"Survival for me was never a “hobby” or an “area of study” as it is for so many comfortable westerners. For me it was born out of necessity and it was a way of life. I had to survive in the bush, survive the hardships of an extremely demanding, antiquated schooling system, survive terrible political turmoil on the farm and throughout the country and finally survive tremendous culture shock and change as I assimilated into the USA."
- Forrest Galante in an interview for Discovery Channel
In Galante’s quest to get closer to nature, he became an expert in primitive survival and was scouted and cast by the Discovery Channel for their "Everest of Survival Challenges"— Naked and Afraid.
In December 2013, Galante spent 21 days in the Panamanian Jungle with nothing but his wits, an interesting partner and another pair of survivalists. He was considered the leader of the group and not only survived, but thrived, during the 21 days.
Galante did so well that he scored one of the highest PSR (Primitive Survival Rating) of any of the participants in the history of the show and has since been called upon by the network and a variety of sources to help with ideas and scouting for future survivalists.
"Survival is dynamic, so the area and habitat really dictates the appropriate tools to bring!"
Forrest's Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Survival
Q: "What were some of the types of things that were an absolute necessity for you to do in order to survive, and how did you do it. For example, hoy you found food, water, protected against bugs, clothing, etc.."
A: Great Question!!
The main keys to survival are:
Water - It rained 19 of our 21 days, so this was no challenge!!, we just had to cut bamboo to store it in.
Shelter- This was a challenge, as although building a shelter is easy, building one that keeps out torrential downpour for weeks at a time out of nothing is very challenging!
Food - Fortunately, if you know how and where to look natural food is all around. We had oysters, fish, lobster, limpets, snails, fruits, mushrooms, clams and more!
Fire - Used to keep warm, cook food and boil water. In our case this was much less of a necessity as we had plenty of fresh rainfall and edible fruits and fish that could be consumed safely raw. We did however manage to get a fire using Russell's fire starter on day 10.
“Explore - Survive - Live.”
Forrest on Being Naked
"Clothing is your first line of defense against the elements! Having shoes and some clothes would have made the challenge a lot easier for movements through the thorny jungle and over the sharp rocks. It also would have been warmer, so our energy reserves wouldn't have been as zapped as our bodies burnt precious calories to stay warm."