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On today’s Podcast, we have Mike Corey. Mike Corey is a Youtuber, TV Host and Adventurer.

After working for several years creating short films for tourism brands worldwide, he turned his sights to YouTube. He began an adventure travel channel focusing on the world’s bizarre attractions and unique cultures. Participating in exploding hammer festivals, getting tattooed by a head hunter tattooist, and scuba diving in hydrogen sulphide are just a few of the adventures he’s taken his viewers on.

This week on the podcast, we are heading to turkey and exploring a place called satans castle, where what was meant to be a quiet night of solo camping turned into shots fired and my guest running from the police. I am delighted to introduce Mike Corey from Fearless and Far to the podcast.

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Transcript of our Conversation

Mike Corey

[00:00:00] Mike Corey Podcast: My next guest is an adventure travel YouTuber with over a million subscribers and a TV host. After working for several years, creating short films for tourism brands worldwide. He turned his size to YouTube where he began in adventure travel channel, focusing on the world’s most bizarre attractions and unique cultures.

This week on the podcast, we are heading to Satan’s cast. Where, what was meant to be a quiet night of solo camping turned into shots, being fired, running from the police. And what happened? My guest will tell you, I am delighted to introduce Mike Corey from fearless and far to the podcast. It’s good to be here.

Well, it’s an absolute pleasure to finally get you on, I mean, your story, I remember back in 2017 watching one of your videos about the Mexican hammer bombs or whatever you call them, exploding hammer festival. Yeah. Ex . Yeah. And I was absolutely hooked by the sort of level of production that [00:01:00] your travel videos go in.

And it’s an absolutely incredible sort of get you on to sort of talk about some of these adventures that you’ve done over the past sort of six, seven years. I will get into that. But at the beginning, I always like to start for the audience who don’t know you. Who are you, where you from and how did you get into this sort of life of adventures?

Cool. Well, I am a small town Canadian boy from Fredericton, new Brunswick, Canada. So it’s right above Maine. And in the United States, if you’re more familiar with there grew up in the woods and my, how I got into this, I guess I’ve, I’ve kind of teased out the story after 10 years of thinking about it.

But my, my parents are both very interested in the outdoor world, the natural world, and we would go to the Rocky beaches. Of new Brunswick, Canada. And there there’s a bay called the bay of fun day that has the highest tides in the world. 55 vertical feet of water, like vertical feet of water twice a day, goes up and down.

And so it [00:02:00] just carves the landscape and it’s full of tide pools and creatures and the waters like that cold north Atlantic water. And we used to go there specifically to Rocky beaches, to flip over rocks, to find crabs and sea cucumbers and whatever we could find. And. My parents taught me that and I became obsessed with flipping over rocks, even walking the trails behind our house.

Every time there was a rock, I’d have to flip it to see if there was a Saland or a snake or a spider. And that became my obsession. And then I think what’s happened is I just turned the whole world into a bunch of giant rocks. And so now for what I’ve been doing that for the past 10 years of my life is traveling to some lesser known countries like Turk, Stan, Congo, Mo and finding these lesser known things.

To explain them to the world because I realized back then when I was a kid that people thought, you know, secret cucumbers were slimy and gross and spiders were disgusting and dangerous, but they weren’t, people didn’t have a good understanding of these things. They maybe had some, they, [00:03:00] they absorbed this.

Knowledge that snakes are dangerous or spiders or icky or slimy. I don’t know. And then now that’s what everyone thought, but I knew I knew the truth and I made my passion to tell people about, Hey spiders, aren’t so bad snakes, aren’t so bad. And now it’s like, you know, the exploding hammer festival isn’t so bad or tur Stan is kind of bad, but you know, not as, not as bad as people to make it out to beat.

And so now I found myself an interesting career where I, it started off with a YouTube channel. Which has now about 1.2 million followers. I have a TV show, a couple TV shows, and now it’s one called uncharted adventure, which is on the weather channel in the USA, which is a one hour adventure travel show that I host.

I was on BBC travel show before that. And also I host a podcast called against the odds where me and a cohost we tell. We tell true survival stories of people on this planet and then try to get them on to talk about their, their stories. So besides that I’m on the road all the time. Like I I’m from [00:04:00] new Brunswick, Canada, I’m there a couple weeks, a year.

I’m mostly just a floater man trying to follow my nose. Like two can Sam, but for adventure I think is that sort of curiosity that you have from a young kid that sort of. Probably led you down this path of wanting to always look around the corner, sort of the sort of fear of Mitt out, not knowing what was sort of under that rock.

And as you said, you know similar is that sort of curiosity we’ve placed like tur Manton one of the most sort of. Closed off countries in the world. You know, I I’d say my audience, I’d be lucky to grab 1% who had been to tur Manda, but it is one of the most crazy, bizarre places that one can visit.

And I imagine a lot of people would always get put off by the sort of horror stories of tuck, man. But as you say, that sort of curiosity and that sort. Excitement to explore, sort of led you in and to see for your own eyes. And [00:05:00] you always get that sort of idea of. Yeah. I, you know, you hear these stories about certain places and you, you know, it’s all terrifying.

And then when you go, you actually find the reality it’s completely different. Exactly. And we, the people that are always the most incredible, I think the whole tourism friendly thing is backwards, honestly, after traveling to these countries, cuz the most rudely I’ve been treated is in like France and you know in the Netherlands and places like that.

Whereas the, the, the people who go out of their way to invite me into their homes for coffee is like Morita, tur, Stan, Pakistan, these countries that are touristed unfriendly. It’s backwards, man. stand in the bike lane in, in, in Europe. And , you’ll see of some, unfriendliness not saying Europeans are unfriendly, but like in these countries, you’d expect everyone to be mean and nasty and like villains from a, a bond film.

They’re they go out of their way to, to make you comfortable and happy. Yeah. You suffered from Paris syndrome. [00:06:00] Yeah, I did have a good time in Paris. The one time I was there, there was a couple moments with, of I speak like qua French a little bit. And so they’re not, they’re not. So they don’t fancy that Lang that accent so much.

But I found a really cool UN like a party under the bridge where there was people playing music and it was, it was cool. That was like the authentic Paris. I, I think for people who don’t know Paris syndromes, probably my favorite ING it’s based on the Japanese who. Have a direct flight to Paris and they go with such amazing expectations about how wonderful Paris is.

