Adventurer Levison Wood has walked the length of the Nile. The journey took him nine months. He’s been to over 90 countries as a British army officer and as a traveller. But Wood’s biggest challenge is probably becoming Clinique For Men‘s latest ambassador.
Dispensing with high cheekbones and perfect jawlines, the grooming brand’s latest global campaign, named #BehindTheFace, chooses to celebrate the everyday man and his achievements. Of course, there’s nothing everyday about Wood but that’s the beauty of it. Anyone can be Wood.
We have a quick chat with the explorer about his adventures and grooming regime while on the road.
What do you always take with you on a trip?
With any trip you need to make those calls on what you take, depending on the environment, if you’re going to the mountains, you need the cold weather gear, you might need your ice pick. If you’re going to the jungle, you need a separate kit list. But at the same time, I don’t go anywhere without a compass, I don’t want to get lost. There are certain little things that you just need, like your survival pack.
But I always take at least one set of semi-smart clean clothes because you just never know who you’re going to meet along the way and what you might get invited to, to go and meet somebody important. I’ve been arrested on like five continents, just because you come to a checkpoint, the local policeman doesn’t necessarily speak English, and as a result, you have to go and explain yourself, show your paperwork. So, it’s important to not look too scruffy in those situations.
When you’re traveling do you get judged based on your appearance?
First impressions count for everything, people make assumptions and judgments based on what you look like, and I travel in some really remote areas, which means that people do make assumptions.
I try to meet people on their own terms. That means I travel on foot, I don’t carry expensive things, I travel the way that I guess local people do in their own communities. That means that people don’t automatically assume that you’re a rich foreigner who is a walking dollar sign, hopefully. And I think what that means is that you can have genuine, authentic interactions with people and find out what their stories are.
Do you feel you have a certain responsibility in your travels?
When you’re traveling in other people’s cultures, there will always be that prejudgment that they’re potentially looking at you because they think you are wealthier than they are, or that you’re coming with the burden of some historical legacy. But generally people are quite forgiving, they won’t judge you necessarily, they might not like your government or its past legacy. The responsibility simply lies in being a decent human being, wherever you go. You don’t have to feel like you’re an ambassador for your own culture, only in so much as that you can try and relate to what they’re about and just be understanding, have some empathy and, and rapport with other people.
What’s personal success for you?
Personal success for me is being able to look back and realize that you’ve made more decisions based on not being scared, than being scared. If you can look back and honestly say, I did that because I was passionate about it, or I did that because that was my love. If those decisions outweigh those that you made because of fear or because you didn’t know what was going to happen, then that is success.
How do you take care of your skin?
I thing the main step is remaining hydrated, using moisturizer and also sunscreen, SPF. Get a decent factor, don’t be shy and make sure you cover yourself properly, so that you protect against skin cancer, but also to keep yourself from getting too weathered, too soon.
Check out Levison Wood in the video above and find out more about the campaign here.