My Secret Life: Bear Grylls, adventurer, 35


My parents were ... My late dad taught me to climb when I was very young; my mum was and remains brilliantly wacky.

The house/flat I grew up in ... was a cottage on the Isle of Wight, on the edge of the sea on the East Cliff. We had a garden with huge trees where I learnt to climb.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... I had a strong desire to climb Everest ever since my dad gave me a poster of it when I was aged eight; I used to keep it on my bedroom wall.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I'd have less itchy feet for adventure; they get much harder to scratch when you have three young kids.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... I'm not very good at anything; I'm a Jack of lots of things and a master of none. But I'm OK at the piano.

At night I dream of ... being at home, safe with my family, with no dramas and no dangers.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... is a mix of struggle, doubt, fun and joy.

My favourite item of clothing ... is an old, holey woollen jumper which was my grandfather's. He was a best friend to me growing up, a giant of a man; the jumper's huge and still smells of him.

I wish I'd never worn ... I only own one suit, and it's a bright pink denim suit, which I wear whenever I have to look smart. I have an aversion to suits.

It's not fashionable but I like ... My sense of fashion is great because it always comes back into fashion about 30 years later. The things I wear are often suddenly trendy having been untrendy for many years.

I drive/ride ... a Land Rover.

My house is ... a houseboat on the Thames in London. It's a 100-year-old Dutch barge; a bit like the Bat Cave, it's rusty and messy on the outside, and amazing inside.

My favourite work of art ... is 'Prodigal Son' by Charlie Mackesy. It's all about intimacy and where we find intimacy in our lives.

My favourite building ... I love mountains; they lack the order that buildings have. I've always found the wilderness much more attractive. People used to fear the mountains because they were chaotic and jumbly and messy, but actually that's their appeal.

A book that changed me ... was 'Rhinoceros Success' by Scott Alexander. I read it when I was 14 years old and it encouraged me to get out there and live life boldly and have a few great close friends.

Movie heaven ... would be 'Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan'.

The last album I bought ... was 'Unplugged' by Chris Hutchinson.

My secret crush ... Growing up I had so many and they were constantly changing.

My greatest regret ... I'm not a great one for regrets; I always think whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. A lot of the harder things I've had in my life have actually formed who I am, though losing my dad very young was hard.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Shara, my wife, and my three boys – Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry.

The last time I cried ... uncontrollably, was a couple of weeks ago while watching the film 'The Notebook'.

My five-year plan ... is made by writing my goals out every year on paper and then sticking them up where I can see them.

What's the point? It's to find intimacy, purpose and meaning, and I find that through my Christian faith.

My life in six words ... Lucky, risk, cosiness and bad behaviour.

A life in brief

Edward Michael 'Bear' Grylls was born on 7 June 1974. He spent three years in the SAS before breaking his back while free-fall parachuting. Aged 23, he climbed Mount Everest, and in 2006 his TV series Bear Grylls: Born Survivor first aired. He has a wife and three children and splits his time between a home on a Welsh island and a houseboat in London. The new series of his survival show starts this Monday on the Discovery Channel

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