Being stranded in an unknown location with barely any means of survival doesn’t sound very attractive for many, yet this lifestyle is chosen by a couple of special people such as Les Stroud. Famous for his TV show “Survivorman” and some others, Les is one kind of a man whose main enjoyment in life is challenging himself by surviving in wild and unwelcoming natural environments for extended periods.
While Les Stroud’s danger-seeking escapades amazed the entire world for over a decade, his show “Survivorman” ultimately came to an end in 2016, leaving many of us wondering what his next adventure would be, but receiving not many answers in return.
So what happened to Les Stroud? What did he do after the end of “Survivorman”? Has he retired from TV or has any future projects? Stay here to know all about the whereabouts of the controversial but undoubtedly fearless “SurvivorMan”!
Where Is He Now?
Whether you know him as “Survivorman” or as Les Stroud, there’s no doubt that the man has left a mark on TV for his uncanny ability of surviving in the wild and getting out alive from some of the most difficult situations one could see themselves involved in.
As expected, such a legendary man wouldn’t just leave his craft to fade away, not even after his internationally famous show “Survivorman” came to its end. Nowadays, Les is pretty much focused on the release of his most recent children’s book “Wild Outside”, his video game “SurvivormanVR: The Descent”, and contributing to the research book “The Bigfoot Influencers”.
Despite his love for nature and the outdoors, Les is also quite active on social media. His Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are often updated, and have collectively amassed over 200,000 followers. Music has also been going well for Les, whose recently released album “Mother Earth” has seen him perform his music on stages in Canada and the US during 2022.
Some other of Les’ projects worth mentioning are the release of his DVD collection “Les Stroud Films” in commemoration of his 20th career anniversary, on top of starting his online shop Survivorman, which offers his most dedicated fans a wide variety of his merchandise – crafted knives, books and other of his works for sale. All in all, Les Stroud is as active as ever.
Video Game & Book Feature
While Les is mostly known for his career on TV and as a musician and writer, some of his recent projects are quite different from what he has done before. Firstly, his project “SurvivormanVR: The Descent” set for release in early 2023, is a videogame project based on his adventures in the wild, offering users a realistic experience on what it’s like to explore a dangerous, snow-covered mountain scenario with Les at their side, using virtual reality technology.
SurvivormanVR Poster pic.twitter.com/HKjFsAGyZU
— Survivorman 🇨🇦🎮🏞️ (@SurvivormanVR) December 17, 2022
Regarding the project’s origins, Les said that he’d had the idea of creating a virtual reality work based on “Survivorman” for quite some time, but the definitive project was prompted by his filmmaker and producer friend Dave Brady: ‘I’d been approached several times up to that point but this was a chance to work with Dave and his wonderful team he had built up at Cream Productions’, he said in an interview with producer Irene Vandertop from said company.
Les also collaborated on the book “The Bigfoot Influencers”, written by Tim Halloran and released in late 2022. Along with researchers, historians and reporters, Les is interviewed by Halloran in order to provide context to the ‘culture of the Sasquatch’ and not about the creature said to be Bigfoot, as Les affirmed on his social media. Surely this is only the start of many exciting and diverse projects which most-likely will come Les’ way.
Did He Leave Canada?
For a man so inclined to traveling and exploring what nature has to offer, it’s often assumed Les Stroud could have moved out of Canada, yet that’s not exactly the case.
As he revealed in an interview with CBC Radio in 2021, Les plans on staying in his native Ontario for many years to come: ‘I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places on the planet. But in the end, you can’t convince me that there’s anything more beautiful than Muskoka’, he said, in reference to his current hometown in Central Ontario.
Meeting a legend. Mors Kochanski. Author of the hugely important book: Northern Bushcraft. I Interviewed him for my upcoming podcast: Surviving Life with Les Stroud. Find it on Youtube and subscribe now!
Regarding his favorite things away from home, Les is evidently enchanted by cold weather, whether in autumn or winter. Nonetheless, despite loving his home country the most, at the end of the day, Les sees the entire world as a vast ground to explore, and particularly favors ‘the journey of the soul’, as he defines it: ‘It’s because a lot of other journeys require logistics, nothing more. But the journeys of love and the soul and the mind require a larger existential perspective’, he explained.
While it’s unlikely that Les will ever leave home for an indefinite time, it’s for sure that his love for adventure and the exploration of remote places all around the world isn’t over.
Who Is Les Stroud?
A native of Mimico in Toronto, Canada, Les Stroud has always done things his own way. His creativity and love of music led him to the Ontario-based Fanshawe College, where he briefly studied Music Industry Arts before moving to Toronto to pursue a career as a singer and songwriter. It was during this period that he signed his first music contracts, and also had his first experiences in the film industry, moving on from being an unknown assistant to taking part in cinematographic processes for a music TV channel.
While his love for music wasn’t diminished, by 1987 Les wanted a change of air so to speak. Packing his bags, he became a canoe guide and traveled Canada for around seven years, even starting his own company Wilderness Voice. During those adventure-filled years, Les met and subsequently married the photographer Sue Jamison, with whom he spent an entire year living in the solitude of Ontario’s boreal forests as part of their prolonged honeymoon.
