Man living i9n a swamp still feels the 'happiest,' he tells Ben Fogle

Former businessman, 70, who left a six-figure salary behind to live in a swamp tells Ben Fogle he feels like the ‘luckiest, richest’ man alive – even after the cabin he spent years building was burned to the ground

  • Colbert, 70, used to work for American express and lived in a mansion with wife 
  • But he grew disillusioned, divorced and moved into the swamp lands of Georgia
  • Spent six years building a magical cabin entirely made of wood, told Ben Fogle 
  • Ben travelled back to Georgia, to find that Colbert’s cabin had burnt down
  • Swamp man explained he still felt the ‘richest’ and luckiest in spite of harships 

Ben Fogle was stunned to find that Colbert, a man living in a swamp, had had to rebuild his life completely in the last six years. 

Ben originally met Colbert, 70, in a Georgia swamp for for Channel 5’s New Lives in the Wild in 2014. For Return to the Wild, airing on the channel on Tuesday at 9pm, the TV presenter and adventure reunited with the eccentric hermit who left a successful career for a life in the damp. 

Before moving to the wild, Colbert earned $10,000 a month working for American Express and lived in a mansion, but after growing disillusioned with his life, he left his wife and moved to the swamps.  

Colbert revealed that since Ben’s last visit, his life had changed drastically after a fire burnt his home to the ground, forcing him to start over once again. 

In spite of these hardships, Colbert – who lives off the land by hunting, fishing and growing his food – said he said he still feels like the ‘luckiest and richest man’ in the world. 

In Tuesday’s Return to the Wild, Ben visits Colbert, whom he first met in 2014, and hears that the wild man, who lives in Georgia, has rebuilt his cabin after it burnt down (pictured: the cabin, Colbert and Ben on his latest visit) 

The TV presenter and adventure once again met with the eccentric hermit, who left a successful career for a life in the swamp, after having originally been introduced six years ago  

While devastated by the loss of his home, which had taken him years to build from materitals found in the swamp, Colbert said he decided to see it as an opportunity for rebirth.  

‘I happened to be with a couple of friends and they said “Where’s your cabin?” and I looked, and I blinked and it has disappeared.

‘But then I saw smoke, and ashes and bits and residue from the fire and a couple of burning, steaming poles, that were charred.

‘The first thing that came to my mind was absolutely awe, no words,’ he went on. 

Ben was amazed by Colbert’s resilience after he spent six years building a new house, as well as working on other projects, such as a tree house 

The loss of his home was made even more heartbreaking by the fact it had taken years for Colbert to build it. 

He had taken the time to hunt the swamp for the perfect pieces of wood for his abode, only to see it go down in flames. 

However, not easily defeated, the wild man started to build his new home. 

‘I saw it as an opportunity to rebuilt my life and ever since that day I’ve been nothing but thankful,’ he told Ben. 

The first time he met Colbert, Ben learned how he survives by hunting wild animals, fishing and eating off the land 

Colbert’s new 100 sq ft house is built on two levels, and is functional, with a kitchen area with pans and jars and sleeping quarters, but no internet or running water.   

‘I worked day and night for about six years, trying to find the pieces of wood that I could use,’ he explained. 

‘I always kept in mind I wanted it smaller, more efficient and a little better built,’ he said of the new cabin. 

Speaking of the experience of losing everything,  as well as growing older in the hostile swamp environment, Colbert offered words of wisdom. 

In spite of the hardships he’s faced, Colbert had not changed, and deemed himself the ‘luckiest, perhaps richest, man in the world’ (pictured now)

‘It’s hard to describe it in a short sentence, but I feel overwhelmingly blessed,’ he told Ben. 

‘Every year we’re getting older, but as long as my spirit stays young I can still hang out in this older body and prepare for what’s next.

‘I feel like the luckiest, maybe one of the richest people in the world,’ he added.

On top of rebuilding a house where he could cook and live, Colbert also built a tree house, which he had started before Ben’s initial visit.  

Ben was amazed and humbled by the septuagenarian’s show of resilience, and admitted there was more depth to him than he initially thought.  

When Ben met Colbert for the first time for the 2014 show, he was taken aback by the then 64-year-old’s relaxed approach to sex, nudity and life in the swamp.

The presenter had struggled with uneasiness on several occasion during his first visit, because he ‘got to know his host a little too well.’

When Ben met Colbert for the first time for the 2014 show, he got Ben laughing as he jumped into the swamp for some skinny dipping

Colbert was not self-conscious about his nudity, admitting that depending on the company, he would fish and walk about the swamp naked.

He got Ben laughing as he jumped into the swamp for some skinny dipping as the presenter tried to keep his distance.  

He also boasted about the sex parties he had with women he invited to his cabin and quizzed poor Ben about his own sex life, asking him whether his romps lasted more than 20 minutes.   

Ben Fogle: Return to the Wild airs Tuesday night at 9pm on Channel 5. 

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Meghan and Harry are ‘living the fairytale’ in LA – and got their mega mansion as they ‘know people’, reveals Gayle King

MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry are “living the fairytale” since moving to LA with one-year-old son Archie, friend Gayle King claims.

