FedEx Accountant Braves the Wilderness on History Channel’s “Alone”
You don’t typically think of corporate finance and wilderness survival skills going hand-in-hand. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Britt Ahart is one of those exceptions. Britt spends his days as a senior accounting coordinator at FedEx. When he’s not working, he enjoys camping trips, hikes and being outdoors. Britt was born and raised in Virginia, and said he always felt a strong desire to be in the wilderness. He recently took that desire to the next level when he participated in Season 3 of Alone, a survival reality show on the History channel.
Read below to find out what Britt had to say about his experience surviving alone in the wilderness in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Don’t forget to tune in to the History channel on Thursday, December 8th at 8 p.m. CT/ 9 p.m. ET to see Britt in the Season 3 series premier.
FedEx: For those who don’t know, tell us about the premise of the show Alone on the History channel.
Britt: They take 10 participants. You’re allotted 10 survival items. You can choose from a list whatever suits your needs or what you think you would need in the field. You get taken to an undisclosed location and left there to basically try and survive and thrive on your own. You have to self-document everything. There is no camera crew. There is nobody there to assist you. You have to create your own shelter, provide your own meals, fend off predators if need be and survive as long as you can. Whoever makes it the longest wins.
FedEx: Did you see the other participants or interact with them?
Britt: You are totally alone. You don’t even know where the other people are.
FedEx: Why did you want to be on this show? Did you consider trying out for other shows similar to this?
Britt: I’m a solitary person by nature. I enjoy being by myself and outside doing things on my own. I’ve always been that way. I didn’t fit in with most of the groups I grew up with. It was tailored to my lifestyle and my love of the outdoors. I watch these shows all the time. This was the first show I’ve ever seen on TV that seemed like it was not a farce. There’s not someone who’s pretending to be in peril when there’s really a guy with a camera who can put a band-aid on him and give him a Snickers. It was something that I thought was real and would actually pit you against yourself outdoors. It’s sink or swim. It’s not something that’s fabricated by a network with someone really there to assist you with every step. I thought it would be an excellent way to see what I could do on my own.
FedEx: A lot of people would call you crazy for wanting to do this. What would you tell them?
Britt: I probably am a little crazy. Everyone who tried out for the show had a little crazy in them. It made everyone special. The first people to put their feet on this earth did these same types of things. As time has progressed and creature comforts have become the norm, people have forgotten their roots and the things that everyone before us used to be able to do. It’s not crazy. It’s about getting more of a feel for the earth and what it should be providing for more people, but we ignore on a day-to-day basis.
FedEx: How did you make it on the show?
Britt: I filled out an application and sent in a couple pictures of myself and why I thought I’d be a good candidate to be one of the participants. Six months later I was checking my voicemail, and I had missed a call. It was a call saying they were interested in me. From there, I had to do more interviews, self-documentation and work my way through the elimination process until it was down to the Top 10.
FedEx: Tell us about your family. What did they think when you found out you had been chosen to participate?
Britt: It was a combination of disbelief coupled with ‘I’m not surprised’ because they know me. They hadn’t heard much about (the TV show) because I watched it on my own, and then I’d tell them about it. They were shocked but not surprised. I’m the type of person who does odd things here and there. They were totally on-board for it and supported me. It’s been such a long, ongoing process, it didn’t seem totally real to them until they saw me on TV. They are just as excited as I am. They had difficulty dealing with me being gone for a while. That was the toughest part, because we are a close-knit family. I’m extremely close with my son. For me to be gone the amount of time I was gone, the family started to take on a different dynamic until I came back and we were a total group again.
FedEx: What did you do to train and prepare for Argentina?
Britt: I delved a little bit deeper into the things that I choose to do anyway. I worked more on my traps, more on my wild edible identifications. There was a lot of reading. I worked on my knots because I wasn’t concerned about things like fire and shelter. I didn’t have to look into that because I could do that already. I just looked into what I’d be able to do to secure sustenance. Everything else I already knew how to do. I tried to get myself in the mind frame of being in total isolation, which is impossible. That didn’t work. It was mostly studying about the tools I’d be using and how I could best utilize them to my advantage.
