Explorer of the Week: Benedict Allen

Benedict Allen is a British explorer, author, and television personality who is known for his immersion among indigenous tribes in the Amazon, New Guinea and Sumatra. Inspired by his father, Colin Allen, a British pilot, Benedict had a passion for exploration from a young age. He began his exploring career while at the University of East Anglia where he joined multiple scientific expeditions to Costa Rica, Brunei, and Iceland. Following the completion of his education, Allen planned for a trip across the Amazon in which he would rely on assistance from the indigenous peoples rather than receiving funding from home. He arrived in South America in 1983 and immediately began exploring the Amazon. He traveled more than six hundred miles by foot and canoe through the forest where he contracted two forms of malaria, fled attacks by gold miners, and had to resort to eating his companion dog to sustain himself. After his adventures in the Amazon, Allen explored Papua New Guinea where he met a tribe called the “Momwina” and led them to another tribe called the “Obini.” A tribal battle ensued after the Obini attacked the Momwina which led to his retreat. Allen continued to explore Papua New Guinea and found another tribe called the “Niowra” where he undertook the male initiation ceremony which was intended to make the boys as “harsh as a crocodile.”
Allen continued to explore many regions of the world and returned back to the Amazon to film a special for BBC. In his attempt to complete the 1200 mile across the Amazon, he was shot at by the Medellin drug cartel, broke three ribs, and abandoned his filming as he fled. He would go on to cross all 3000 miles of the Gobi desert by horse and camel over a five month span and write ten books about his adventures. Now, he is a television personality for BBC where he documented many of his adventures. Most recently in 2017, he was declared missing in Papua New Guinea but was rescued a day later “against his will.” Up until that point he had not brought a GPS nor satellite phone on any of his adventures but has decided that he may from now on.