If THE Taliban didn’t get you, the snow and landslide would. Given the circumstances, adventurer and travel writer Levison Wood was initially uneasy about embarking on the 2,740-kilometre trek along the Himalayan mountain ranges—extending from Afghanistan to Bhutan—last year. But when he finally made the six-month-long walk, the 34-year-old Royal Geographic Society fellow experienced every adventure imaginable. “In Wakhan corridor, in north-east Afghanistan, I encountered the chief of a Kyrgyz tribe. I had a long beard and, after one look at me, he accused me of being ISIS, who was there to convert them. After learning the truth, we laughed, even slaughtered a goat and had a grand meal,” begins Wood. His adventures are documented on Walking the Himalayas, Discovery Channel’s newest show that is premiering tonight.
Rivers to cliffs
Wood, a former British Army captain, has travelled through 80 countries seeking adventure—including travelling on foot through Madagascar and going on a rock climbing expedition in Iraq. In 2014, the adventurer had walked along the Nile river, a distance of 6,800 kilometres, stretching across six countries—a feat that took him nine months to complete. It was documented in the series, Walking the Nile, and in a book of the same name. “Through Walking the Himalayas, I am trying to show viewers the magnificence of these mountains and the diversity of different cultures and religions along the range,” says Wood, who had first visited the Himalayas in his teens. He mentions that he is personally inspired by British explorers John Hanning Speke and Richard Francis Burton. Following a daily walking routine and staying motivated has been the Englishman’s secret behind crossing these unforgiving trails.
Asia to Americas
Filming the series, Wood trekked without any armed guards and only used local guides and mountaineers to navigate the terrain, which included renowned Afghan mountaineer Malang Darya. “I had always travelled for passion, but travelling for a living and sharing that journey with other people is a very privileged position to be in,” says the adventurer, adding that he is in preparation to walk across Central America next.
Fridays at 9 pm on Discovery Channel