friends', I'm like, 'No, I love that'. It's a tool. It's just the same as a hundred years ago when we used a compass. It's serving us. 


If you could wave a magic wand and make the world and everyone in it, a much better place, what would be the main changes you would make? 

Bring the adventure, friendships and life values that Scouting provides to every young person in the most disadvantaged of areas.

Day after day I see the positive impact that scouting has on kids and it is so inspiring. I feel we all have a huge responsibility for our incredible planet and its creatures.

As a patron for Tusk Trust, I want to see an end to rhino horn and elephant tusk poaching in my lifetime….it's a bloody battle that needs defeating and it goes far beyond the animals themselves.

What is your main message you would like to get across the people of today? 

Never give up!


Get 50% off at the Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham

Why not visit the UK’s first Indoor Activity Centre, inspired by Bear Grylls. It's open all year round and under one roof at the NEC Birmingham. You can choose from 8 Challenges including: Archery, Climb, Escape Rooms, High Ropes, iFLY, Shark Dive, Shooting and Snorkel. Activities are suitable for guests from 8+ years.

BGA is offering 50% discount for all members who book tickets for the high ropes, climb and archery. This is valid until 31st December 2019

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