Having walked the length of the Nile and Himalayas, then trekked across the Caucasus mountains (don't worry, we had to look it up too), Levison Wood's latest 5,000 mile adventure through the Badlands of the Arabian peninsula was perhaps his most ambituous yet - leaving footprints in thirteen different countries.

Well known following four critically acclaimed documentary series, unflappable Lev is the man who once hitchhiked over land from England to India. A former Officer in the British Parachute Regiment, he doesn't do things by halves.

Hi Lev, seeing the incredible journeys you've been on, we'd love to know how you started?

I did a lot of backpacking in my youth, going off on adventurous trips, such as hitchhiking overland from England to India with just £500 to get by on. Then after I left university the army enabled me to do lots of adventurous training, such as leading climbs in the Himalayas. Since leaving the army, I've been running expeditions for the past eight years now.

You must be well at home in a tent then! How have your camping experiences been?

My worst is probably from the trip walking the length of the Himalayas, when in Nepal we were camping in the jungles of Chitwan National Park. We set up camp near a river and soon got into our sleeping bags for the night.

At some point in the middle of the night, I heard the shouting and yelling from my friend and guide Binod and lots of ruckus going on outside. I quickly realised that they'd woken in the night to the sound of the river flooding and that we were in really serious danger of getting washed away. We hurriedly gathered up our things and fled to higher ground where, slightly shaken, we waited for dawn.

Nothing like waking up to soggy boots! Have there been better camps?

The best was probably the entire experience of driving an ambulance to Malawi in 2010 to donate it to a hospital. We went through Europe, the Middle East and down through Africa - and Wadi Rum in Jordan was a real highlight. We slept out under the stars in the desert beneath vast Martian-looking rock formations and it was an unforgettable experience.

It sounds like you don't need much in life except a bed under the stars then? Is there anything in your average backpack that would surprise us?

I rarely go anywhere without a white linen shirt tucked away in my backpack. It packs up really small, and I've found that on expeditions I occasionally need to scrub up to a meet an official or a diplomat or go for a drink with a dignitary. A shave and a shirt is all it takes to look suitably presentable.

True that! How about when you're in the UK, anywhere you can't resist coming back to?

The Peak District is my home and it's where I grew up and had my earliest adventures. We used to race to the top of Kinder Scout, which we were always told as kids was home to some wallabies that, as legend had it, had escaped from a zoo during World War II and bred to have lots of feral babies.

However hard I tried, I never spotted one.

Who would you bring with you to try and catch a glimpse?

Alberto is one of my favourite people to travel with. He's got a great sense of adventure and when I called him to ask if he wanted to drop everything and leave his home in Mexico to walk the length of Central America with me, he said yes. He'd hardly walked before and certainly didn't have any of the army training that some of my guides and companions have for the deserts and jungles, but he just approaches everything with a great sense of humour.

That's the key to enjoying it! Any UK challenges you'd recommend with that in mind?

The Fan Dance, which is a climb to the top of Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons followed by a descent down Jacob's Ladder is pretty gruelling. We used to do it in the army and it is the original SAS selection challenge.

Any pointers?

It comes down to this: never give up, be bold and take risks.

And if the SAS selection test makes us gulp, do you have any tips for starting small?

You don't need to go far, just plan a walk and stay out overnight. Either camp, or if it's summer, forget the tent and just take a bivvy bag. You can see the stars and in the morning you can pack up super quickly and head off.

Would you take any bedtime reading with you?

Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy Maclean details life as a diplomat around the time of the second world war. It was his stories that inspired me to travel to remote Afghanistan.

Thanks Lev, it's been an honour!

You can keep up with Levison's escapades via his website and Twitter account. His Journeys Through the Badlands and Beyond theatre tour this autumn is bound to be popular too - tickets are available now via Ticketmaster.

Image credit: Simon Buxton