You probably know Ryan Holt, a favorite survivalist, from the Discovery Channel’s hit, “Naked and Afraid” and “Naked and Afraid XL“ – “Survivor” on steroids. Ryan is a friend in my head, that’s why I reached out to him.
“Naked and Afraid,” now in its 5th season is about a random couple – a man and woman, dumped somewhere remote, exotic and dangerous in the world and they have to survive for 21 days. They have no food, water or shelter and they are on their own. No one wins anything at the end of the show, the prize is the knowledge that you survived the wilderness. Each hour episode each week consists of a different man and woman.
“Naked and Afraid XL” has 12 survivors from past shows, dumped in a remote place with the same premise, but they are in groups of three and they have to last 40 days. No one is voted off but they disappear little by little due to sickness or just leaving, which they call “tapping out.” XL is interesting in that the intensity is different with each episode as the teams randomly come upon each other and one group of three that soon becomes five or six, totally mixes up the dynamic. XL has the same “characters” on all season, so each week you see the same people unless they’ve left (tapped out).
Ryan is home now in Maine. He runs the Human Nature Hostel and the Wilderness Warrior Project, which he created to assist returning Veterans who may be struggling with PTSD, like he was when he returned. He served eight years in the US Marine Corp Infantry and by his own admission was lost when he returned home. He explored the Appalachian Trail after an honorable discharge and “walked off the war.” Now he wants to do the same for other returning vets.
Ryan is a good sport, he agreed to participate in “10 With Tom.” What I find funny is that I picture him as being a primitive man in the forest, but according to his answers, I can see he lives with all the comforts of home in Maine.
I asked him the following questions:
Tom: Are you recognized on the street?
Ryan: I live in a very mountainous and rural part of Maine (Roxbury: population 370). Not many people to be recognized by, although the other day I was at a local swimming hole and a family of “flat landers” approached me and said, “Hey! Are you famous!? The guy from Naked and Afraid?” I said, “Ayah, that’s me.”
Tom: If you were able to vote off members of the XL cast, who would you have voted out of Africa first?
Ryan: Since I was only paired with two other survivalist (Angel and Steve) for the first few weeks, I would have voted off Steve because, well, we all know “he’s kind of a big deal” and there is no room for such an arrogant ego and no existent humility.
Tom: You live in Maine, you’ve “lived” in the Everglades and Africa. What’s the perfect outdoor temperature for you?
Ryan: Having been born and raised in Maine might make me a little biased but there truly is something unique and special about my homeland. It is the perfect temperature in the summer and offers four seasons to ensure a wide range of every single outdoor activity. Not the best state for couch potatoes, Maine is for the adventure and nature lover.
Tom: Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful?
Ryan: I find everything in nature to be beautiful, but if I had to pick three things that really resonate with me… Mountain Summits, Trees/Plants, Observing Wildlife.
“Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a great deal to love a leaf. Its ordinary to love the beautiful, but its beautiful to love the ordinary.” -Unknown
Tom: Last place you visited outside US
Ryan: My last trip outside the US was South Africa. This Fall I plan to explore Iceland.
Tom: What do you usually order at Starbucks?
Ryan: If you were searching for me inside a Starbucks, you would NEVER find me. I don’t drink caffeine or pay extra for name brands.
Tom: Other than Naked and Afraid, favorite tv show
Ryan: Other than Naked and Afraid, my favorite TV show is Alone.
Tom: What scares you the most, and why?
Ryan: Other people. They are the most unpredictable.
Tom: What are your three favorite foods (other than alligator and snake).
Ryan: Other than alligator, lizard and snake, my favorite foods are Sushi, BBQ, Fresh local cafes.
Tom: Tell me about someone you really admire?
Ryan: I really admire my Girlfriend Dani Beau. Not only is she beautiful, skilled and passionate about nature and all living beings, she completed 21 days and the first 40 day challenge of Naked & Afraid as a Vegan. You have to be driven and dedicated to your morals & beliefs to accomplish such a challenge as a Vegan and to be doing it with laughter and a smile!? She’s a total badass! I will always admire her for her accomplishments, how she cares for the Earth and for putting up with me, haha.
Naked and Afraid XL is on Sunday nights, 9 pm, on the Discovery Channel, you can see Ryan and gang in action, there.
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