Ruth England: World Traveler, Survivor, Mother



Hello! I am very excited about working with Survival Life and sharing information and my experiences with you.

I have always had an interest in survival skills, primitive hygiene and wilderness medicine.

In recent years I have had some intensive training in survival while making TV shows with my husband Mykel Hawke, but I’d like to start with a little bit about my background so you can get to know who I am.

My name was Ruth England for many years in the United Kingdom where I earned a Post Graduate Diploma in Interactive Media Design (Like a Master’s in the U.S.) with an Undergraduate Degree in Photography and Film from the University of Westminster, London, U.K.

As a student in the U.K., in the middle of my schooling, I decided I wanted real experience and not just academic training. So, I went to India on a photojournalism expedition. As a result of my experience and contacts I developed, I was later flown out for Bollywood as an official Film set Professional Photographer. After further schooling, I then went on a 3 month long photography expedition to Malaysia and Borneo.

Because of my love for travel, I wanted to immerse myself in the primitive jungle culture of a tribe and worked my way into South East Asia and found my way to a village elder who took me deep into the jungle to live with and learn from his people, the Iban of Borneo.

I spent a long time there, living with these people, living like them, learning from them. I documented the journey through photographs, which I then brought back to my university for my educational degree.

It was from this pivotal experience that I came to value the need for real survival skills and medical knowledge. It is also this experience that led me to become a photographer and journalist. And it was those skills that brought me into television. I began as newsreader for the news agency ITN, working mainly as a news anchor for Channel 5, a major UK TV Network, but I found I wanted to live it, see it and do it, more than just read and report it. So, I found a job traveling the world as the host for one of the UK’s most famous Travel shows (Wish You Were Here).

During this time I traveled the world in some extreme places with rebels, poachers, wild animals and the most beautiful and remote locations on earth. I traveled with a small crew of men and I learned from experience, as they were often sick with some tummy bug or other malady, that prevention was vital and hygiene was the key.

Often, because of my insistence on my own personal hygiene practices, I would be the only one on my crew who wasn’t sick. That encouraged me to study many medical conditions and cures so that often, I doubled as the crew medic so that we could finish our filming.

I spent the next  fives years or so working for various TV network in the UK and here in the US. It was during this time when a major American Network (FOX) found me and hired me to host the biggest budget reality show they had ever made to date (Forever Eden). This is where I met Mykel and our journey of surviving together began in 2004.

As Mykel and I developed our relationship, he was constantly teaching me many survival and wilderness first aid tips and I would share with him many herbal medicine tricks I had learned and of course, I always tried to make him be more hygienic, but as many wives and mothers will attest, that’s often an uphill battle with the male of the species!

By now, Mykel and I were both working on TV. I was working as a full time host still traveling the world. While Mykel, in a post September 11th world, was now becoming more of a subject matter expert and on screen talent. He was doing this in between his reserve military training, government contracting in Africa and Iraq and his Specops business teaching survival courses.

This is when the networks asked him what show he would like to make and we came up with the show most people know us for, “Man, Woman, Wild” on Discovery Channel. From that, we both solidified our relationship as well as our survival skills having now completed almost 30 survival missions as Mykel calls them. He often says I have more practical dirt time at pure survival than most Special Operations Forces ever get in their entire career, simply because I have survived in such a wide variety of terrains. I don’t know about that but I do know we have a lot of bush time and we’ve learned and experienced quite a lot.

So now that I’ve introduced myself and told you a bit of my background and personal story, I’ll  speak about my new partnership with Survival Life.

I’ll be sharing my experience of what it’s like surviving in the wilderness as a ‘normal person’ and a mom. I may have traveled the globe but building your own shelters and sourcing your own food out in the wilds is very, very different from camping or backpacking. Especially when you don’t have decades of experience in doing it!