And then the the reality is slightly different. And then they come back and need therapy to sort of get over it. I think new York’s probably the same too. but yeah’s sort of same. Like you’re in America at the moment I found in the Midwest, like the hospitality, there was second to none. Whereas as you say, sort of new.

California people are more sort of set in their own life. Whereas the [00:07:00] hospitality in middle America is I would say one of the best in the world. Mm-hmm mm-hmm and they get labeled with like, you know, guns and blah, blah. But they’re I was in Louisiana. That’s the Midwest, right. I’m still confused by the Midwest being kind of east, honestly.

But yeah, the friendliest people in, in the country, man, it’s really nice. Yeah. And so over the last year, you’ve sort of traveled all over the world sort of. And what I love about your channel is that you sort, sort of have take these adventures, which are very different to everyone’s normal one week, two week vacation.

It’s sort of delving into sort of tribes in Africa, in south America. And. Probably one of the stories you would love to tell is the sort of story of one of those experiences. Yeah. So that’s kind of what got me in the groove. I made YouTube videos for a long time, but in the past couple years I [00:08:00] found something that I really loved and that was visiting.

Well, here’s a thing, man. I did biology in, in university. I wasn’t a great student, but Hey don’t have to be, but I love like the field courses. I always loved being outside and I had more books on bugs and, and things like that than anything else. Thank you. And so from there, I thought I wanted to travel the world to see animals and mountains and oceans.

And I did, but I always found myself going back and thinking about my favorite memories. And it was the memories of people. It wasn’t, you know, how cool that monkey was or what we saw on the scuba dive. I mean, I loved. But it was always, I always felt more fondly towards the people that I met. And so I kind of followed that and started to in focus, my travels on meeting, interesting people, and maybe some people listening now are the same way you think back your travels.

And those are always the most powerful moments. I mean, we’ve just spent the past 10 minutes talking about the same thing, right? It’s the people that we’ to travel for. [00:09:00] And I went out to kind of find that to the extreme. So it took me all around the world to. Meet local tribes. Interesting people. I was in Congo.

I met like the SAP, the guys that were like the orange sparkly suits and walked the streets, looking like millionaires in poverty. Went to Tanzania to hunt baboons with the hunter gatherers, the Hadza. I was one of the first to do that on YouTube a couple years ago and it got like 11 million views.

Those guys live traditionally, how we used to live in the African rift valley. You know, they’re still prying open trees with their hands, pulling honey out, getting stung, shooting baboons with poison arrows and, and stuff like that. But there’s a story that, that just happened in my life last, like November.

That’s now, what is it June a few months ago. And it’s a que one. I, a story. I get a lot of questions about because people don’t believe it’s true and I can guarantee people that it’s true. And I’m going to tell it today [00:10:00] if you don’t mind, but there’s no, it’s, it’s a kind of an unorthodox encounter with humans because it didn’t really, it was kind of a, definitely a misadventure Def and maybe one of the closest times I’ve ever felt like I was going to die, honestly.

Oh, wow. And so what made you sort. Go on this adventure. What was sort of drawing you towards it or was it completely accidental? No, it wasn’t. It was, it was intentional for sure. The idea, the idea was solo, camping. I love solo camping and coming from Canada, there’s not. I’ve also have a fascination with castles.

So I had this fantasy in my head. Is it possible? The solo camp in a castle and here in north America, there’s not very many castles and they’re all natural heritage sites, but you go to Europe, there is a fricking million castles. There’s so many castles. They, some of them don’t have names like every Hilltop has a castle, almost in some places.

And in Turkey, especially in the all through the central part, they’re not necessarily castles, but [00:11:00] they’re like cliff homes and stuff, but there’s you think there’s only a few, but there’s, there’s a million. And so in my head, I was like, It’d be cool to camp in some of these things. So my first castle was in Romania or I, I solo camped in there, this beautiful thing with a tower and on a Hilltop.

And I had a campfire. And then the same thing happened in Kaia where there’s all these cliff homes. And I found like a cliff home away from the tourist track and, and camp inside of that. So these ancient tunnels carved by hand by, by people and because there’s so many they’re. Some are protected.

Yeah. They’re really nice ones, but there’s lots that are like really, really quite nice that are just lost laying on the forest. There, there might be a hiking trail to them, but there’s no regulation. There’s no ticket booth. There’s no guard. There’s, there’s nothing. And I’m always really respectful for these things.

I’ll clean up after from God. I’m not trying to break anything. So I, I found one in Turkey. I was traveling in north Eastern Turkey, near the border of Georgia. And [00:12:00] were the more like Muslim side of following with this idea of solo, camping and epic places. I was in Eastern Turkey, bordering Syria, Iran, Georgia, and there there’s all kinds of ancient history.

And I was kind of poking through different sites and blogs and posts, trying to find. Cool locations to visit. And I found this place, John called Satan’s castle and Satan’s castle was this incredibly old. Tower of stone that was placed in a valley. So if you picture like a valley and a, it like a, a cut with a knife through a cake.

So there was this jagged rift, and then there was a little out jut and on this little out jut, this pillar of, of stone, there was this castle placed. Precariously on it. And there was this sort of small land bridge type thing, connecting it to the bridge. And it was in the middle of nowhere and it was the, it was the perfect fantasy castle with a tower and this giant [00:13:00] ramper and walls and bridges.

And it seemed just unbelievably. Interesting for being in a place. So remote and I was going up to Georgia to meet my girlfriend at the time, and we had parted ways and there’s a lot of other cool things up there. Like there’s a thing called mad honey, this like hallucinogenic honey that is famous in Nepal.

It’s also in Turkey. So I was there and we tried some mad honey got a little crazy and I was on my way to meet her in in Georgia. Normally for these, these adventures, I’d have a local guide. We’d speak to the people because it always makes it more interesting, but there was some problems with logistics getting a car rental.

We were driving her four by four and I kept on breaking down. So we didn’t have too much time. I was by myself and I was like, you know what, screw it. I’m passing by there. Anyway, it’s only a couple hours off the highway. I’ll hit that up and I’ll meet her in Georgia. So I, in my rental car, I go get some wood.

