He’s one of the last of the ‘classic explorers’ of our time, regularly going off-grid and into the unknown—adventurer Benedict Allen talks to Jini Reddy about the importance of disconnecting, engaging, and documenting the world we live in.

“It might sound counter-intuitive, but we are entering a Golden Age of exploration,” says Benedict Allen. “Never has the world been more accessible, never has it been more democratic. And the world has more need for people to investigate it than ever before…”

Eager to inspire a new generation on a UK speaking tour, Benedict delivers these words to me in his West London eyrie not long after a journey—his third—into the Peruvian Amazon and before his current Ultimate Explorer tour.

It was 25 years ago when he first met the Matses, or ‘Jaguar People’ and lived with a family for three months. They’d warmly embraced him, taught him to read the forest and then he’d walked on alone, making a gruelling 5,633-kilometer crossing of the Amazon basin. He’d been eager to pay his friends a return visit—hence his most recent expedition.

“They were kind and wonderful to me when I was still relatively naïve and unskilled,” he says. “I felt I owed it to them to say thanks. I wanted to see how the daughter Lucy was and her dad, Pablito.”