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A natter with… Jordan Wylie

Full time adventurer and ex-soldier Jordan Wylie may be recognised for his role as a hunter in Channel 4's Celebrity Hunted or for his appearances on tv shows documenting his attempts at extreme runs across some of the worlds most dangerous landscapes. 

Nowadays, Jordan is a full-time adventurer and author and spends most of his time trying to encourage young people to have big goals and dreams and then work hard to achieve them.

T Wo

Images courtesy of SUP Magazine / James May Media and Stephen McGrath

In this article Sarah Thornely interviews Jordan for a fantastic article available to read in full in the latest edition of SUP Magazine. Click here to read in full.

For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of meeting you Jordan, can you give us a brief description of who you are?

Firstly, thank you so much for inviting me to share a bit about my journey to date, it’s a pleasure to contribute to your awesome magazine. I have taken a lot of inspiration from your articles in the past so hopefully I can provide a bit of magic back to help other readers as a thank you for their support. These days I’m a full-time adventurer and author and spend most of my days trying to help encourage young people to have big goals and dreams and then work hard to achieve them.

I’m very proud to be the U.K. ambassador for the Army Cadet Force, having spent 10 years in the Army myself as a soldier and serving around the world. I think it is so important that we do our best to try to inspire the next generation. For me they are our country’s greatest asset and the world is changing and becoming more complex than ever before, so we must do everything we can to give them the best chance in life.

I’m fortunate to have a small public profile from working on TV in recent years, some people may recognise me as one of the cast of Channel 4’s Hunted and Celebrity Hunted, where I am one of the Hunters. Some of my expeditions have also featured on Sky TV too which has helped me a lot to be able to reach more young people in the world. I’m not really a fan of the ‘celebrity culture’, I much prefer real people doing real things. The world is full of a lot of very uninspiring famous faces and in a world that is more connected than ever, with things such as social media and smartphones – we need influencers and those with a profile of some sort to be accountable for their actions and the messages they post. Personally, I take this very seriously and work hard to make sure that the content I create is educational, motivational and inspiring. I certainly don’t always get it right but like everyone, I try to continue to learn and grow daily in all aspects of my life. 

We will get to SUP later but let's start at the beginning – what or who encouraged you to join the Army?  

To be very honest, I didn’t do too well at school at all. I left with no real formal qualifications and didn’t have the grades to go to sixth form or university. That said, I have always loved travel, adventure and the great outdoors and my Dad was a former Royal Marine Commando too, so I guess it was the natural choice from very limited options.  

I am very proud to say though that I went back to education as I grew up and matured and have since completed my BA (Hons) and Master’s Degree in the fields of Risk Management. 

Do you feel this was a life-changing decision and did you enjoy your time in the Army?  

Joining the British Army was arguably one of the best decisions I ever made. The life lessons, opportunities and friendships the military offers cannot be found anywhere else. I have no shame in saying I turned from a young naughty teenager to a respectable adult and most of that was down to my experiences in the Army. 

The British Army is an organisation that is built on the highest of standards and core values. Even today 10 years after leaving, I try my best to maintain those same values in everything I do. We have six core values that I share with cadets, school children and young people everywhere I go. They are courage, respect for others, integrity, discipline, loyalty and selfless commitment. I try to use these values as a decision-making tool in everything I do. The Army has definitely been my best teacher in life along with my parents.  

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Having left, you went into maritime security and because of one major situation during that time you wrote a book about the experience - had you ever written before and did this change things for you personally?  

Yes, after leaving the Army I pursued a career in the maritime security sector like a lot of former service personnel. I was in a main battle tank regiment as a soldier and thankfully we don’t need them in the civilian world and hopefully never will!  

I wrote a book about my experiences called ‘Citadel, which went on to be a bestseller in the UK and US, which opened a lot of new doors and opportunities for me on a personal and professional level. I was never someone who loved writing nor did I have any big aspirations to become an author, until I really discovered the benefits later in life, especially in recent years. Writing allows you to express yourself in a way that you can’t do in spoken words I feel. It also allows you to connect with people all around the world without even meeting them. I love the fact you can help or perhaps inspire someone you have never met by your words. I love collecting and reading quotes from people and researching what they were thinking or going through at the time they said something that went on to be popular. I love that a quote can mean so many different things to so many different people – depending on where they are on their own personal journey.  

Somebody once said to me many years ago that writing a book will be one of the best business cards you can ever carry and it seems to be true in some respects. People want to ask you questions, learn more about your story and also learn from the highs and lows you have experienced. Talking of quotes, one of my favourites is, “A wise person learns from their mistakes but an even wiser person learns from the mistakes of other people…” That’s one of the great things about reading and writing – learning. 

You have done some extreme adventuring – can you tell us more about some of your achievements? 

I really like the concept of extreme adventure and being able to push the boundaries of physical and psychological endurance. I truly believe that anything is possible if we are prepared to work at something, train harder, manage the risks and accept the sacrifices that need to be made. To be honest I think that is the same in all aspects of life, not just adventure – for me it’s the same in business, love and education too!  

My greatest achievement in life though is not any award, trophy, accolade or expedition – it’s my daughter Evie. To be a parent is the biggest honour in life for me, every day is a blessing.  

Did Army life give you the mental capacity to be able to achieve these monumental feats?  

The Army prepares you to go into some very extreme, remote and complex environments, which are often hostile too, so that definitely gives you an advantage. As soldiers we have often seen and experienced things that most people never will and in my experience, when we transfer it into the adventure context, I find myself prepared to push further into the unknown, as for me this is where my growth is the strongest.  

I love the spirit of adventure and try to embrace it every day and encourage my friends, family and especially my daughter to do the same. For me though my major expeditions are more about the impact and what good we can do in the world to help others. All my expeditions are for charitable purposes and to be a serious fundraiser in the modern world you need to take on bigger risks, create new challenges and go to places where others have never been.  

I am very much an ordinary person though; I wasn’t in the special forces and I’m not the fittest or fastest. I just set myself goals and work towards them daily, whilst trying to help the next generation at the same time.  

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