I get all the, the things you need to camp to make the kind of fantasy. And like all the documentation. There was no, [00:14:00] again, didn’t seem like there was any kind of guard or security. Didn’t seem like a national heritage site just seemed like a bunch of really interesting rocks on top of another rock.

And I was driving. Through one small village to get there. It was kind of maybe a mile or so away from the actual castle itself once we got there. So I was driving this little town and it was filled with just cows and piles of cow shits and blue tarped houses. It was like very, very rural. Again, I’ll book a few houses there.

I get, there is a path that kind of walks along the Ridge valley to my right mountains, to my left. And there’s a kind of like one parking spot and there’s a sign that beat up sign that says Satan’s castle. And that was it. And so I wanted to go scout it. And so I. Do a quick run. It’s a, maybe like a 15 minute walk along this, the side of this valley.

And then you dip down and you come back up and I saw the castle for the first time because it takes quite a while to get there hiking. And it was beyond anything I’d seen [00:15:00] before. It looked like it was from a Hollywood movie. The tower went up into the sky. There was vultures circling around. It was, it was perfect.

And so I go back and I get my backpack and I get all of my bits and pieces to camp. Still not knowing if I was gonna camp, but if the opportunity was there, let’s fricking do it. And so I’m going, and along the way, there’s one shirtless Turkish man with like a big burly chest, riding, a bareback horse, holding onto the main.

And he like waves at me as he’s bringing his sheep and cows past . And he is the only guy I saw. So we have a little wave he’s like kind of weirded out that I’m there with, you know, a backpack full of stuff. And I make the hike and I’m sweating. And I crawl down the side of the valley and I crawl back up and there I am solo in Satan’s castle and it was probably around 1:00 PM.

And so I’m exploring I’m, you know, being a YouTuber to the max, running around, there’s like murder holes, you know, those holes in the rampers, you can drop oil down, they [00:16:00] have those, they’ve got these, all these different towers with arrow slits in them and everything I’m like in a, a kid in the candy shop.

It, it felt like I had, I was in ancient times, basically. There was an old chapel with carved stone kind of offset to the side I was exploring in there. There was these tunnels that kind of led around. Places to so many secrets. I was hoping I could get in the tower, but it looks at some point that the stairs had broken, but it was still, it was still totally fine.

There was a couple peculiar, peculiar, peculiar things though. There was a couple peculiar things though. And some of them were ominous for later LA later problems later, MIS adventures. So a couple things, there was almost like holes that looked like they were blown open in the side of it, a couple places.

And I thought maybe it was an old tunnel or, or what. Something people exploring and damaging. I didn’t quite understand, but there was a, a series of these flood lights that were placed around the castle too, to, to light it up at night. And I was like, oh, that’s kind of weird [00:17:00] because again, we’re so far away from anybody being able to see it, you know, there’s no, there’s no tourist here that I saw, but even then there’s no village.

There’s no way to see it if it was lit up. So why would it be? But it didn’t matter because these lights all had their wires cut. So there was like a flood light that was smashed and the wire was. So I was like, okay, well, I guess it’s not gonna be a problem for later because it would kind of bust the bubble if there was big flood lights on this thing.

And I’m having the time of my. So sun starts to set quite early because we’re in a valley and it was about four, 5:00 PM. And I’m starting to make a camp fire set up my camp. I found a nice spot and things were looking good. And so I made a little bit of food and was filming like a star lap. And I At one point I , I think I had lost my head torch because I was so excited running around and, and camera gear with camera gear.

But one thing I always do in these places is I, again, always thinking about the shot. I bring the materials to fashion, like a [00:18:00] traditional torch, like a fire torch, like a wooden dowel with some fuel and some wire and some cloth. And so I had lost my head torch, I think, at the base of the. Castle as I was climbing up and filming and I was like, I’ll just make my, you know, my, my medieval torch and explore and, and take some photos.

So it, wouldn’t it be epic of this guy exploring an old castle with a torch. And so I make that, and then I, I light it and I’m walking down. It’s the dark, it’s probably around 11:00 PM around 12. And I set up the trip, the tripod and I’d get a shot of me walking out and, and then I’m descending down and then I hear a sound and.

So to explain this correctly, I’m on this kind of out jut of the valley. And I can see the trail from across the the, the gap between the Ridge and where I am. So there’s kind of like a, the trail. You can see a kind of walking spin. Spinning around the side of the mountain wall, and then you have to come up.

And so anybody to come towards [00:19:00] me has to walk along this trail, then dip down and come back up. But between us, there is a, a CVAs, right? So I’m there. And there was one, one singular street light that was lit on that trail, but all the lights on the castle were off, which I was kind of happy about, honestly, would would’ve ruined the vibe, but I look and there’s people standing there in that streetlight it’s maybe like.

Couple hundred meters away. I, but I can see them. Definitely. There’s three people standing there. I was like, that’s kind of weird, but you know, that’s fine. And then I hear a gunshot and I, the, the, the, the ripping of the, of the bullet zoom over my head through the air. Making my own sound effects now. And , and I was like, okay that’s weird.

But a couple weeks ago we were camping in this four by four. And there was people who woke us up with their guns at Dawn cuz they were shooting ducks just by our, our four by [00:20:00] four . And so I was like, oh, maybe these are hunters. But again, it’s kind of a weird time to hunt. And then I hear screaming.

Like I just screwed somebody’s mother, like screaming, like I had just killed a baby. It was the most horrific screaming and I didn’t speak Turkish. And so they were yelling and yelling and screaming and I was like, oh, who are they talking to? And then another bullet zips by my head. I’m like, no, that they’re, they’re talking to me.

They’re screaming at me. They’re shooting at me. And in my head, I’m like, this has gotta be a misunderstanding. Well, why, how, like maybe they think I’m just some damn kid here, like spray painting and having sex with my girlfriend or something. I don’t know. Like why, why are they shooting and screaming?

They must be just trying to scare me away. And so I extinguish the torch and I’m hiding behind this rock, thinking that they’ll think I left. No, they come sprinting. So these three guys shoot another shot, scream and come sprinting along the path to where I am. [00:21:00] So what do you do in my head? I’ve been to a lot of places, seen a lot of people.

