He is a paragon of accomplishment. No really. To the degree that sitting across from him asking him questions seems an incredibly trivial way to use up his time. Surely he has other things to do? Mountains to scale. World records to break. Lost cities to find. Oh, and books to write. He has slotted books into his schedule the way most of us make time for lattes or movies: in the downtime when nothing else is pressing. And he's done it 16 times. The cousin of actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes, Sir Ranulph Fiennes has accomplished amazing things in his 56 years. Listing them all would, alone, take more space than we have, but a teensy synopsis is in order, just to get the scale of it all:
In the 1960s he was, according to a February, 2000 BBC article, "kicked out of the SAS for deliberately blowing up a Twentieth Century Fox film-set in Castle Coombe, Wiltshire." (In fairness, the piece does not say why Fiennes might have been doing this or for whom and what's been left out here might be as interesting as what's been included.) His stint with the SAS was, as it turns out, only the beginning of what has proven to be a remarkable journey. The Guinness Book of World Records describes Fiennes as the world's greatest living explorer. He was at the helm of the expedition that found the Lost City of Ubar. Fiennes has led over 30 expeditions including the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth and the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic continent. In 1993 Queen Elizabeth awarded Fiennes with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "human endeavour and charitable services," because, on the way to breaking records, Sir Ranulph has raised over £5 million for charity.
I think I'm too much of a homebody to want to be him, but I wouldn't mind hanging out with Sir Ranulph between adventures. And he appears to have a bit of character as well:
From your perspective, what has been your greatest accomplishment?
It's a sorry thing to say but, with today's marital statistics, I would say that remaining married to the same person for 32 years is possibly quite an achievement. Possibly.