Photo: Media Team in Port Au Prince, Haiti
L-R: Driver, Bodyguard 1, Dan Denardo, Javier Suarez Martin, Ron Sim, Driver, Emily Lynch, Personal Aid, David Blum, Bodyguard 2
Today, when I watch reality shows like Survivor or repeat episodes of Fear Factor, I have to chuckle. You think building a hut or sticking your hand in a tub of worms is hard? Try treading through a minefield in rural Cambodia moments after hearing one go off; or carrying 50lbs worth of gear up a mountain in the Borneo Jungle while leaches feast on every vein in your body; or sweeping through the Helmand desert in Afghanistan with elite special forces commandos.
When you hoist a camera and a note pad for a living and decide to venture into the unknown--the game you play goes like this: If you lose, you die, and if you win, you get to do it again, and again, and again, and watch as friends die, until you die or retire. Period.
You don't study to become an expert in war zones or how to shoot and survive in remote environments--you just do it, and grow into the role. And as far as survival is concerned, you don't get better at "surviving;" you just keep getting lucky. But make no mistake--for the men and women that do what we do, luck is like a blind trust fund--you can make withdrawals but not deposits--and you have no idea how much is left.