I, I have the belief that people are kind and these things don’t happen in real life. Here we are. And it’s happening in real life. Is it a misunderstanding? They’re shooting guns at me. I mean, Best case scenario. They’re just, I don’t know, playing a joke. Doesn’t sound like a joke. Worst case scenario. They are terrorists or they are crazy drunk locals who think I shouldn’t be there or something.

You know what I mean? So I have to make a decision. There’s only one way on and off where I am. It’s that little basic land bridge. They have maybe about 15 minutes of running jogging before they can make it to. Get me. I know I have, I can get there in about five. So my choice is to sit and hide on this.

Again, it’s an island, basically. There’s nowhere to hide. I can hide in the [00:22:00] castle, but there’s three guys. It’s not , it doesn’t really work that way. Or try to beat them out the front door at the front gate and climb into the mountains before they get there. So I go for that option. And I don’t wanna light my light, so I have my phone and I was like, I don’t wanna use the flashlight of my phone.

So actually what I did is I pressed record on the phone. So then I could use this, the, the, the vague light of the screen. And also, Hey, if Everything worked out. I’d have at least audio of what’s going on. So I, so I could use that very dim light just to see my, where my feet work. Cause it’s all mixed boulders and sticks and stones and stuff.

So I scramble up my feet going down between the, the holes and the rocks I grab like just my backpack, cuz my passport, I didn’t really care about my camera was like passport and basics. Right. So I, I grab that kind of. And I sprint out and I make it out the front door before they make it into the front door.

And I’m hiding on the side of this cliff, like holding onto [00:23:00] shrubs, growing up this, growing off the side of the cliff, as they walk by maybe mm, 2015 meters beside me with their flashlights and guns. I see them as I’m peering through the bushes, these guys searching for me with flashlights and guns. They go up into the cast.

And I hear them screaming and shooting again, and they walk up to the top of the, like the ramper and they’re looking and the feeling of having some people, you know, that are armed, who, in this case, I didn’t know they were trying to hurt me, but obviously they weren’t trying to be friends searching with a flashlight and you’re in the Bush.

As the flashlight crosses across your vision and you see them stop for a second. That’s a feeling , I will never forget you’re being hunt. Basically. And again, I, I just think back to, to other people in the past that other significant events that we, when you actually were hunted and you knew if you were caught, you were dead.

That wasn’t necessarily the case for me, but it was in the realm of possibility. At that point. [00:24:00] That’s a horrible feeling. I’ll never forget that. So whenever the flashlight wasn’t in my direction, I would try to scramble up the side of this cliff to get higher up into the, into the mountains. I had my cell phone and I had one sliver of 3g.

I had a friend of mine, a Turkish friend who lived a couple hours away. And he’s the only person I, I know I knew there. So I texted him and I was like, his name was Ette. And I said, Ette, I’m here at the castle. He knew I was going. I told him I was going and there’s people here and they have guns and he’s like, what do they want?

I’m like, I don’t want to know what they want, but they don’t want me here. And he’s like, okay, where’s your stuff? And I said, I left it like, well, they’re going to steal it. They’re obviously terrorists or they’re, they’re there to cause problems. So what do you have? I’m like, I have like a basic backpack on my passport and he’s like, okay, well I’ll call the police.

You sit tight. And so time goes by, it feels like hours. It [00:25:00] was about 35 minutes of me waiting and them again, shooting more shots, scream. Looking for a flashlight now they’re starting to realize, Hmm, he’s not in the castle anymore. And they’re start starting to wander back along the path where I am like towards where I am coming back around the castle.

And I was like, oh fuck. Like at that point I couldn’t really, I could climb farther, but it’s very, like, it was very dangerous and it was very cold too. It was like November and I wasn’t appropriately dressed. So in my head, I’m like, I go back down to say, Hey guys, I’m sorry, or I keep climbing and I risk exposure.

I risk falling. It was just not a good situation. But the way they were screaming, I just chose to go higher into the mountains. I didn’t even have my car keys, so I couldn’t sneak back out to the car. And there’s only one path. They would’ve seen me go back on the path. So I would’ve had to stay the night in the mountains, but I knew I didn’t wanna go back.

So I go and I’m crouched and I’m trying to get farther away and the flashlight keeps sweeping by and I sprint when it’s not [00:26:00] coming my direction. And then I get a call back from from Suat and I’m like, Hey, Suat man, they’re still here. Where are the police? And he goes, okay, the police are there. And I was like, fuck, finally, man.

And he is like, yeah, all right, just hold tight. And then I’m waiting, I’m waiting, I’m waiting. And then I, he calls me back and he goes, okay. The police have been there for, for like an hour and a. And I was like, I called you like an hour, 15 minutes ago. And he was like, yeah, but they’re there. Can you see them?

And I was like, no, I don’t see them. And I was like, I would’ve seen anybody else come because there’s only one path. And then he’s like, okay, let me call back. And then, so he calls me back and he goes, dude, those are the police they’re coming to look for you. They think you’re a terrorist and a treasure hunter.

And you’re trying to steal the treasure from Satan’s castle. And I was like, oh shit, . So what had happened is that I walked in with my big backpack full of, you know, tripods and gear and stuff. I mean, [00:27:00] tourists would come there, but they’d come with a little sack of water and snacks or something. Right. So this guy parks his car, his rental car.

He. Brings all this stuff in gear and shit. That one guy would’ve saw me, or maybe some people in the village would’ve saw me and they saw me stay. And apparently there’s this treasure, this treasure of a princess that’s hidden underneath Satan’s castle. No one’s ever found. So there was a history there.

And what had happened, man, is that the police showed up and they saw that all the lights were. Someone had cut all of the lights and the lights were there to keep treasure hunters away from the castle. And so when they showed up and they saw that the lights were cut and there was a report of a treasure hunter and terrorist stealing the treasure from the locals.

They’re like, we gotta get this guy. And that’s why they stormed the castle to get me cuz they thought I was after the princess’s treasure. So I’m there on the cliff and I’m putting all this together. And I was like, of course, of course it’s this right? Of course. Like people just don’t hunt other people in real life.

[00:28:00] But I was like, Sue, what are you? 100% sure. Because these guys seem really angry. And it’s like, no, definitely. Like I spoke to one of ’em on the phone. They’re waiting for you by your tent. and so I, I do like this walk of shame back, end up finding my head torch on the path, which I didn’t have time to find before, go up.

