Survivorman Les Stroud On Being a Man

Action Shot 2
Photography by Laura Bombier

What’s on Les Stroud’s bucket list? Yeah, we were a little curious too.

But what we really wanted to know is… what has been on his ‘man card‘ that he has been carrying around for the last several years? Growing a more epic beard, rescuing kittens, building a log cabin with his bare hands—Nope, all mere child’s play compared to the real life and times of the man. So, please grab a stick, chisel, or bamboo knife, as you may want to carve out a few notes.

Les Headshot 1
Photography by Laura Bombier

Urbasm: Hi Les, what process do you go through each time you are faced with the decision to choose a new adventure?

Les Stroud: I ask my heart. Then I listen to its advice. Then I act on it.

Urbasm: Simple and effective. Do you think survival is more of an innate trait in a man or something that can be learned?

Les Stroud: It is a little of both.

Urbasm: What do you think a man can do to prepare himself to not only survive the wild but also the urban jungle?

Les Stroud: One of the best ways to gather confidence in oneself is simply to learn some of the techniques needed for all kinds of survival. Knowledge is power and creates self-confidence that is hard to take away. Take courses. Read books. Listen to keynotes. Watch intelligent documentaries.

Urbasm: We’ve heard you suggest that sometimes “the easiest way can be the most dangerous.” What does that mean exactly?

Les Headshot 2
Photography by Laura Bombier

Les Stroud: It’s when you grow complacent and you see that path of least resistance in front of you, and you can’t resist it. It looks so obviously the way to go; so easy. Yet it may only be the easiest for the first half of the journey—then it may become hell. It’s a lot like life.

Urbasm: Who is it that you admire the most and why?

Les Stroud: Trail breakers, innovators, risk takers. Those who boldly go where no one has gone before. They make this life exciting; they bring about progress—good or bad. They cause us to look at life in a different way—as we should.

Urbasm: What do you think are a few of the biggest points that a lot of ‘manly men’ get wrong when it comes to being a gentleman?

Les Stroud: (Laughs) How much time do you have?

Urbasm: (laughs)

Les Stroud: Being a gentleman is not being soft or lame. It’s sexy as hell and it adds to the machismo. Self-confidence is the key. Women adore a man who is confident. And a confident man has no issues acting like a movie star of old: opening doors, pulling out the chair at a restaurant, bringing home flowers, never striding in front of his lady when walking—I hate when I see that.

Urbasm: Us too.

Les Stroud: A woman wants a man to be a man. Strong, confident, caring, sensitive to their moods and feelings, and attentive to discovering their nuances. Rugged, strong, rough hands from hard work, a good chest for a woman to lay her head on after…

Urbasm: (Silence)

Les Stroud: Well… just after.

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Photography by Laura Bombier

Urbasm: What is a large portion of your “everyday carry” when you’re going out to do errands versus going on an expedition?

Les Stroud: I don’t do errands.

Urbasm: (laughs) We’re trying to cut back on that too. What do you think are the top adventures that should be on every man’s bucket list?

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Photography by Laura Bombier

Les Stroud: Not in any particular order:

1. “A serious week-long mountain hike.”
2. “Learning to dive and diving in Palau or Galapagos.”
3. “And of course a shark dive.”
4. “Something in the air—either sky diving, base jumping, or learning to fly. I fly a Challenger ll plane because I’m horrible with heights, so skydiving is out for me.”
5. “A serious week-long biking trip—cycling.”
6. “A serious bike trip (motorcycle) probably South America.”
7. “A week at the flow edge in the Arctic.”
8. “A month-long canoe trip ending in the Arctic.”
9. “An Ayahuasca journey.”
10.” Taking in three concerts of your past rock and roll or any kind of music heroes—before they die or break up the band.”
11. “A serious sea kayaking journey—Arctic or Lake Superior.”
12. “A wine, scotch, rum, and cigar tasting trip with three good men.”
13. “A week of constant sex with the woman of your dreams.”

Okay, that’s 13, a baker’s dozen, but it’s hard to stop.

Urbasm: We’ve got all day, but this next question should help us travel the rest of the journey… What are the three most important things that every guy should know, according to Les Stroud?

Les Stroud: (dramatic pause)

Phenomenal sex is the elixir of life.
Learn to listen to and trust your instincts (your heart) in ALL matters.
Never finish living.

Urb: We can’t argue with that. Thanks, Les.

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Photography by Laura Bombier

Stroud was born in the Mimico neighborhood of Toronto. Beginning his music career, Stroud studied music industry arts at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. Stroud worked at the music video channel, MuchMusic and as a songwriter for the band New Regime.

A canoe trip to Temagi inspired Stroud to change his career path. In 1990, Stroud worked as a guide for Black Feather Wilderness Adventures. Here, Stroud lead canoe trips into the Ontario wilderness. While working at Black Feather Wilderness Adventures, Stroud met his wife, photographer, Sue Jamison. After wedding in 1994, the two went on a year-long trip in the remote Wabakimi area Ontario. During this trip, Stroud documented their experiences living in the wild, which became the basis for his documentary, Snowshoes and Solitude. Stroud and Jamison soon moved to Huntsville, Ontario where they had two children.

After success of his documentary, Stroud pitched a survival show to The Discovery Channel. Stroud produced two segments of a show titled, One Week in the Winter in the Wilderness. The success of these specials helped develop the series Survivorman. In 2004, the first episode of Survivorman aired. Stroud wrote, produced, directed, and filmed the series on his own.

Stroud’s survival experiences inspired him to write three novels, Survive! – Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere-Alive! Will to Live and Beyond Survivorman. Additionally, Les continued to make music, recording three albums, Les Stroud, Les Stroud and The Pikes: Long Walk Home, and Les Stroud and The Campfire Kings: Wonderful Things.

Feeling unmanly? Get in touch with Stroud through his WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube, and if all else fails just muster up your best Tarzan yodel.

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About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created, a site for every guy.

About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created, a site for every guy.