Ed Stafford, Explorer | Adventure-gram
Get to know the man behind the Instagram adventures that offer you something very different
Ed Stafford is an outdoorsman in an age of outdoorsmen. Flick through your own Instagram feed and, unless you’re the kind of person who just follows footballers to see what they've ordered from Nando’s on any given day, it won’t be long before you find somebody trekking through sun dappled woods, or a scenic view from the inside of a tent, walking-boot clad feet and a stove with coffee brewing above it, all strategically in shot.
But Ed Stafford is set apart from the world of adventure-by-numbers Instagram users, a fact attested to by the over 43,500 people who follow him.
Stafford’s adventure credentials are impeccable. He has a military background, moving on from the army having risen to the rank of Captain. Upon leaving the military, he set about planning a trip to the Amazon that would be like no other.
"We all lead pretty detached lives now. We eat processed food, tan under bulbs, and take blue tablets to have sex. For me, being dropped off naked in the wilderness is the antidote to that."
It was a record setting expedition that saw him become the first man in the world to walk the length of the Amazon River, a feat described as “Truly extraordinary...in the top league of expeditions past and present" by none other than Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Stafford followed this with a adventure that truly earns its place in the ‘Unplugged’ category. In 2012 he was dropped alone on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean for 60 days, with nothing at all to help him survive. No food, no water, no tools. Not even clothes. It was nothing but man, a camera for filming himself, and the elements. The acclaim that followed this incredible feat of survival spawned international TV shows, a book, and now an ongoing TV series on the Discovery Channel.
While such adventures are undoubtedly a challenge, Stafford also sees them as an opportunity. "In my opinion, we all now lead pretty detached lives. We wake up to electric alarm clocks, eat processed food, tan under bulbs, and take blue tablets to have sex. For me, being dropped off naked in the wilderness is the antidote to that." he told Mpora. "Apathy evaporates and my primal instincts open their eyes and sit bolt upright."
Of course, the notion of being completely off the grid yet still on social media is inherently slightly contradictory, but balancing the two is something that Ed Stafford appears adept at. He sees the potential that social media can afford you.
"I owe a lot of my success to it and so I embrace it for its positives." he told us. "In the Amazon, I effectively crowd-sourced the expedition funds from around the world before crowdsourcing had even been invented. I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't acknowledge that it has helped me no end."
What’s so charming about Ed Stafford’s Instagram is that his adventures speak for themselves. There’s no need for him to oversell his life on social media. The result is a feed that captures the spirit of his travels, but feels like that of a friend. There are as many shambolic selfies as there are epic shots of Ed tracking to remote locations or surviving in extreme conditions.
It’s access to a human being, not a facade, and that’s why Ed Stafford stands out from the crowd. That and the fact we have no idea what he orders from Nando’s.
To get more Insta-inspiration, see our Adventure-gram series