And I’m still like shaking, cuz I’m like these guys just were literally hunting me with guns and they shot eight shots. I meet them and they’re like, oh Mike, we’re so sorry, man. We’re so sorry. And they spoke, they spoke broken English and they’re like, why, why, why did you run? Why did you run? I’m like, cause you were fucking shooting me, man, what am I supposed to do?

And they’ve got the coll of Coff and a pistol. And I’m like, did you, did you, you were shooting at me. And he goes, oh yeah, little with this. And he hands me the pistol, the hold. And he is like, why are you here? Why are you spending the night? And I was like, I’m, I’m here. I’m, I’m the photographer. I make YouTube videos.

And he is like, oh, you’re on YouTube. What’s your channel. We’ll [00:29:00] subscribe. So these guys subscribe to my YouTube channel and then they’re like, you can’t stay here. Listen, like it’s dangerous. There’s bears. And there’s wolves. I mean, I’m used to bears of wolves with Canadian camping, but they’re like, you can’t stay here.

We’ll put you up in a, in a hotel, down the road, you know, we’ll drive you there just, don’t worry. We’re like, we’re so sorry. It’s a misunderstanding. And yeah, so they they’re like, they were happy that I wasn’t a treasure hunter and I’m happy that I wasn’t being hunted. But if you want to, here’s a, if anybody’s listen, If you wanna catch a treasure hunter don’t shoot eight shots and scream like you just F their mother sneak up on them.

If they would’ve snuck up on me with, with guns, like they would’ve saw, I was doing nothing. Number one, and we would’ve avoided this altercation shooting and screaming and storming. The castle did not make me, doesn’t make it easier to get caught. . So anyway, no harm, no foul. Hell of a good story. I did because I was using the, the, the [00:30:00] camera, the, the phone as a bit of a flashlight.

I do have some of it on camera and was able, and I was filming all that day for a video. Right. So I have, I had it. Oh, I have it all on camera. There is a YouTube video out there if you wanna watch it, but it was, it was. The the most scared I’d been traveling, which is kind of funny because my online alias is fearless and far yeah.

There was a sort of part where, as you say, you are sort of hiding from them and there there’s always that moment of like, when they’re close and you, you either want to be the first one out the block to say, Hey, Hey, like sort, obviously misunderstanding where that sort of you know, weighing up the possibilities of run or.

Own up. Where was that sort of in your mindset because you decided to run, was there a part of you that was like, this has to be, or was it just the fear and the adrenaline pumping through you that like I’m in a country? I don’t know that, well, this could be dangerous. I guess I kind of go into game [00:31:00] mode with that stuff.

Because I, I put myself, I mean, this is on the situation. I find myself often, but like, Through free diving and skydiving and scuba diving. And a lot of these adventures. I know I’m often in places where there is danger there, but. I’ve trained myself enough to handle it. So when that feeling kicks in, I’ve put a lot of time to understand fear and how it works in my body and other people’s bodies.

And that’s why I love talking about that. And that’s why the channel’s called fearless and far. Not because I am fearless, but because I’ve realized fearlessness is a choice. In most circumstances, it’s not a, a, a form of enlightenment where you, one day you become fearless. If you continue to grow as a person, you’ll always have fear.

So that’s the message. So when this happened and me knowing that this stuff doesn’t happen in real life, so rarely like lottery odds, I was like 80% chance. This is, this is a total misunderstanding. Well, they sound very angry and they are shooting [00:32:00] shots and 20% chance I just am super unlucky. And those odds, I didn’t like those odds.

If it was 99% fine, I probably would’ve owned up, but the way they were screaming and shooting, and then they sprinted towards me. Made me think that, you know, maybe this one time I’m wrong and maybe this is the, you know, the, the thing everyone’s worried about happening in front of me. And I didn’t put together, like, okay, if I did run in, into the, into the forest, into the, the mountain, What did, what would that mean in my head?

It was just that I’m getting away from them. But again, like I could fall off the cliff that’s instant death that could have even happened. You know, I, if I, if I didn’t have any reception, I would’ve spent the night in the cold on the side of a mountain that’s death from exposure, hypothermia. So those were real things I didn’t consider in the moment.

That were like the, you know, then what happens then? Big, big guy, you know, when you’re actually hiding out and they don’t leave. I, I guess I assume they’d come they’d check and then they’d leave when they didn’t find me, but they didn’t leave. They were, they, they were [00:33:00] very adamant to find me. So if I didn’t have that one bar of reception, I would’ve probably said hiding in the mountains.

I don’t know, but it was just not, not a good situation. And we all the adrenaline pumping back to the hotel. I imagine the night’s sleep that night. Would’ve been. Heart racing, trying to sort of calm yourself down. . Well, we, they drove me back to this like boutique hotel on this like Lakeside resort. It was about an hour drive away and we sat there and we smoked cigarettes and drove and drank Yi, no Iraqi together.

This moon shine type drink. So we with these guys who just, we had this experience with went back, smoked cigarettes. Drank Rocky for like two hours or something like that. And then actually I told when I, when I was in the middle of all this, and I didn’t know the outcome, the first person I messaged before Sue out was my girlfriend saying.

This guy’s here with guns. Here’s my location. And so I pinned the location and she’s like, I’m coming. [00:34:00] I’m like, don’t, don’t freaking come. Like, I don’t even know what’s happening. Just you stay where you are. Cuz she was about two hours driving, doing her own solo, camping in her four by four. I was like, don’t come.

I don’t want, I don’t need you here right now. You know? Like nothing. She’s like, oh, come, I’ll just come, come talk to them. I’m like, I, I don’t think that’s a good idea. so anyway, she didn’t listen to me and she, she drove. So she arrived about an hour after we arrived at the hotel. And so I was able to talk to her through everything after having some alcohol and cigarettes with the boys.

So all in all it turned out to be a great night. But yeah, it was, it was a few moments of just pure harrowing adventure there. I think when you sort of talk about sort of solo, camping, sorry, solo, camping, and the way it sort of breaks down that sort of fear. or the first time you do, it’s slightly terrifying for people on the, who are listening to the podcast who haven’t done it.

