'I went through a lot. At first I thought: "I won't do anything else dangerous." Then I thought: "Life's given me a second chance, I need to be grateful." I was so lucky not to have been left paralysed I needed to do something with it, which is why I try to live life at 100mph with a big smile on my face'.
He certainly has done something with it. Just two years after his accident, at the age of 23, Grylls realised one of his childhood dreams and climbed mount Everest, becoming the youngest Briton to do so.
'When I was a boy, Dad and I used to talk about Everest as we walked along the cliffs on the Isle of Wight... This was one of my crazy dreams; and now as I recuperated at home, I looked around my bedroom and the old picture I had of mount Everest seemed to peer down. So much of my focus during my recovery centred on Everest. it gave me something to aim for.'
Seizing an opportunity to climb the world's tallest mountain, Grylls joined an expedition and chased this dream. For Grylls, the climb would be a gateway to other adventures- reaffirming his choice to seize the opportunity life had given him, but also proved to be a process of healing. His description of reaching Everest's summit alludes to a transition - the beginning of a new stage in his life:
|'I swore that I could see halfway around the world. The horizon seemed to bend at the edges. It was the curvature of our Earth. Technology can put a man on the moon but not here. There truly was some magic to this place'|
Like The Wild Geese, Bear Grylls was faced with a choice - to play it safe or to pursue his passions and ambitions. Choosing the later, he now works hard to inspire others to do the same. Currently, 21 year old Geordie Stewart is tackling Mount Everest. Talking about the expedition Grylls could relate to the task a head of Stewart: 'It is an endeavour that will take him to the limits and probably beyond, and that sort of commitment is not hard to admire.'
|Bear Grylls during his expedition to climb Mount Everest|
In 2009, Bear Grylls was Chief Scout of the Scout Association in Britain and trying to reinvigorate the opportunities for young people to explore the great outdoors. Referring to his choice of lifestyle, Grylls simply says: 'It's what I've always done and I'll continue to do it... It's where I found my identity as a kid.' Similarly, when faced with their choice, The Wild Geese only confirmed their identity while in foreign lands. Uncompromising and free.