I want to write a series of posts about Bear Grylls that I will appropriately name the “About Bear Series”. To start, as mentioned above, is the biography of our friend, Edward Michael “Bear” Grylls.
One of the biggest questions people have about Bear is, simply, why is Bear Grylls called Bear?
Not long after he was born on June 07, 1974, his older sister, Lara, gave him the nickname of “Bear”. Lara took to him right away, overly pleased to have a little brother. He became her own little teddy bear and the name stuck. Later at school, while Bear was a teen, he received the nickname “Monkey” because of the crazy amount of climbing (even up school buildings) that he did.
Fortunately, Monkey Grylls did not stick and we do not watch, for example, “Man vs. Wild with Monkey Grylls”!
Bear was born in the United Kingdom growing up spending most of his time either in London or on the Isle of Wight, just off of the south coast. I did not realize this until recently reading his autobiography, “Mud, Sweat & Tears”. I spent 2012 and 2013 in Bournemouth and often would see the Isle of Wight from the beach.
Bear was a rather, self-professed, odd kid who was not naturally athletic and spent a lot of time being bullied. He also attended the very prestigious, Eton College. It’s a bit hard to imagine Bear at a school like that, but as he says, he didn’t exactly fit in. Though he is very thankful for the education he received there.
After College, he spent a bit of time near Bristol exploring University and what to do next. His Father and many of generations of men in his family were in the Royal Marine’s. Bear was initially going to follow suit, but decided to take on an entirely different challenge – the SAS.
If you have never read or heard about the training involved to become a member of the SAS, you must at least read “Mud, Sweat & Tears” for Bear’s recounting of that experience. Absolutely must! I love being pushed and I love seeing how far I can be pushed, but the level of difficulty involved in SAS Selection is beyond comprehension.
Yet, Bear’s greatest challenge came after he finally passed the SAS Selection and spent a few years in the service. While spending time and working in Africa, Bear suffered a very serious injury during a very scary parachute landing. He landed very fast and flat on his back, damaging his spine, and spent some very serious time wondering if he was ever going to walk again.
Bear spent nearly a year in rehab; a year that was rough on him both physically, mentally and spiritually (more on that later). Bear became depressed and struggled to find hope during such a trying time.
Crazy kid, while lying in pain, stared at a poster in his room that his Father had given him when he was a child of Mount Everest. Bear found his determination and wasn’t afraid to share it with others. He told himself that when and if he could walk properly again, he would make it mean something – he would climb Mount Everest.
And he did! Which is another story you must read about. What a scary adventure that was. I cannot imagine even having the determination to attempt such a feat, let alone go through with it. Bear’s recount of his climb was the first time I have read about anyone climbing Mount Everest. I will stick with the 5,200 ft Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains.
Following Everest, Bear started to slowly pick up publicity. His job became to travel and give speeches about his adventure to different conferences and businesses. It was quite entertaining reading about his first few rocky speeches he gave in “Mud, Sweat & Tears”.
Bear truly seems to be every man. Who he is and what he had done and accomplished is quite inspiring as he seems like you and I – just an average person who didn’t let his self-doubts and fears stop him from living the life he wanted.
Anyways, back to topic. His speeches eventually led him to meet the right person, who happened to be in the television business in the UK and pitched the idea to get Bear on a television show.
The rest is history in the making. Bear has gone on to do quite a few survival shows such as Born Survivor, Get Out Alive and most notably and noteworthy, Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel.
Man vs. Wild was where I first became aware of Bear and immediately wanted to watch more. I love the outdoors and learning about surviving in the outdoors and Bear makes it very fun and enjoyable!
Bear and his show have received an enormous following and a lot of criticism as well. I will save my thoughts and opinions about people calling Bear Grylls fake for another post.
Another huge part of Bear’s life is, of course, his wife, Shara and his three children Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry (YES, he named two of his boys Marmaduke and Huckleberry)! But more about Bear, the family man, in a later post as well.
Thanks for reading! What inspires you most about Bear’s life? Leave a comment below!
Definitely watch this interview with Piers Morgan! Lots of fun!