It’s that sort of fear that something like this might happen, but it’s incredibly rare [00:35:00] this so rare, so rare. And yeah, as I say, you know, we spoke with Ava last year, Ava, back on. Okay, well, that’s the girl, that’s my girlfriend. so she’s the one who came. Yeah, she’s the one who came and, and, and we were doing solo, separate solo campaign.

So she was sort of saying like, you know, so many times you have the most incredible experience doing the solo campaign and people sort of think that. Stuff like this happens all the time, but it is just incredibly rare, but a great story to tell as well. exactly. And so you hear the great stories, right?

And I, I had done, I’ve done so much solo, camping and all with just such an amazing feeling after, and you’re right, exactly. Cuz the first time you go, even if it’s in your backyard, you’re like you hear a snap of a twig and you’re like, oh my God, it’s a bear. But after a while, you start to put some logic into it, like if it was a bear, would the bear just magically appear next to your tent?

And the sticks would crack? No, you’d hear [00:36:00] it coming. Like when you actually hear a bear coming one time when I did go solo camping, a bear came and I could hear it coming for 15 minutes. And so finally, when it did emerge from the forest, I was like, ah, and it was like ho and it sprinted away. And that was like my greatest fear, you know, encountering a bear while, while solo camping in Canada.

But it was, it was. More spooked than I was. People shoot them with guns. They generally don’t want anything to do with people. If you have food around, it’s different. Just make sure your food’s not there, but generally. Yeah. But as you say, it’s sort of conquering that fear that you once had before you encountered that bay.

There was probably, as you say that running through your head and then once you’ve sort of had that experience, you know, how to counteract it when it does. Yeah. Maybe military police with assault rifles too. Yeah, exactly how that works. cause it was the military police. They came after me. So next time when they come shooting and screaming, I’ll be like, all right.

Hey guys, [00:37:00] I got some Rocky here and cigarette salty for you guys coming up.

Well, it’s an absolutely incredible story. And, you know, you’ve got probably a million more stories to tell, but there’s a part of the show where we ask the same five questions to each guest each week with the first question being, what does it mean to have purpose? I think it’s the key to happiness.

It’s hard to find it, but without purpose, I think you feel lost and demotivated and people wonder why they succumb to addictions, whether it be alcohol or video games or social media. Flipping through looking for likes and comments, whatever those are, all addictions without strong purpose. You, you default to those things because you need something to, to keep going.

I’m not a religious guy, but I think that we’ve, since we’ve removed religion, In a lot of people’s lives. They’ve found other ways to find purpose. I think the human soul [00:38:00] needs something to give them that. And around the world, you see people find their, their purpose through religion, through a belief system.

Well, the problem is now science is. Gotten in there and kind of metaled with a few of the the, the points. And so we don’t, a lot of us don’t believe in a higher purpose and, but what purpose do we have? None. Some find it and me travel adventure, sharing my thoughts on fear in the world. I gather bits and pieces, like some mosaic that I find views on death from Mexico and Torah and Indonesia.

And I’ve been able to build my own. I guess it’s more belief system than purpose, but through all that you find your place, but it’s hard because it takes time. I think it’s, it’s, it’s the most important thing to focus on, but it’s not something you’re gonna get by watching a, how to find your purpose video on YouTube.

It’s something you get by spending the time reading books and. Here’s the thing I like about books is that you can watch a motivational video on YouTube [00:39:00] and you feel good for a bit, but a book takes time. It’s basically like a, a series where every day, or every couple days you open, you read pages and it just affirms this belief, this, this thing, you’re learning this topic and that’s what you need.

You need to have it sink in. You have to stew in it. And if you don’t have purpose out there I would say. Journal. Like for me, I found it through journaling and reading books and traveling the world and seeing how other people lived. I journal every single day. I have a book the front half is more kind of like getting shit done.

Creatively the back half is I just do. I do morning pages. I dump the thoughts in my head. I think about all of these different bits and pieces of my life. Why I am the way I am. That’s actually how I’ve discovered one day about this rock thing and how it led to where I am. And how it’s kind of the same thing flipping over these rocks and looking at unexpected places for beauty.

It’s exactly the same thing. I found that just by putting on music, [00:40:00] either in the morning, drinking some coffee or at night cigar rum and Coke, and just kind of shooting the shit. Am I happy? Yes. Or no rating outta 10. How do I feel my, with my friendships, my purpose, just really thinking about that. Cuz it takes time and where these complicated creatures that ha you know, you get bruised as a kid.

Like for me there, as long as you like questions, For me, like going deeper into this fear thing. In grade four, I got brought up in front of a classroom and made fun of twice by the teacher and that stuck. And so for most of my life, I, I, I had a, a fear public speaking, and now obviously I don’t have a problem at all.

And that’s been my journey, like overcoming that thing and, and actually flourishing in it and becoming better than most at it because I’ve worked hard at it. But that journey in itself, I had to put a lot of the pieces together because no one gets through childhood UN bruised, like were these impression balls of clay.

And so you have these [00:41:00] childhood traumas that you’ve mostly forgot about, or you don’t know how they’ve affected your adult life. Like these little fears as kids, they manifest themselves. These adult fears. So you’re not as, you know, scared of the monster under the bed, but you’re scared of like failure or being alone, or like they manifest themselves.

They’re very smart. They there’s adult versions of these things that are basically the same thing. And you have to, you have to figure that shit out first. And then once you get all the bullshit outta the way, then purpose and deeper things, happiness and all this, and they can, they can show themselves more clearly, but there’s there’s shit.

You gotta Wade through first. There’s your, your long answer to a short, rapid fire question. ah, that was absolutely brilliant. And what about your favorite quote? I probably have two and I might change, I might have forgotten the words exactly, but ni CIN had one that said I and [00:42:00] then it, and then hold on.

I said ni again, ni Y said that, and then the time came when the risk, it took to stay in a bud overcame the risk, it took to blossom almost like that. So basically I feel like that’s how a lot of people live their life, where they live all tight in a bud. And then all of a sudden the pressure builds.

The risk, it takes to stay the same, overcomes the risk and fear it takes to change. And then your life change changes forever. And it was put very, very eloquently by her. Also, Joseph Campbell has a good one that I live my life by two. And it’s, it’s the cave you fear to enter highs, the treasure that you seek.

