Death defying TV explorer Levison Wood has been ambushed by ISIS, survived a tragic car accident which lead him to fall off a cliff and was smuggled into Yemen by a rebel militia.
But his latest big adventure starts this weekend.
The 36-year-old explorer, writer and photographer is about to reveal all about his amazing exploits in a 12 date theatre tour which gets underway at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, October 28 - then Leeds Town Hall on Monday, October 29.
His Journeys Through the Badlands and Beyond tour will also take hm to Manchester, Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, Bath, Southampton, London, Nottingham, Stoke and Belfast. Full details below.
It's his second talk tour and the show will again be jam-packed with Levison sharing his unique experiences and unseen footage from his travels in some of the world's most dangerous cities.
And although he says he never gets frightened - he admits at the end of stressful journeys he likes to relax with a normal holiday destination.
“I get my fix in dangerous countries every six months. But then I have normal holidays in places like Ibiza and the Algarve,” he laughed, i a chat ahead of the tour.
“It’s not all explosions!"
But on tour he will share tales from his most recent journeys across some of the most perilous danger zones on earth.
With behind-the-scenes moments from his travels over the Caucasus Mountains and his circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula, Levison will challenge the myths and stereotypes that plague these ancient lands.
Levison’s fascinating and humorous anecdotes reveal the real life stories of the ordinary people he met who call these places home: from Palestinian fighters to Iraqi snipers; refugees to Bedouin nomads.
If you want to know what it’s like to be ambushed by ISIS, have tea with Hezbollah and cross pirate-infested waters in a wooden dhow - this is the man in the know.
He also hopes to challenge preconceptions about certain people. “I met Iraq’s most famous sniper, who has fought in every conflict since 1973 and killed 345 people. He may have shot at American and British soldiers in the past, but he went on to fight ISIS. Just because he’s been on the opposite side from me in the past, he wasn’t necessarily a bad person.”
He added: “You also can’t tar entire countries with the same brush. People forget, for instance, that Damascus is a beautiful city full of millions of people where you can go to a nightclub or stop at a café for a latte.”
He has just completed his most ambitious expedition to date – a 5,000 mile, five month circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula from Iraq to Lebanon for an upcoming documentary series, with his accompanying book ‘Arabia’ being published on November 1.
His most recent TV series From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier aired on Channel 4 for four weeks.
A former captain in the Parachute Regiment, who served in Afghanistan, Levison said: “You can’t get scared. You have to go into professional mode and revert to your military training.”
“There are lines I won’t cross. But you accept the risks on these journeys. By pushing the boundaries, you can come back with stories that no one else has got and give audiences an insight into a world they have never seen before. My aim is to shine a spotlight on stories that have been forgotten.”
He added of his new tour: “It will all be completely new content. It will include lots of unseen footage from my forthcoming series about the Arabian Peninsula.
“It’s one of the most controversial regions in the world and one of the most difficult to travel in, especially if, like me, you’re trying to maintain an objective standpoint. Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are all hotspots which are in the news for the wrong reasons.”
The show will also feature an extensive Q & A session.
He says: “The great thing about the show is that it will be very interactive and people will have the opportunity to ask me lots of questions.
“You can’t detach yourself from it when you hear the personal stories of people who have lost family members. But meeting people and hearing their experiences is what this journey is about.”Levison hopes to deliver an uplifting message through Journeys Through the Badlands and Beyond.
He said: “It’s not all doom and gloom. I’m very positive about people. The reality is that despite what you see in the news, most people are pretty decent. The beauty of the Middle East is that people are very hospitable.
“If you put yourself in someone’s care, they’ll look after you. The fact that I’m still here to tell the tale proves as much! I’ve been able to go to dangerous places by putting my faith in the kindness of strangers. Yes, there are risks, but they are always greatly outweighed by moments of tremendous hospitality.”
Journeys Through the Badlands and Beyond UK Tour Dates
Sun 28 Oct Sheffield City Hall
Mon 29 Oct Leeds Town Hall
Wed 31 Oct Manchester O2 Apollo
Fri 2 Nov Cardiff St David's Hall
Sat 3 Nov Liverpool The Auditorium at Echo Arena
Sun 4 Nov Glasgow Pavilion Theatre
Wed 7 Nov Bath Forum
Fri 9 Nov Southampton O2 Guildhall
Sun 11 Nov London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Wed 14 Nov Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Sun 18 Nov Stoke Victoria Hall
Mon 26 Nov Belfast Ulster Hall