Interview with Ben Southall

Fri 03 Apr 2009

With just hours to till the announcement of the top 10 Best Job in the World applicants ChannelWhitsunday.com sought some answers from the top 50 that have now endured months of blogging, interviews and sleepness nights as they campaign be the first "Island Caretaker" for the Great Barrier Reef.

We received this response from Ben Southall of the UK about his campaign.

1.When you started out with BJITw did you consider the amount of time that you would have to put in to eventually be the island caretaker?
I really hadn't thought about the implications that much further down the line, it was a whole load of fun planning and putting together the application video....and then when I found out i'd got through to the final 50 the penny dropped about what the whole thing involved. I have a huge amount I try and cram into everyday anyway so another 'little' element wasn't going to make too much difference!

2. How many hours would you estimate that you have put into your campaign?
Probably not as much as the other UK entries because I work full-time and trying to visit tv, radio and media outlets is a time consuming thing. So instead I decided to try and pull off one big media stunt which would show my skills at managing a situation and event rather than trying to grab column inches and it went really well.

3. Who has been in the most inspirational and supportive in your campaign (outside your folks)?
Its only when you get involved with something like this you realise quite how talented and brilliant your friends are too, including the ones who come out of the woodwork and offer their assistance with all aspects of getting that little bit of extra coverage or printing flyers or chasing possible leads on my behalf. i can't focus down on one of them...I love them all!

4. There has been some media and internet coverage that has been quite critical of the campaign. Have you come in for any direct flak for your success thus far? How did you feel about it?
I hadn't even heard any of the negative coverage relating to the campaign, the only one small problem I had was with a very amusing little American lady in London on the day I did my stunt...she waddled up to the bar i had assembled, enquired as to what I was doing and in response told me it was a waste of tax payers money!!! The entire expense came out of my pocket!

5. What is the most important thing you have learned during the process?
I've had a great time handling the pressure and interviews, something I was used to with my previous years expedition I organised (www.afritrex.com), so I loved doing it all again and it gave me a whole load more confidence for the public talks I've been doing over the last few days too.

6. Should you not eventually become the IC, what does life look like after the dust has settled?
If I'm unlucky and I don't get to make it out there then its back to the original plan of training extremely hard to gain my Mountain Leader qualifications, saving loads of money by the end of the year and moving out to Vancouver, Canada to be with my girlfriend who lives out there. The next expedition is incubating in my head and probably will be a drive from Alaska to Chile sometime in the next few years!