During the first episode of “Men Women Wild,” Matt and Ali Stevens weren’t able to last more than a few days in the brutal conditions of the dense southern Mexican jungle. This gave another couple the opportunity to complete the same challenge. Linn Baumgardt and Max Levi are both 27-years-old and have been a couple for one year. The “Men Women Wild” Facebook page posted on November 19, “Max and Linn began their challenge in the Mexican jungle this week – but WHY did they decide to go?” There is also a video included, but in this exclusive interview with Examiner, Linn and Max give fans of the show more information about their experience so far.
For those unfamiliar with the show, three couples are challenged to spend three weeks in three remote locations with just the clothes on their backs and only one bag full of what they feel they may need in order to survive. Jhoanna Trias and Mitchell Langon are in the desert mountain region of Morocco, and Justin and Jenny Cook are braving the wilds of Norway. Of all the environments, harsh as they are, the jungle may be the most difficult to overcome. However, if any couple can survive this location, it would be Linn and Max.
These two A-type personalities have already accomplished more in their young lives than what most people take an entire lifetime to achieve. They told Examiner that they equally jumped at the chance to be a part of this challenge. “It was a joint decision,” Max said. “I don’t think there was ever a moment when either of us wanted to go and the other didn’t. From the beginning when the opportunity first presented itself, we were both really excited about it.” He went on to say that they were very surprised when they found out they were going to be on the show because they thought it had already been filmed. Linn added that they only had four days to prepare, but did the best that they could.
Each of them has a lot of diverse interests and although they emphasized that they always put safety first, Max stated that they do consider themselves to be calculated risk takers. “I don’t think either one of us would do something that we can’t justify,” Linn said. “When great opportunities present themselves like this one or other really fun adventures in life, I think it’s something you need to think through. If it looks interesting for Max and I then we’ll go out and take the risk.”
When they reached what Linn called “The Shelter of Bad Luck” left by Matt and Ali, Max said that seeing what was left of the abandoned camp added an element of fear and doubt to an already stressful situation. Unfortunately for Max, the lack of food quickly led to a drop in blood sugar, accompanied by fatigue and weakness. Max explained that he has hardly any body fat and the lack of food was grueling for him.
According to Discovery’s “Men Women Wild” bio page for the couple, Max is quite the athlete. He was a gymnast, bicycled with his brother from Connecticut to San Francisco one summer, and completed an Iron Man triathlon. Since he has hardly any body fat the lack of food hit him hard. Linn joked that she had a little more body fat to lose, but in reality she is just as athletic as her partner. Linn has traveled all around the world and spends most of her free time jogging, hiking and camping. She also loves venturing into unknown adventures and sailing with Max.
They did discover that their primitive survival skills do compliment each other well. Both of them are proficient in shelter building and foraging. While Max came up with an ingenious fire starting kit, Linn was able to find more tinder for the fire and also used her foraging skills to bring food back to camp. They agreed that despite their skills, the hardest thing for both of them to deal with was the hunger. Since they only had four days notice, that left Max little time to prepare for what he knew was coming. “It took a huge toll on my body,” he said. “Having absolutely no reserve just breaks you down psychologically and physically.”
Despite their difficult start, they both seemed determined to work together and come out of this experience closer than ever. After talking about what they brought with them in their pack, Linn may have summed it up best in regard to what was really needed in the situation they found themselves in. “In the end, no matter what you put in the bag, it’s not going to help you survive. You need your will and your wit to do that in those situations.” You can follow Linn and Max on their Facebook pages, as well as their joint Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Are you a fan of the show? Did you see Linn and Max in the last episode? Leave your comments, opinions and thoughts below. “Men Women Wild” airs on Wednesday’s at 10 p.m. ET on the Discovery channel.