An ex RAF helicopter pilot and now the chief instructor at the UK military's survival school, John Hudson is no stranger to adventure.

Whether he's bringing the harsh jungles of Asia to heel or climbing at altitude in the Atacama Desert, Hudson is a walking 'how to survive' handbook. Creator of the UK forces' survival training manual, no less.

And a 'pocket-guide' for downed aircrew.

Outside of his role as a walking survival encyclopedia, you might recognise him from the Discovery Channel's Survive That!

So John, what kickstarted your journey to becoming an adventurer?

My job as a helicopter pilot in the RAF meant I had to do survival training from day one, but unlike many of my mates I loved it. I realised that knowing what to do for the best in the great outdoors could be a genuine life saver, so I was always a very keen student.

It's important to be passionate about what you do, we agree. What's the best thing about being an adventurer?

It's the simple truism that you never stop learning, it keeps you hungry for more. There is no such thing as an expert, we all want to know the next skill or thing.

Your backpack is full of goodies then?

All survival instructors are total kit pests. Ask us about gear and gadgets and you'll struggle to shut us up.

One of my favourite tasks is when I get asked to advise on equipment for survival packs on military aircraft. Most recently I was looking at the pocket contents for the UK's newest F-35 fighter jet pilots.

While we don't always need a survival radio beacon in the pocket for UK trips, I'll always have one of the other items that I advocated for our new carrier jets - the simple Swiss Army penknife.

Essential from the Scouts upwards, absolutely! What's the defining moment for your experiences as an adventurer so far?

Probably quite recently, when I was honoured to be invited to instruct on the Canadian military's high Arctic survival course. We were up in the North West Passage of Sir John Franklin's ill fated Victorian expedition where it's cold enough to freeze the sea, and nearer to the North Pole than any tree.

I spent some time building an Igloo with one of their old and experienced Inuit instructors. To be able to make a comfortable camp using only a knife and an architecturally unbeatable dome of snow blocks, when the temperatures outside were hitting -65 °C, was a master class in simplicity and effectiveness.

What about great camping memories?

I've been lucky enough to camp out all over the world in one way or another, but you can't beat your own patch.

I was cleaning the frying pan of bacon fat on the edge of northern Orkney recently when a seal popped his head up next to me to have a sniff.

That was pretty cool.

Way cool! What about any not so glamourous experiences?

At the time, me and most of my Air Cadet mates would have agreed on our Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition in Snowdonia, the wettest on record, as being our worst experience. We were soaked through and boot sore from beginning to end.

But now, looking back, I recognise that as one of the key steps I've been on to learn how to keep putting one foot in front of the other whenever things seem tough. It could always be worse.

Do you have any other British favourites?

I'm lucky enough to live in Cornwall, a truly beautiful area with a bit of everything for anyone outdoorsy.

We couldn't agree more! Where else do you keep going back to?

I love getting back to my roots ooop North, either in the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales. So long as there's a good pub en-route, you can't beat the UK.

Ah, the good old British pub. Essential! What other pearls of wisdom do you have for budding adventurers?

Don't go in off the deep end. Reduce the amount of gear you use gradually, learning as you go. And learn how to use a map and compass - they never run out of battery power.

Before you venture into the big outdoors, the O/S website has a great tutorial section. And if you're going to pay for some 'survival' training, be very choosy about where you spend your money. The most useful training to go for is actually a first aid skills course initially.

What about a challenge for a would-be adventurer's bucket list?

Sleep out at least once without a tent. It's a lot comfier than you imagine and you really feel part of the landscape.

And how about some essential reading?

You'd have to go a long way to find a more inspiring book about human endurance than Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.

Noted. Lastly, what keeps you going when you feel like giving up?

I've learned that hardship alone won't destroy motivation, it's a hardship that you think you can't control that does.

So by learning the few, relatively simple, military survival techniques and practising them to forge genuine experiences, you end up with a mindset that says "I've coped with this kind of thing already, it will get better if I put in enough effort".

The UK military survival school motto is Constant Endeavour for good reason!

Wise words John, thank you!

You can follow John on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. His Discovery Channel series Survive That! is well worth a look - and do keep an eye out for his new book, coming soon via Pan MacMillan.