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Benedict Allen's approach is best exemplified by his decision aged 24 to undergo a harrowing "crocodile" male initiation ceremony in Papua New Guinea in order to understand something of the forest world of the Niowra. He and indigenous initiates were locked away, force-fed, extensively scarified over their chest and back and beaten everyday (often four times a day) for six weeks.
His belief in not using the "back-up" systems might seem to make his expeditions precarious but they also help him tune into the resources available locally in "hostile" or unfamiliar terrain. Likewise, his technique of not using a camera-crew to record his journeys has meant he's achieved perhaps unrivalled authenticity; though his technique has been so widely adopted, he's one of the few "explorers" that viewers ever see in genuine isolation and jeopardy.
According to a Radio Times cover feature "Television's most fearless man," Benedict Allen happily admits that actually he's often afraid. He's more proud of having lived many months at time among indigenous people to learn from them more like a child.
"My philosophy? In a nutshell, it's about leaving things at home! A GPS, satellite phone and companions – all these things are without doubt useful but they tend to limit exposure to the environment that I'm trying to understand. Likewise, commercial sponsorship would also contaminate my particular mission. Of course, you may have a different objective, however if it is to immerse yourself in little-understood environments or pit yourself against them then this external support tends to limit your exposure – and of course lessens any physical achievement."