MIXED BAG “There were these blood-sucking flies that sucked our blood for three hours. So right when we get to the location (where they found a water source), she said, ‘Oh my god.’ And my mentality was, ‘I’m walking around sucking the air and I’m eating those (suckers). And she thinks I’m being crazy, but I’m trying to give her the mentality of, look, these are a gift.” Golding loved every minute of the terrible condition he was eventually reduced to by the end of his journey. It’s not surprising then that one of his inspirations is Hatuey, a 16th century tribal chief who fled the island of Hispaniola for present-day Cuba. He was burned alive by Spanish pirates after stubbornly rejecting his captors when they asked if he would accept Jesus Christ and be allowed into heaven. “I loved the part of almost dying. I loved every bit of it. Because to me it’s beautiful art. It was the reality that this thing really happened to me – almost dying. The two times that I almost
died in my life were caught on film, and they’re now beautiful art. I love my moments of almost death,” says Golding, who gleefully asked the camera operator and producer on location if anyone had ever died on the show and said it would be an honor to be the first. “So I don’t view death as negative. I view it was a beautiful transition. I programmed my brain to think that way.” As it turned out, Brazil was everything Golding hoped it would be. “Oh god, it was savanna. I didn’t see one piece of scat. I didn’t see one mammal the whole time I was there. I didn’t see one ripe (piece of) fruit. I didn’t see one snake. I was starving. They put me in this barren hell, but luckily, I had beautiful water.” And by the time he returned to the hustle bustle of L.A., Golding made sure to memorize at least one important phrase in Portuguese, the same words that now adorn his back. “Consumir o mínimo possível! Eu estou aqui pelas crianças e pelos animais do mundo!” CS
22 California Sportsman APRIL 2018 | calsportsmanmag.com
“I told the producers and insisted, ‘I’m not one of these people on the show who’s here to test himself.’ I’m a man who knows exactly why he’s alive,” Golding says. “And I’m alive to consume as little as possible. I want to change the world.” (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)
Editor’s note: Like Gary Golding at facebook.com/tarzanoflosangeles. His Naked and Afraid episode was set to air the first weekend in April. New episodes of the show can be seen on Sundays at 10 p.m. Pacific. For more, go to discovery.com/tvshows/naked-and-afraid.