FedEx: I’m sure you researched the Patagonia region before you left for filming. What were your concerns heading into it?
Britt: I didn’t have any concerns. Since I knew we were going to be inland, I knew we’d have water. The animals don’t scare me. The dark doesn’t scare me. The cold, I live in Ohio. I’m outside every day, even in the deepest part of the winter. The cold didn’t really concern me. I didn’t have any fears, I just wanted to make sure I covered my bases in knowing what to expect. I wasn’t overly worried. It was just the mind frame and thinking of doing it all by myself for an extended period of time that I had to get locked into my head.
FedEx: What do you do at FedEx?
Britt: I am a senior accounting coordinator. I do cash application, month-end close, reconciliation and things of that nature.
FedEx: How, if at all, did your work at FedEx translate into anything useful for the show?
Britt: Without a doubt, my organization and attention to detail helped me. What I do day-to-day with spreadsheets and looking at numbers, I have a focused brain. I’m able to categorize and keep things in a concise, orderly fashion. That absolutely carried into my journey on the show as well as my everyday home life.
FedEx: Are co-workers surprised when they hear about your interest in this type of thing? Finance and surviving in the wilderness don’t exactly go hand-in-hand.
Britt: I was born in Reston, Virginia. When I was doing these things growing up, I was doing them alone. I was hiking alone and making fires alone. I was trying to do my little studies outside alone. When I moved to Ohio, I dropped off the map for a whole lot of people. I’m popping up 11 years later, and they see I’m doing this. My co-workers know me mostly on a professional level. Everyone was very surprised when they found out about it. I get these incredulous looks and everyone wants to know how I got involved with something like this. That’s the question people ask me the most. It’s a lost knowledge.
FedEx: What is bushcraft?
Britt: You can take it literally for what the word is: crafting while you’re in the bush; taking a branch and being able to fabricate it into a snare of sorts and crafting things in the wild and using what nature provides and use it for your needs.
FedEx: How did you get into this?
Britt: It started off with me taking hikes in the woods and enjoying being by myself and not being around so many people and feeling like a sheep in a herd or just a tiny piece of an unorganized puzzle. I discovered things when I was in the woods, different animals, plants and flowers. I later joined the Boy Scouts for the camping. I wanted to be outside, fish and sleep in the woods. When I moved to Ohio to a very rural area, my passion continued to bloom from there. I had more time and more wilderness around me that allowed me to be able to explore and learn and practice. I also really enjoyed watching survival and wilderness TV shows, and that just furthered my fascination with what you can do when you get deep into nature and start understanding what it has to offer.
FedEx: Aside from being reunited with your family, what were you most looking forward to upon returning home?
Britt: It has to be food and all the food you’re missing. You could ask anyone, and that’s what they’d say across the board. You take for granted how simple it is to acquire something to eat every day. When that ease is removed, you really appreciate how easy it is to get up off the coach and walk to the refrigerator
FedEx: What’s the first meal you ate when you came home?
Britt: The first thing I ate was a big plate of my wife’s buffalo wings, a huge pile of cheese-covered broccoli and a Yeungling. I practically sat at the table and cried on my plate it was so good.
FedEx: If you could give one piece of advice for someone out there that would like to do this, what would it be?
Britt: If you’re going out in a solitary manner, you have to be very comfortable with yourself. Prepare for some deep-seeded demons to resurface that you have to deal with. Also, you need to have your center, some place you can reset to and regroup your mental state because there are times you start going on crazy tangents, brain firing uncontrollably in different directions. I found you had to have something that would bring you back to zero.
FedEx: Would you do it all over again if you had the chance?
Britt: No doubt. I’d log off and walk into the woods right now.
Hear more from Britt in a web exclusive from history.com: