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More about River Monsters host

Posted: April 18, 2013 8:18 a.m.
Updated: April 19, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Community support is insanely valuable in so many areas of our lives. Everyone has a dream, or at least something they hope to achieve, and more times than we may want to admit, achieving the dream requires some kind of support from the community, whether it be local, national or international. A lot of times our wildest dreams will force us to ask people for things that make us feel vulnerable in a way.

Although a desire may start out as a purely selfish interest, it needs community support to become anything besides a self-interest. In the last several weeks, I’ve seen some people do amazing things only because of the support of people around the world. Without funding or moral support, their dreams would just be an idea in their head.

My column last week on one of my favorite TV shows, River Monsters, is an example of a dream come true; a dream that began without a lot of support. Host Jeremy Wade has followed his heart despite the fact that many did not quite understand his passion and there were many trials and tribulations for Wade along his path. Last year, I read an interview with Wade’s younger brother, Martin, who spoke of Wade’s journey as an angler. Although he is now widely recognized, Wade has made several sacrifices that may be nothing for him to give up, but could be unfathomable for others. Wade is long-term single, he has no children, and according to his brother, has not had a home of his own for the longest time. Wade apparently has a room in a friend’s England home, although his brother said he is in the process of building his first real home. Naturally, that’s a sacrifice you have to make when you are gone for several weeks at a time and are unsure if you will make it back alive.

Martin said Wade has lived in some “boundary-pushing” ways, which concerned their parents for a while, before they gave into encouraging their son’s “research” instead of encouraging him to pursue the 9-to-5 route with his zoology degree and teacher certifications. Up until their father’s death, Martin said his father often said: “Oh dear, I do hope Jeremy is going to be OK,” in reference to his cross-cultural escapades. Martin said he has feared that his brother may never return after he accompanied Wade on one of his first few trips to the Congo and saw the reality of maintaining that kind of lifestyle. Wade said he could have lived his life in a classroom or kept his copywriting job, but that’s not what made him feel useful. He didn’t want to teach what has been discovered, he wanted to discover; now he has the most watched TV show on Animal Planet’s history.

Wade’s first two seasons are a compilation of places he’s been to previously. His first show was Jungle Hooks, filmed in 2002, with the help of people who saw his photo in an England newspaper. Wade said without prior “self-funded” research and help from friends and community, Jungle Hooks would not have been a possibility. Years later, after Jungle Hooks aired, another friend pitched River Monsters.

A community is always necessary for anything to prosper. Wade might have started out in self-interest, but there obviously are millions of people around the world that are interested in what he is doing. There is always the need for support from the audience. If there is no community support, whether in the creation of the product or at least in the purchase of the product, there is no need for it. Anything worth having is created for a consumer base.

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