It is also my intention to focus on the more practical day-to-day matters that most of us face in our normal lives. As a working mother and home maker, I take a lot of time and give a lot of thought to what can I do at every turn, to make my home safer, myself more ready and my family better prepared to handle anything that may come our way.

I’m going to be looking at those things around the home life and daily family experience that anyone can do and perhaps that everyone should do. Unlike most experts, I know what it is like to not know about something. So, I will approach all my subjects from the perspective of being a novice. Without pretense or expectation of any base line level of knowledge I will share things that I found to be useful and hope you will, too.

One of my first topics of practical home readiness is on of product selection. I highly encourage you to take a look at all the things you buy and use on a regular basis and reconsider each one from a survival perspective.

For example, a simple “brillo” pad. There are many types of wire wool scrubbers that are available on any market. But which ones light best when applied to a 9 volt battery as an improvised way to start a fire?

I suggest you try a few different types that are available to you and once you find the best ones for your needs, you then make those a part of your staple purchases. In this way, you’ll have learned not only which products work best but how to best work them for improvised needs.

Another example is water. We buy water in bottles for storage. But which plastic containers double best as a pot for boiling should you need to re-use the plastic and make water safe to drink by fire? Which type of household bleach is best for treating water? These and many more questions about products and their creative survival alternatives become very helpful tools to those who seek every advantage available to them in order to be best prepared and do so on a strict budget.

As I share more with you in the future, I look forward to giving you tips and information that can save you a lot of time and and hopefully costs, to help give you fast track short cuts to making life better for you and your family in a survival situation.

I am happy to be able to team up with Survival Life and share my knowledge and experience with you. Thank you and looking forward to getting to know you better!

Editors Note: Be sure to watch Ruth and Mykel, on the season premier of their new show “Lost Survivors” airing on the Travel Channel on Tuesday November 12 at 11pm ET/PT, 10pm CT.  If you want to keep up the adventures of Mr and Mrs. Hawke, be sure to Like their facebook page below:

Want more? Check out other articles on our site:

Dallas Seavey – The Ultimate Survivalist

40 Essential Knots Every Survivalist Needs to Know

Survivalist vs. Prepper: Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

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  1. Robyn J Ozols

    November 8, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    So looking forward to yours and Mykes new show, and thank you for any and all information on living life in a new survival ways, as we all need these skills. Will b watching your new show on Nov 12th.

    • Robert Carter

      November 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      I grew up in a small town in southern Ohio, spent 22 years in the army but still feel that I have alot to learn about basic survival. I’ll be watching your show.

  2. Ann Williamson Horansky

    November 8, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Can’t wait, Ruth!! You’re my hero! 😀

  3. Kandace P

    November 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Although this was just an intro I am even more excited about your forthcoming articles! Very excited to learn about the skills you will be sharing. And my DVR is already set for Lost Survivors! 🙂

  4. Christina

    November 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Awesome! 🙂

  5. Kristy

    November 8, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Love you and your shows. Can’t wait to watch!!

  6. Gary Hareland

    November 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    I am looking forward to you and Mykel’s new show on TV and also if you two ever get to Southern California I look forward to you two being my guest at the Los Angeles Adventurers’ Club which meets every Thursday evenings. You two would fit right in and I could get your photo with our official club greeting bear Fredy the Polar Bear. I also would like to talk survival with you guys as I have a two year degree in Survival and Rescue Operations from the Community College of the Air Force. God Bless You and Your Family……..Gary

  7. Anna

    November 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    How to watch with no TV?

  8. Tammie Ford

    November 8, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    Simple and applicable! Looking forward to your new show Ruth!

  9. RachelW

    November 11, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    What a wonderful article! While we have ‘seen’ you before , it is so nice to get to know you! We are looking forward to your new show with Mykel and peeking on your survival time.. God bless you both.. what you do is so important and much appreciated. Thank you for sharing your time and your family with us , be safe out there !

  10. Rossy

    April 13, 2019 at 10:47 AM

    Really exciting. Please come to Borneo again

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