Five Questions with Laura Zerra, Survivalist on Discovery’s Naked and Afraid

James Demer

DemerBox co-founder, James Demer asks five questions with Laura Zerra, Expert Survivalist and Adventure Traveler as featured on Discovery’s Naked and Afraid.

On Nomadic Life

James Demer: You describe yourself as a nomad. Tell us something about the nomadic life. How big is your suitcase?

Laura Zerra: I've lived for the better part of the last 15 years as a nomad. No real roots, no real home, just going wherever the next adventure takes me. I don't own a lot, because traveling around with a bunch of stuff isn't exactly convenient. Everything has to earn its keep and serve a purpose. As far as suitcases go, I don't own one - I do have a thing for backpacks, though. I like to be able to carry whatever I have on my back and move with it.

On Extreme Climate Environments

James Demer: You seem to thrive and survive equally well in frigid and sweltering climates. Do you have a favorite?

Laura Zerra: I enjoy both cold and hot environments for different reasons. A lot of the hunting I do is in the mountains, in colder weather. The cold makes it easier to get around long distances without having to worry about heat exhaustion, but definitely brings the challenge of trying to avoid hypothermia. I have to admit though, I have an absolute love affair with the jungle. I love the the diversity and amount of life there. As a survivalist, the abundance and opportunity are a huge draw. If you can avoid dying from the obvious dangers, it's pretty easy living.

On Reducing Carbon Footprint

James Demer: Your carbon footprint must be very small compared to most Americans, and it seems you live in harmony with nature. Was reducing your impact on our planet part of your decision to live the way you do?

Laura Zerra: Reducing my impact on the environment is definitely important to me, but I think my real motivation was to take it even one step further than that. I spent a lot of time alone in the woods as a kid, trying to get close to animals. I was always bothered by the fact that I had to go home at the end of the day to eat, sleep, and live, whereas everything else got to stay out in the wild. I hated the fact that I felt like a visitor instead of a part of the land. I wanted to be able to be out there and stay out without having to rely on anything or anyone, and become this kind of human animal.

On Her Favorite Place On Earth

James Demer: What place on earth is your current favorite, and what location is on your go-to list?

Laura Zerra: I don't know if I could pick a favorite! I guess that’s why I keep moving. Australia immediately comes to mind if I had to choose.  I love the varied landscape, the amount of wilderness, and the number of animals - particularly the ones that can kill me. Mongolia is top of the list for me as far as future travel. A living nomadic horse culture?? I feel like I'd fit right in.

On Traveling with DemerBox

James Demer: How do you use your DemerBox when you travel?

Laura Zerra: I love music, and my DemerBox has more than earned its place in the short list of items I travel with. It comes almost everywhere with me - the only place I don't take it is on my minimalist backcountry trips. I'm really hard on my stuff, and technology usually has a pretty short lifespan with me. I've taken my DemerBox through swamps, to the top of mountains, to the Alaskan tundra, into the Filipino jungle - and I can't break it. I've also been able to extend the lifespan of my other bits of technology by storing them inside, which is an added bonus. Absolutely in love with my new DemerBox!!!! Heading out paddleboarding with it tomorrow morning!

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