And that’s been a guiding light in my life because quite often, fear is a compass. Where, where you, where you feel resistance and discomfort. [00:43:00] If you go that direction. In my case, it was the public speaking dude. Like I, I, I was a shy kid with a phobia public speaking, and now I have a, a travel TV show, a, a, a, a YouTube channel with a, a million subscribers, a podcast, how it’s because I entered that goddamn cave.

The one I, with my hand, shaking in my heart, beating. People don’t do that. I, I was beaten around enough by life to do some crazy things. It’s a long story, but crazy thing is means like going on my first solo trip, I was so scared to do that. But you go and everything’s fine. And all of a sudden, if you follow that fear compass and you, you use it as a guiding light, going into those dark caves, your life changes forever.

That’s where your dream life is. That’s where you find your purpose and your happiness is by doing those things. And that’s why I speak so much about it. Yeah, I think we’ve had people on who sort of talk about like breaking out that sort of fear and [00:44:00] almost like a balloon, you blow it up and it gets a bit bigger and you think, oh wow.

I’m I can get to this. And then you blow up a bit more and it’s a bit bigger. Yeah. And gradual, and gradually, it just gets bigger. And same with like your first query. I think it’s very similar to the one of. A sailing boat was made to go to the sea and not to stay in Harbor. even though I, I voted it’s a boat in Harbor is safe, but that’s not what boats were, something like that.

One of those piece travel quotes you see, like in cursive on a white wall like this, right. well, I’ve absolutely purchased it so everyone can enjoy that one. a sh a ship in Harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are meant for. There we go. Is it John spoken perfectly. And what about your favorite travel book and why favorite travel book?

The first travel book I read was Vago bonding by Ralph pots. Got to meet Ralph Potts. He’s a super awesome guy. Just met him a couple a couple weeks ago. [00:45:00] But that book now is because that was like the first manual, how to do this. Right. And then there was like four hour work week, which kind of built on that and, and forward.

My favorite travel book there is actually, hold on. I just read one.

There we go. This is not, this is not it, but it’s by the same author. There’s a guy named Jedediah Jenkins who wrote a book called to shake the sleeping self. And I wanna bring this up specifically, cuz it’s not necessarily my favorite travel book, but I read it and I realized that this, this was called to shake the sleeping self by Jediah Jenkins.

It was the perfect book that I needed to read when I was going to first start my adventure. So I don’t know where everyone is listeners at home on your personal adventures. But if you’re looking for a book to inspire you to get out there, that’s a great book. He’s a great writer. And he [00:46:00] Chronicles how he started his bike journey from The United States, I believe down to Argentina.

Haven’t finished the book yet. I didn’t finish the book because it wasn’t the one I needed at the time, but it was a fantastic way to get the inspiration, to start a trip. And I think for most people, it’s, it’s starting the trip as the hardest part. And for me, like I was a kid from a small town. I’m not gonna find some guy at the local bar who.

It’s gonna be like, oh yeah, man, take your bike down to, to Argentina, go to Congo, go, go backpacking in Congo. It’s fine. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. That doesn’t happen. So you need, you need those, like I said, mentioned books and things to, to, to have that voice in your head podcast work too. But being able to hang out with, hang out with someone, either in a literary form or in an audio form.

To to, I mean, this podcast is the same thing. You get to meet us or hear our stories and, and hang and, and get more data points on how you can actually do these things. Really powerful stuff. So that’s what I’d recommend. [00:47:00] Definitely. If you’re looking to get out there, which I think most of us are.

Yeah, absolutely. And why are these adventures important to you? I think it’s the essence of the human soul. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just that way. I, I was always the guy who wanted to know what was over the next hill or, you know, under the next rock. And inside of us, all I feel is the, is the nomad spirit, the Explorer spirit.

We are roaming hunter gatherers originally and there. Like why have we always tried to see what’s on the other side of the ocean or the other side of the mountain? Maybe it’s because something deep down inside of us thinks it’s, you know, greener pastures or more bountiful forests with animals to eat.

I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got a Matt affliction of, of whatever that is and the world, while the world is mostly explored on a map, let’s say there’s still all kinds of incredible discoveries, all of the time, people and foods and places and animals and, and ways of [00:48:00] living. And I it’ll never end So I I’m just really drawn to that, knowing that each experience that I have using that mosaic example again.

I collect those it’s like pieces for a lens in my life. I, I don’t think I was born into a culture that gave me the correct lens. I never really felt like I totally fit in or agreed with everything that I saw. So I smashed that and I’ve been collecting bits and fragments from around the world to create my own in which I can see the world and myself in it more clearly.

And I don’t think that’ll ever be completely, there’ll always be a couple little missing pieces or a better piece I can swap in. And I like stories and I like meeting interesting people and that all ties together with this modern day adventure kind of attitude we have, I think, and seeing what the, seeing what we’re possible of.

I think like we, we don’t, we don’t use this machine that we have this, this biological. We don’t go out there [00:49:00] and test it. It’s incredible. The things our bodies can do, and we don’t ever put them to the test. I like seeing other people do these things, meeting other people who are, you know, climbing. You know, 40 meter trees to get bees nest out of canopies.

Like humans can do this stuff. People can hold their breath for 10 minutes to catch fish on the bottom of the ocean with a, with a stick. Like it’s incredible what humans can do. And I love seeing it. So yeah, all that and curiosity, you know? Yeah. It’s that sort of curiosity to see how far you can go.

Really? Exactly. And in your lifetime, what’s, where’s the most memorable place you’ve been and why?

We last year spent. About a month in Tanzania. And there’s a tribe there called the za that I had brought up, I think briefly earlier. And the za are some of the last true hunter gatherers on the [00:50:00] planet. We think like there’s lots of remote places still where people live traditionally. It’s getting less and less, man.

Most people now have cell phones and blue jeans. You can go to like maybe Papa new Guinea or maybe deep parts of the Amazon, or like north Sentinel island or something, if you dare and and find like true. You know, true experiences, authentic experience. Well, let’s say traditional experiences.

They’re all, they’re all authentic, I guess. But these guys, they reject modern technology. For the most part. They don’t want to eat Mago food, like normal people, food. They don’t want to, you use technology. They just wanna hunt in the mornings, eat meat and eat honey. That’s what they wanna do. So we got to hang out with these guys and it’s so.

