Author, adventurer, explorer and documentary filmmaker, Benedict Allen is well known for the expeditions he has depicted in his nine books - including two best sellers - and five major BBC TV series.
About Benedict Allen
Benedict Allen, without the use of modern technology, GPS or telephone, has explored some of the most remote and dangerous parts of the world. He is an exciting key note speaker and his stimulating after dinner speeches will inspire any audience.
A pioneer of the ‘Video Diary’, Benedict filmed his own adventures without a film crew, allowing millions of people to witness candid accounts of his perilous expeditions through inhospitable terrain for the first time. Benedict’s approach has always been to immerse himself completely into remote communities and to draw on the resources around him, to learn from the native people and achieve his goals by showing utter commitment to his final objective. Few Westerners have spent so long isolated in so many hostile natural environments. He has undergone a male initiation ceremony in New Guinea – where along with other initiates, they were beaten every day for 6 weeks – the scars he still bears to this day – in order to be made a man “as strong as a crocodile”. With the help of Matses Indians he’s crossed the Amazon Basin, a journey of 5,600 miles taking almost eight months and during which, he escaped being shot at by Columbian drug barons; he has lived with Aborigines in the Gibson Desert – arriving in Australia by canoe across the treacherous Torres Strait.
His video diary, ‘Raiders of The Lost Lake’, gained the highest viewing figures in the history of the format; there followed his BBC TV series ‘The Skeleton Coast’, the story of his arduous three and a half month walk with reluctant camels through the Namib Desert, during which he shared his precious drinking water in order to see them safely to the journey’s end. ‘Edge of Blue Heaven’ showed his five month journey with horses and camels through Mongolia, during which they were attacked by bloodsucking flies that killed his horses and one of his camels – after six weeks and a 1,000 mile walk through the Gobi Desert he eventually emerged safely with his remaining camels.
He presented ‘Mombasa To the Mountains of the Moon’, a film for the BBC’s prestigious Great Railway Journeys series; ‘The Bones of Colonel Fawcett’, about his search for an explorer in the Mato Grosso, and a major BBC series from which came the book – ‘Last of the Medicine Men’, investigating shamans and witch doctors around the world. In ‘Icedogs’, Benedict completed a 1000 mile dog trek through far Eastern Siberia and their worst winter in living memory. Enduring temperatures below minus 40 degrees Celsius and, not surprising, getting frostbite. Benedict built from scratch a tough team of loyal and reliable working dogs, that did not desert him during his long hostile and often treacherous journey – a team on which his life came to depend. Despite the constant threat of falling through ice into the freezing Arctic water, Benedict and his team of Icedogs learned to trust each other sufficiently, for him to be able to lead them unarmed and alone through wolf and polar bear territory to reach his objective – The Bering Strait.
Benedict Allen was also the most successful of the celebrity presenters for the BBC’s series ‘The Big Read’. Having written it, he presented the case for ‘His Dark Materials’ by Philip Pullman. Despite being one of the more obscure books it was the most successful of all of them, coming third out of 100, beating Harry Potter, outselling Lord of the Rings by 3.5 times. Benedict wrote a travel section for ‘The Daily Mail’ and continued speaking at corporate events for major national and international blue chip companies. He put across his message of personal development and achievement through his fascinating recount of human endeavour of being able to cope with the challenging and changing circumstances he has faced during his many expeditions, to those companies looking to promote team building within and to motivate and inspire their own staff through the “jungles” of their everyday lives. Benedict’s fascinating accounts of human endurance and achievements during his amazing adventures can be seen on television, heard through his many speaking engagements and read in his books:-
‘Mad White Giant’ (1985), ‘Into the Crocodile Nest’ (1987), ‘Hunting the Gugu’ (1989), ‘Through Jaguar Eyes’ (1994), ‘The Proving Grounds’ (1991), ‘More Great Railway journeys’ (1996), ‘The Skeleton Coast: A Journey Through the Namib Desert’ (1997), ‘Edge of Blue Heaven: A Journey Through Mongolia’ (1998) and ‘Last of the Medicine Men’ (2000). Early in 2003 Benedict completed editing an anthology, ‘The Faber Book of Exploration’.
"We were enthralled by Benedict's keynote presentation at our conference... Benedict scored by far the highest marks of all the presenters. He was described as 'inspirational', 'an excellent spirit lifter' and just 'superb'."
Progress Software Ltd
"A captivating motivational talk; we received very encouraging feedback from both CBRE representatives and guests alike - all 120 copies of his book were snapped up."
CB Richard Ellis
"Your amazing Amazon adventures kept our audience spellbound. Although I am sure most would find the prospect of such a journey daunting, they will never-the-less have taken on board your lesson on the ability of men and women to overcome extreme adversity and succeed in the end."
"Your speech was just what was needed at the end of a long day. Amusing and truly extraordinary! Everyone was recounting your stories afterwards. You have a very unusual – and special – life."
London Business School