Ryan Holt on ‘Naked and Afraid’: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know

Ryan Holt

Discovery Ryan Holt thrives alone on "Naked and Afraid."

Ryan Holt, also known as “Yukon,” is a three-time Naked and Afraid survivalist who is being featured on Season 11 of Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid: Alone, premiering Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 10 p.m. EST. Holt made it his mission to not only survive during his time in South Africa, but he also wanted to thrive.

Holt first appeared on Naked and Afraid in 2015 where he was tasked to survive in Florida’s everglades with a partner. He later took on challenges in the Bahamas and South Africa, where he returned this time around to face the challenge alone.

With so much experience, Holt didn’t have to do much training for his solo adventure. “I’ve been preparing most of my life. With the skills that I have and the previous challenges under my belt, I don’t think there’s much more preparing that I can do at this point,” Holt told Heavy.com in an exclusive interview. “With the basic knowledge of finding water, shelter fire and food, I just have to be able to apply those principals to the new environment I’m in.”

Holt has “thrive” tattooed across his back. When he goes out into nature, he doesn’t want to barely make it to extraction day, he wants to enjoy the entire experience.

“My mindset is always to take it to that next level and thrive,” he said. “That’s something that came to me during my first challenge in the everglades. Thriving means to live sustainably, abundantly and within balance with my natural environment while coupling that with mind, body, soul, and spirit. If you have those principals, then you’re taking it to the next level. Then you’re living. You’re not just surviving or getting by. You’re building yourself a life out there.”

To find out more about Holt and his second journey South Africa, this time alone, continue reading for five fast facts:

1. Dehydration Was The Scariest Challenge

Being alone for 21 days in the wilderness was not what scared Holt. It was the fact that he might be removed from the challenge the first day. On Day 1 he boiled water and drank it as fast as it was ready, but he quickly got an upset stomach. There was nothing wrong with the water, it was just that he was so dehydrated that it was hard for his body to process after going so long without drinking.

“It wasn’t the water that made me sick it was massive dehydration from exerting myself to find a camp and then drinking this mucky, muddy water—something that my stomach and my body isn’t used to—I couldn’t even swallow the first gulp I had no saliva,” Holt said in a phone interview.

He was in a rush to drink that water because night was coming. “Darkness was falling and I had to get myself inside the shelter. I couldn’t even really wait for that water to cool off until it was a safer temperature to drink so I just started going at it and chugging it.”

But drinking too fast might have been a mistake. “It just hit my stomach like lead and came right back up. As soon as I felt that sickness and threw up I knew I was losing more fluids than I had before I drank the water,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘This is Day 1. I’ve already been here before. I’ve been medically pulled out from this location before.’ It hit me that the possibility of what this dehydration means, what this vomiting could lead to.”

      1. 2. Being By Himself Didn’t Bother Him


    Holt took pleasure in the time he spent by himself. He’s done these types of challenges for years, and for him, not having a partner was almost beneficial at the time. “I was having an awesome time. I have spent a lot of time alone,” he said.

    Knowing that he’s in nature among other living things is what keeps his spirit up. “When you’re surrounded by nature everything around you is literally alive—plants, fauna, animals—everything is living. Once I realized that it was kind of impossible for me to ever feel lonely when I’m in nature. The alone aspect is way more of my jam.”

    In fact, being alone was a benefit. “It eliminated the toughest part of the challenge for me, which is other people, other people who have different skill levels,” he said. “I was never lonely out there. It gave me an opportunity for a lot of self-growth, self-reflection, to go inward and come up with all kinds of ideas about other ways to make my life better out there.”

        1. 3. The Night Was The Hardest Part of Survival

        2. Ryan Holt

          DiscoveryRyan Holt thrives alone on “Naked and Afraid.”

    Holt’s experience was relatively smooth, but the nighttime did give him some trouble. The temperate would drop—sometimes as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. With no one to help keep the fire going, Holt was the only one feeding the fire. That meant he could only get 20 minutes of sleep at a time. “Nighttime was sort of the roughest part for me,” Holt admitted to Heavy.com.

    He was still able to put a positive spin on the experience, saying he used the time awake to reflect, plan and strategize for the following day.

    “I’m always busy with my mind if I’m not busy with my hands or busy with my shelter,” he said. “I do well during those times to reflect on the day. By the time the sun comes up, I’ve been thinking for eight hours, so when the sun comes up, it’s warm and I’m ready to go regardless of how much sleep I’m getting or not getting. I’m ready to put these ideas or plans that I’ve been putting together in my head all night into action.”

        1. 4. Hunting the Impala Was One of The Most ‘Climactic’ Moments of His Life

        2. Ryan Holt

          Discovery Ryan Holt is pictured in his boma on “Naked and Afraid.”

    The highlight of the episode was the moment Holt shot an impala with a bow and arrow. He had never used a bow before and worked on figuring it out for two weeks.

    “It was one of the most climactic moments of my life. The amount of time and energy that I put into that hunt every single day—I probably spent four to six hours up in that tree balancing on a single branch,” he said. “I’m a complete novice when it comes to bow hunting.”

    Learning something new wasn’t easy, but he didn’t give up. “I knew there were things I was doing wrong,” he said. “It was a lot of trial and error. I figured it out the day before I got the impala. I had a missed shot on a buck impala. I knew at that moment what I was doing wrong… And the next day, those impalas came in and that arrow was true and right on point. I couldn’t believe it when it happened. I was shaking.”

        1. 5. Holt Describes the Challenge As a ‘Divine’ Experience


          View this post on Instagram


          Extra! Extra! Read all about it.! ?? ?? My latest challenge takes me back to South Africa, to THRIVE for 21 days completely ALONE ? As of right now my episode is slotted for January 26th (series beginning on the 5th) You won’t want to miss this EPIC adventure!!! ??????? I’ll share more information & updates on my new episode in the coming weeks, the only other thing I can can say at the moment is…. This episode is on FIRE! ??? . . #HumanNatureHostel #AppalachianTrail #Hostel #Maine #MaineGuide #TheWayLifeIs #Dome #Survival #Wilderness #Love #Gratitude #Custom #Travel #LiveInTheDream #Balance #Sustainable #Mountains #Beautiful #Abundance #Photooftheday #Build #Hike #Backpacking #AT #Geodesic #Dream #Happy #AT2019 #THRIVE #InsideMyDreamsIsWhereYoullFindMe

          A post shared by Human-Nature Hostel (@humannaturehostel) on

    There’s nothing about the experience Holt would change. It gave him the time he needed to figure out how to shoot and kill ducks, and then eventually the impala.

    “I think if I had gotten the impala on Day 1, I wouldn’t have had the number of challenges and lessons that I learned throughout the whole thing. I never would have gotten the ducks,” he said. “I would never have had the trial and error the whole time leading up to the kill of the impala, where I had those two weeks to figure everything out. It all played out so divinely. It was such divine timing. Having to go through those first two weeks of struggling, which was the longest I’ve ever gone without eating, and I was in a survival situation.”

    That also means Holt wouldn’t change not eating for nearly a week, and he’s not exactly sure where that energy came from, but he continued to have faith. He said not eating for that “was pushing another limit further than I’ve ever gone before. I was still giving 110 percent from sun up to sundown. I don’t even know where the energy was coming from.”

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x