Jim Baird always wondered whether he could survive the wilderness, and when he was cast in The History Channel's reality show "Alone", he got his chance.
After 75 freezing days in Northern Vancouver Island's bush, Baird and his brother defeated six other teams and lived to tell the tale to a packed house at London Library's Wolf Performance Hall.
Before the talk, he stopped by CBC London's studio to speak with Afternoon Drive guest host Jennifer Hall.
"I think everybody wonders, 'Can we do it? Can we survive and for how long?'" Baird said.
The journey started with a helicopter dropping Baird off in the wilderness. His first task was to find his brother Ted, his partner in the competition, who was at a stationary point somewhere else on the island. Baird had no map, but he did have a compass, a tarp, a pound of food and video equipment.
Alone, freezing and hungry, Baird managed to scare off a cougar by screaming at it while holding an axe.
He also enjoyed a tasty diet of mushrooms and slugs.
"I was hungry enough that I was actually excited to eat these things," Baird said.
After eight days, he found his brother. Together, they constructed a canoe and a rudimentary fishing rod while trying to stay warm — temperatures were well below freezing and it was the rainiest November the island had ever had.
"I learned what a special relationship I have with my family and that I have with my brother," Baird said. "That's something you start to take for granted, so you really realize these things when you're out there surviving."
It took over two months and the loss of a quarter of his body weight, but Baird wants people to know how much it's made him appreciate life in civilization.
"People get mad if they miss lunch."