Man who left a successful career to live in a swamp says he still feels the ‘happiest, richest’

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)

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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)

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

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

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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