Alison Teal: The Oprah of Adventures



Alison Teal grew up in a handmade house in Hawaii. Her mom is a noted Yoga instructor and her dad is a travel photographer. When not living off the grid, Teal traveled the world with her parents. She likes to say that she was a Tarzan Child as she was barefoot and naked much of the time. She surfed, hula danced and hiked the lava fields, truly living the aloha way. Teal is an adventurer, filmmaker, reality show celebrity and sustainability expert. At only 29 years old, she has managed to combine her passions for travel and sustainability into a rewarding career and life. Teal’s desire to share her experiences with the world has led her down some exciting paths. Alison Teal could be adventure’s answer to Oprah.

She earned a scholarship to attend the University of Southern California’s film school. That is where she started making Alison’s Adventures. The show combines Teal’s Hawaiian roots with world exploration. She has been producing, in her words, the “docu-series with a sense of humor” for eight years. Volunteers, friends and cool, sustainable brand sponsors all help Teal in creating her show.

With her pink surfboard in tow–surfing is her way of meditation–she visits Fiji, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand and other culturally-rich locales. In her travels, Teal makes a point of plunging into the local culture. With a flower in her hair, she learns and imparts lessons about ancient ways of living sustainably.

Young Alison with Friend
Young Alison with Friend

When Discovery Channel invited Teal to be a contestant on their hit show Naked and Afraid, she jumped at the chance. She was now being given the opportunity to share her mad survival skills with the world. The show’s premise puts two naked people, one man and one woman, in a natural, harsh environment for 21 days. They must feed themselves and build shelter using only the surrounding trees, plants and animals.

Teal was paired with Jonathan Klay and the two were filmed, naked and surviving, in the Maldives. From all reports, Klay did not impress many viewers. Teal, however, scored the season’s highest primitive survival rating. About the experience she said, “being in nature and following intuition is really fun.” The pair made appearances on Arsenio Hall, CNN, Ellen and Steve Harvey.

In preparation for the Naked and Afraid experience, Teal made a short film about how she solicited the help of her community. Wild Child featured Coconut Pete and a chance meeting with another female survivalist who taught Teal how to make fire with a bow. The information she learned from a handful of Hawaiian locals may have made a huge difference for her. She said that through the experience, she gained a new appreciation for the tree that she grew up perhaps taking for granted: the coconut.

As she continues to create new episodes of Alison’s Adventures, she harbors a yet unrealized, but completely obtainable dream. Teal would like to be the Oprah of healthy living, sustainability and adventure. She likes the idea of being a bridge that brings cultures together. Alison Teal has accomplished a lot so far in her short life. With a flower in her hair and her pink surfboard under her arm, she is building, for herself, a sustainable career.

By Stacy Lamy


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