Travel Hits & Misses: My Year with the Tribe’s Will Millard


I’ve been an angler my entire life and recently I’ve been lucky enough to make a living from my passion.

I started to take my fishing more seriously during a six-month journey in the Southern Pacific back in 2012.

It began in Gisborne with the wedding of two of my closest friends, and an offer from the new bride’s Father to try my luck on his boat.

Hours of reel-screaming action with rabid shoals of kahawai isn’t anything out of the ordinary for those that fish Poverty Bay regularly, but for a British angler, who was usually thrilled to catch fish the size of our baits, it amounted to a day of near piscatorial perfection.

I rounded my trip off with a giant trevally the size of my front door. That fish, and the film it featured in, brought me my first big break in television; but it was that afternoon in Gisborne that had truly set me on my way.

MISS: In my late 20s I made the worst navigational error of my life and almost starved to death in the Papuan rainforest.

I had been looking to find and record what I believed to be an ancient tribal trade route linking the pig trading clans of the mountains with the crocodile hunters of the lowland forest, but sadly, for both my expedition partner and myself, no such route had ever existed.

We spent weeks cutting our way back through thick jungle, facing down giant tarantulas, angry forest pigs, white water rivers, and dozens of deadly snakes in the process.

One of the worst moments was being stung in the face by jungle hornets. They conceal their nests in dry leaves and attack your eyes, ears, and lips en-masse; leaving their victims looking like they had seriously botched a botox job.

When we eventually made it out we had both lost 16kg, but luckily we walked away with our lives.

Will Millard presents My Year With The Tribe, Mondays, 9.30pm, BBC Earth

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