Did you know that there’s a ‘wanderlust’ gene (DRD4-7R), commonly found in explorers, risk takers and people who love to travel, but only 20% of us have it? Levison Wood is definitely a man whose genetic makeup may go some way to explaining that insatiable desire to get up, head out and get as far away from everyday life as possible.
Levison, a former Army paratrooper turned epic expedition trekker, first hit TV screens in the UK back in 2014 in Walking the Nile. A 4000 mile trek saw him following the Nile from its source in Rwanda to the sea, encountering crocodiles, nomads and militia along the way.
His next expedition, walking the length of the Himalayas, took a dramatic and life-threatening turn when, forced to take a taxi at night during heightened political tensions in Nepal, the taxi’s brakes failed, sending the car tumbling 450ft down a hillside in a remote mountain area. Not one to be easily beaten, Lev returned 6 weeks later after a stay in a UK hospital to complete the walk.
One thing that brightened up my Sunday nights this winter was watching Lev’s latest expedition, Walking The Americas on Channel 4. I have to admit the location of this one especially appealed; a trek from the Mexican coast over mountains, through jungles and finally through the notorious Darien Gap into Colombia. Although I’ve travelled a fair bit in South America, Central America has only been a brief stopover and I’d love to see more.
Earlier this month I had the chance to hear Levison talking about his expeditions on his latest book tour in Brighton. I find these things a bit of an enigma; you never know exactly what you’ll get. But Levison was funny and engaging from the start, sharing the story of the wanderlust gene along with many tales from his expeditions. He’s certainly lead an exciting life, from serving overseas in the British Army to guiding specialised tours and accompanying TV crews in some of the more remote and potentially dangerous parts of the world.
It’s also been noted that he’s quite easy on the eye, but don’t let that influence your decision to go see him on tour ;) There are a few dates remaining until the end of March. He’s even being joined by Alberto, his walking companion from the Americas series for some dates.