The US host, who is a close friend of the Duchess of Sussex, reflected on the couple’s relationship on their second anniversary on Monday.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the CBS This Morning host said: “They've got a little baby, Archie, they're living in the United States, and I think the fairytale continues for them and it just makes me happy.”

Harry and Meghan are believed to be staying at producer Tyler Perry’s swanky £15million Tsucan-style villa in LA.

And while it was rumoured that Meg’s pal Oprah Winfrey had orchestrated the stay, Gayle, 65, says that’s not the case.

She continued: “Oprah didn't hook that up. Harry and Meghan know people.

“Tyler knows people. Oprah knows people but she did not make that connection for Harry and Meghan to live in Tyler's house.”

The Tuscan-style villa offers spectacular, sweeping views of the city from their ultra-exclusive neighbourhood.

And inside, the home is kitted out with all the amenities any A-lister could crave, including a Grecian spa-style bathroom with white pillars and a sunken bath.

There is also a spacious kitchen with a marble island that looks perfect for foodie Meghan to whip up some meals for her small family.

Meghan and Harry reportedly flew on Tyler’s £120m private jet to move into his Beverly Hills mega-mansion in March.

Insiders told the Daily Mail: "It was a well-planned operation that appears to have worked perfectly" – allowing the couple to avoid any type of wait at customs.

It is unknown whether the couple are renting or staying there as guests, but there is no record of the mansion having been sold.

Aerial photographs reveal the couple's A-list neighbours – with red carpet stars such as Katy Perry, Jennifer Lawrence and Sir Elton John. 

In other royal news, we told you how Kate and William didn't publicly congratulate Harry and Meghan on their second anniversary.

And Meghan Markle loved learning martial arts her former trainer has revealed – and she chatted to him in Spanish.

Meanwhile, the Queen is said to have found Meghan Markle’s wedding dress ‘surprising’ because it was so white, royal sources claim.

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Woman living in a van had to give up showering due to the coronavirus pandemic

What’s it like living that van life amid the coronavirus pandemic?

A little grubby, in all honesty.

One woman who lives in a van says she’s had to give up showering due to lockdown measures, as her motorhome didn’t have warm running water and public spaces where she would usually bathe are closed.

Freelaance commercial photographer and videographer Nikki Bigger, 29, originally from Kingston, Canada, has been travelling around in a van for years, first trying out the lifestyle back in November 2015 for two years while in New Zealand.

When her visa ran out she returned to Canada and realised she would be far happier living in a van and travelling full-time.

So in March 2019, Nikki bought a Ford Transit 250 van for £19,556 (34,000 CAD), which she was able to spread across monthly payments.

After three months of planning she spent just 30 days and £9,203 (16,000 CAD) converting the van into a permanent home on wheels complete with a beautiful fully functioning kitchen, bed, electricity and generous workspace, with the help of her family.

Since then, Nikki has lived on her van full-time and is currently based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

But while her lifestyle has given her a load of freedom, it has made adjusting to the coronavirus lockdown a little tricky.

With gyms closed she’s unable to have a shower, and is struggling with being unable to freely wander her surroundings.

‘COVID-19 has affected my life more than I was expecting,’ says Nikki. ‘The gyms are closed so I cannot shower.

‘I do have an outdoor shower in our van but it’s too cold outside to use it.

‘Most parks are gated closed so there aren’t many locations I can park other than a Costco/Walmart parking lot, it feels very crammed because I’m usually outside or at a cafe, and being forced to stay inside the small space is definitely frustrating when the weather is cold outside.’

Nikki has managed to rent a plot of land with two other vans, where she and other travellers are now in quarantine together.

After two weeks without a shower, Nikki and her new lockdown buddies have built a heated outdoor shower in this space so they can finally get clean.

Now she’s feeling fresh again, Nikki is back to sharing her adventures on Instagram, where she talks openly about the realities of a nomadic lifestyle.

‘Simplicity, not owning much, mostly the freedom to go anywhere anytime [appealed to me about van life],’ said Nikki.

‘I felt that I lacked freedom a lot in my life when everyone was telling me I should go to school and get married and have kids, but that’s not what I wanted. So, van life allowed me the freedom to pursue exactly what I wanted so I could feel confident in my decisions.

‘I absolutely love life on the road. I love how free I am, the minimal cost of living, the feeling of being in a cosy tree fort every night, and gathering with van friends around a fire.

‘This lifestyle has given me pride knowing that I can create my reality. Converting a van into a home and creating a career from a camera; it has given me happiness in knowing I am capable of achieving whatever I want..

‘My life has improved tremendously because I was not happy in an apartment paying tons of money, and in a job where I had a boss, I am now so so happy.

‘My use for Instagram is to inspire others to believe in themselves and create the life they have dreamt of. I’m always available to chat and help anyone out.

‘If you are interested in this lifestyle, do it! Know that you can, know that you want it, and work hard until you achieve it.

‘And if you have any questions, I’m more than happy to help.’

Are you seeing out lockdown in an unconventional style? Get in touch to share your story by emailing [email protected]uk.

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