Law of the Jungle



In my younger years, a classic novel that grabbed my imagination was Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Surviving on an island after shipwreck, saving a cannibal’s life from others, and making whatever he needed from what was available.

Then MacGyver was a television series that caught my attention. Always able to get out of any bind with anything from the shelf within plain sight. Watching it now, some of the scenes are corny.

Wearing camouflage during my middle and high school years and spending a few years with Civil Air Patrol, I was interested in reading survival books and collecting any trinket that had to do with outdoor camping and survival. I ended up just being interested in the pictures than learning how to apply those skills.

I’ve watched many survival series and I prefer the outdoorsman who avoids taking a tent and recreational vehicle to go camping. I hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT) during high school from Newfound Gap to Fontana Dam for a whole week and learned to pack light. Camped over night with mummy bag, two walking poles and a clear drop cloth to make a lean-to. I’ve even slept in a rope-woven hammock in the Pisgah national forest but soon learned a quilt underneath would be helpful to keep in the warmth during cold nights. I used to camp alot then, now not so much although it’s still an interest in the back of my mind.

Now my interest lies in Korean television series, Law of the Jungle. It’s a variety show with all Korean-speaking participants from Korea (South) who go to locations across the world and survive by living off the land. There’s a main man who leads the group and it’s not always the same group each time. They’ll have one group for one-two weeks, then half the team leaves and are replaced with others. Each person has expressed interest in coming directly to the filming producer, have mentioned it in other shows or have been recommended by others who went. There’s a large camera crew, producer, assistant producer, doctor, local translator, and knowledgeable person on the plants/fruits. Safety has always been important and they are treated by the doctor if they are stressed, sick or hurt. More dangerous accidents are taken to a hospital. Most times, the survival team can trade to get spices and sauces that the film crew has on hand. Smartphones and pre-made food are the two items I have seen taken from them at the beginning of the trip because they really want them to learn to live off the land. Most of the participants are actors who have never done anything more than sing, so they are unaware of how to saw, cook, clean fish, etc. There are a few of them that are good at everything and others who have come multiple times. I like to see the different shelter builds; hear the Korean language to pick up new words (tried to learn it for a year but I wasn’t very motivated); see actors, actresses and singers who I’ve seen in their music videos and dramas, change from being on this show; and see how these people act outside and away from their peers.

For now, this show is one of the Korean productions that I enjoy watching once each week.


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