Okay, so maybe he’s not a real Yeti…
By Tabatha LeStrange
Yukon Yeti, aka Ryan Holt will be one of the first two survivalists followed on the season premiere of Naked and Afraid, airing April 19th on the Discovery Channel, 10/9c.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan 5 years ago via my sister who had been dating him at the time. Back then, he was serving our country as a Marine, pondering life’s biggest questions, suffering from PTSD, sorting out personal struggles as many of us would have and was a sure bet that sides would be splitting from laughter in his presence.
Ryan, my sister and I stacked up like a ninja totem pole on a random, bright and sunny day in Washington D.C. for a Pirates vs. Ninja event
Fast forward 5 years, and he has hiked the Appalachian trail, spent a year as a student in a Wilderness Survival and Guiding course, went on a 36-day snowshoe expedition in Minnesota covering over 100 miles in below freezing temperatures, learned the art of bee-keeping, lives in nature and is the most genuine, positive, all loving person I know. Despite all that has changed over the years, what lies ahead and the distance between us, he is and always will be my friend, and that is an honor.
About a year ago, Ryan selectively announced that something big was in the works. My guess was that he was going to be on Survivor. After all, he had gained so much life/survival experience in and out of the Marines and he just had that personality that begged to be on screen. Well, I wasn’t the only one who had that thought. In fact, so many people encouraged him to go for it, that sure enough, he ended up auditioning! Even though he has what it takes along with a winning personality, he wasn’t much for the idea of fame. Around the same time, he was working on a rehabilitation project for vets in his native Maine which I plan to write more about in pt.2. I remember saying how being in the limelight could be good for this labor of love. That he could take it and run in the direction he wanted to go. Even if it dissipates soon after, his project would still garner attention.
The video of his audition was shared on Facebook and now everyone knew something big was in the works. The powers that be decided he was just too good for the show and that it would be unfair to the other competitors to have someone as good as him in the competition. This was my personal belief of course. If he had made it on Survivor, he would have won, 100%. One show’s loss was another show’s gain though because he landed a spot on the Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid and that was the real news. In your FACE Survivor!
Even though he wasn’t selected to be on Survivor, this video shows you how much he’s accomplished. It’s really amazing and it’s only over 2 minutes long. Worth a watch!
Just a glimpse of Ryan’s personality and accomplishments. Who couldn’t like this guy?
I got in touch with Ryan and proposed an interview for AAGG before the premier aired. He was stoked (as usual), and agreed to share his story. At the time, he was in Maui, Hawaii. We were going to try for a video interview, but he couldn’t connect where he was (always in nature, never a posh hotel), so we decided to follow through via email. Unfortunately, connectivity on all devices has been an obstacle, so the interview will now be taking place after his episode has aired.
This works out well because he can only disclose so much information about the show before it actually airs anyway. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even know how he scored, so when we find out, he finds out, how exciting! We’ll get to talk more in depth about the show and how he feels about his score.
For those that don’t know about how Naked and Afraid works, here is the rundown;
Two strangers, one male and one female, are stripped down naked and dropped off in the wilderness where they have to survive for 21 days by being resourceful. Here, they are partners, not competitors. At any time, they can throw in the towel. However, if one of them bows out, the other can keep going.
Ryan’s partner in the season 4 premier.
The only thing given to them by the crew is a satchel, a map and a personal camera for documentation when the camera crew leaves at night. The two are allowed to bring one helpful item each. A helpful item being a hatchet, fire starter, etc.
The beauty of this show is that it is as real as reality gets. It’s what reality TV should be. There are no scripts, and zero intervention of any kind by the crew. The only assistance provided by the crew is medical and it has to be an emergency.
There is no reward at the end of the show, there is no money, no certificate, nothing. So you know the intentions of everyone on this show are good and the real prize is personal. Each person gets rated a PSR (Primitive Survival Rating) at the end of their expedition. The highest rating is a 10. So far, no one has achieved a 10 in any of the show’s previous 3 seasons. The highest score so far is claimed by Forrest Galante (Panamanian coast) from season one with an 8.8.
Ryan’s episode takes place in the Florida Everglades where some of the threats are alligators, water moccasin, panthers, black bears and everyone’s favorite, the mosquito. Mosquitoes were the reason a couple tapped out in season 2, but when we’re talking Amazonian mosquitoes, we can all understand. I think we just may see the first 10 on the show ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first!
I would be shocked if Ryan doesn’t get a 10, but I’d be more shocked if at the very least, he doesn’t come out with the highest score in the show’s history.
Here’s a sneak peak of Ryan’s episode. Take a look and stay tuned for another short clip from the show when an unexpected visitor is heard nearby.
Check out Ryan’s bio on Naked and Afraid. Follow the Yeti wherever you can, he really is inspirational and one of the most interesting people on the planet. You won’t regret it.
Follow Yukon on:
If you were on this show, what beneficial item would you bring? Do you think you could last 21 days with nothing in the wilderness? Leave your answers in the comment section! Until the follow up interview, I hope you all join me in watching the season premiere of Naked and Afraid this Sunday, April 19th on the Discovery Channel, 10/9 central.
Often times referred to as Optimus Prime, Tabatha LeStrange is a machine. A ghost machine.
Catch her if you can on Twitter @BD_Danger
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