So it was so powerful to me to meet someone from a life so different than mine. They wake up every morning, laying, sleeping on, on, and under the stars on the, [00:51:00] the, on the dirt. They go hunt with their boys and arrows and they crack open beehives with the bare hands. And they get stung and they giggle and they tell fart jokes and they, they chase each other and they play and they smoke pot.

They , they take like loose leaf or I’ve heard people talk about them, a missionary, try to come give them a. A Bible and they used the Bible pages as, as papers for joints. I tried to confirm that cuz they were using like newspaper and loose leaf. And then yeah, there was a missionary that came here and they’re like, oh, you should believe in our, in our God, the Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

And they’re like, okay. Yeah, sure. But where is he? Oh, he’s up in the sky. Oh, well, when he comes we’ll, we’ll, we’ll think about it, but it tell him to come. And so the, the missionaries weren’t very successful with, with the screwing guys. but you go, and I guess what I’m getting at here is like, where we were raid this baboon camp at night.

And we’re like walking [00:52:00] around in our bare feet, trying to get a baboon with a bow and arrow in the dark. And you just realize we’re all the fricking same man. We’re we’re all. Yeah, so we have different pastimes and activities, I guess, but we all like have the same foundation. We all wanna be appreciated.

We need food and water and we just. To love and procreate and have a family and all this kind of stuff. And we think we’re so different with our languages and religions and, you know, it’s, we’re not, we’re all, we’re all the same. And anything that’s, that’s gross or strange that we think it’s a problem with ourselves.

If you call something gross or weird, because it’s, it’s your problem with an understanding and you know, things in your life, peanut butter can be weird to, to someone else the, this side of the country, right? I don’t know. I guess I just fell in love with the world and how that we’re we all think we’re so different, but we’re all exactly the same everywhere we go.

And I think the question was one of my greatest adventures I kind of got off track again, or [00:53:00] most memorable. It was yeah. Hanging out with these guys hunting baboons. Realizing that we’re all this one giant family of people. And we try to put all these barriers between us language, religion, bullshit like that.

But we’re not, we’re the same man. And the world is kind. Even if some people have assault rifles and charge you in the night. They were kind guys and they apologize and they subscribed so well that’s famous subscribers. Yeah, exactly, exactly. And one of them, one of the guys still watches all my stuff and he popped into the chat cuz people were like, oh, it’s so fake.

You can see his head tour, chat this, this minute, this second. Because I had found it, but I didn’t acknowledge that, I guess. But then one of the police popped in the chat and it’s like, oh no, like we’re so sorry. He’s a good guy with miscommunication. And anyways, it’s really funny stuff, man. Oh, that’s absolutely amazing.

And yeah, as I say, the more you travel, the more you sort of get an understanding of this, the more you suddenly realize that everyone’s the same and everyone [00:54:00] who travels says that. And I think it’s a message that people need to understand, but you have to go there and see it. Yeah. You have to. Mm-hmm kind let the media just dictate what you believe and what you don’t.

Yeah, well, they, in my opinion, they it’s they love fear. Cuz fear keeps you watching and watching makes them money. So if you’re not afraid you’re not watching. So don’t go up there and live your life. Don’t don’t see for yourself. Trust us. We’ve never been there, but we know it’s it’s good. Click bait, click bait is how the world works.

My man and what is next? And how can people follow you in your future adventures? Right now? I’m in LA. Which is a bit uncharacteristic of me, but I was at the Emmys last weekend, the daytime Emmys, because the television show, I was hosting uncharted adventure, which is on the weather channel in the United States.

One hour adventure show. [00:55:00] What got nominated for an Emmy. So we did the fancy red carpet thing, more like a black suit, more comfortable eating bugs in the jungle than on a red carpet. But Hey, do the things that make you uncomfortable. So we didn’t get the Emmy, but just getting nominated in our first season for it was the category was travel adventure and and nature.

So it was such an honor to be there and be recognized in the first season. So we’re starting filming our second season in a couple weeks. We’re doing 11 countries. In 14 episodes, that’ll be the rest of my year, but Hey, I, I have, YouTube’s a place that I started. And so I’ve got four or five new YouTube videos coming up.

There, I just got back from Ethiopia where I did things like scarification with the mercy tribe. The mercy are supposed to be the most dangerous tribe in the world. They run around with like clashing the coughs and. There’s some stories, but again, going back to what we said, you meet the guys they’re freaking rad.

But they do drink cow blood and do scarification, which I [00:56:00] also did both of those things. So I got some scars in my arm, actually. I don’t know if you can see them, but mm they’re right there. Not, lighting’s not very good. Oh, But there was a lot of blood. I also drank some blood cuz that’s what they do.

And so YouTube’s, YouTube’s a fun place to be. you managed, have you managed to get the Ash and the cow dug off? Yeah, exactly. Covered an Ash and cow dug. I, I, I only brought one shirt for a week and my cameramen and my fixer were. Talking about how bad I smelled, but Hey, yo, it’s an adventure. Do you have to have a fresh t-shirt every single day?

I don’t think so. Oh, it’s good. Sun cream as well. Isn’t it that’s exactly it. That’s what I thought. And so I have a podcast as well called against the odds where we tell true travel stories and that’s done with the wander network. So podcast against the odds, YouTube, Instagram fearless and far, and the TV show’s called uncharted adventure.

Amazing. Well for everyone listening, go check it out. It’s. It’s very, very [00:57:00] interesting to watch. And some of the places you go are extraordinary and it’s amazing sort of, you know, adventures that you go on very different from the rest of the YouTubers out there who might play it safe in barley. Yeah. Yeah, no, there won’t be any B or, or best beach of Mexico, but honestly, just to finish it off, my goal is to show the world how interesting it can be.

And also that, Hey, these people that we think are so different are not. And so I will always go do what the locals do. Even if people call me crazy, they often do. Good. I just think it’s a different way of living and there’s no right. And there’s no wrong way. And I’ll always show you the local way, even if it means horrible diarrhea or a little bit of blood it’s I’m in for the I’m in, for the whole, the whole experience, man for the max.

Well, amazing Mike, thank you so much for coming on today. Thank you, John. My pleasure.

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