That period was quite formative for Les, as living in the wilderness with little to no contact with civilization led him to develop the many survival skills we have come to know him for. Following their honeymoon, Les and Sue briefly lived in Yellowknife and Muskoka, yet the adventures weren’t over.
Although Les Stroud had his first experience in the entertainment industry while producing music videos in the 1980s, his first film-making project didn’t come until years later. Despite staying away from any modern appliances during his honeymoon, Les and his wife Sue kept a now-discontinued 8mm tape camera to film parts of their year-long adventure.
Regardless of catching some crucial moments of their time there, such as health emergencies which at times took them away from the forest, not everyone found Les and Sue’s story that appealing after they returned to their normal life in 1995. Some time passed until by a stroke of luck, an old friend of Les called Tony Armstrong from Cottage Life Television saw the potential in the project.
The footage of Les and Sue’s adventure ultimately became the documentary “Snowshoes and Solitude”, which was not only awarded at Waterwalker Film Festival upon its 2000 release, but also gave Les the perfect opportunity to improve his film-making and editing abilities, as the footage was processed by him. As the documentary took shape, Les also returned to his old music ways, and won several categories at the Spirit of the North in Ontario, releasing his first musical feature in a single entitled “Spirit..”.
Given the success of his documentary “Snowshoes and Solitude”, Les Stroud gained a place in the film-making industry, and created other shows following the same line of content. These specials were entitled “One Week In The Wilderness” and its follow up “Winter In The Wilderness”, both of which were later rebranded as one two-hour-long special entitled “Stranded” aired by Discovery Canada.
Due to their similarity of concepts, these specials are nowadays known as “Survivorman” predecessors, though the show premiered in 2005. One year later, the documentary movie entitled “Off the Grid with Les Stroud” was released, and featured Les, his wife Sue and children, as they build a home following the off-the-grid techniques learned through the years, of recycled materials: ‘Boy, is it fun – making something from beginning to end is a beautiful thing’, Les told TheStar.com back in the day.
Besides his original TV projects, Les has featured in several shows such as “Surviving Urban Disasters”, and hosted the kids-centered Cartoon Network’s “Survive This and Survive This 2” in 2010.
Why Did He Become A Survivalist?
There’s nothing stronger than the will to live differently, especially if that kind of mindset is ingrained in someone’s mind from an early age, regardless that most people regard survivalism as a permanent lifestyle more than strange. While that need to be closer to nature and living life the way he wanted was surely a big motivator into shaping the person that Les Stroud is, he never imagined that he would become famous and respected for just doing what he loves.
As he admitted in an interview with The Manual in 2021, back when he filmed “Snowshoes and Solitude”, he didn’t have any expectations of appearing on TV as a survivalist: ‘I didn’t see that all. I just wanted to get out of poverty. I wanted to make films about my adventures and to share what I loved’. Nonetheless, he added that the road wasn’t easy, especially considering the many rejections he faced.
Although Les Stroud certainly isn’t the only survivalist who’s achieved worldwide fame through TV, he was certainly one of the first and most innovative to do so. The secret of Les’ success could be attributed to his direct and educational approach: ‘For me, the entertainment and the drama is intrinsic within the scope of what I was filming with a purpose to educate’, he said in the same interview.
Given how many adventures and near-death experiences faced by Les, it’s not really surprising his creative ways have also extended to the writing field. His debut work entitled “Will To Live” was released in 2010, followed by “Survive!” two years later.
Both books gained Les nominations for awards such as the Canadian National Magazine and White Pine, along with winning the Canadian Screen Awards’ 2013 and 2015 editions in the Non-Fiction category. Other of Les’ acclaimed titles include “Survive! The Ultimate Edition”, and “Beyond Survivorman”. His most recent book, “Wild Outside” was published in 2021 and takes a different approach compared to his previous books, by focusing on children and teens, as a sort of homage to the support Les has received from these groups: ‘it was really a natural progression, and it was just a great chance to purposely direct all that I do towards younger people’, he told The Manual.
Besides his books, the comics series “The Horn Of Providence” was released in 2013, and tells the story of the Les Stroud-inspired fictional character Survivorman, who battles nature and all kinds of difficulties in order to recover a stolen artifact.
Life Since The End Of “Survivorman”
There’s no doubt that “Survirvorman” was the project which brought Les Stroud international fame as both a nature educator and survivalist. The end of the show in 2016 didn’t mean the end of Les’ career, which is evident by seeing how many projects he’s been involved with since then.
He’s been featured in several documentaries such as “Shark Week” and “Missing 411”. He also produced and hosted “Alaska’s Grizzly Gauntlet”, the short-lived “Fighting To Survive”, the TV movie “Surviving Disasters With Les Stroud”, and the 2020 released “Wild Harvest”, which follows Les and Paul Rogalski as they explore some of the most well-kept secrets about culinary tourism and food harvesting in the Canadian forests.
As admitted by Les, the idea for “Wild Harvest” was raised in the early 2010s by Rogalski, with whom he’d been friends for some time, yet never got around to developing a project together until meeting again accidentally: ‘this time we put a little motivation behind it and a little more creative thought behind it. And that’s how it came about’, he told Mashed.com.
All in all, Les Stroud has evidently been busy since “Survivorman” ended in 2016. Though it’s for sure that many people would love to see his wild adventures on screen again, he’s certainly doing well with his other varied projects.