Ever seen the movie Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? Well, imagine dealing with that in real life without having any experience of surviving in the wilderness at all. That was the case of Reikko Hori, a Japanese student who spent a total of 19 days completely isolated in the island of Amparo in Indonesia. So just how did the experience go for Hori? Read on and find out.
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Armed with just a spear and a magnifying glass, the 22-year-old student did not go through any form of survival training. Upon making the announcement online, Hori braced herself by ignoring all the pieces of advice so-called “experts” tried to give her. But it looks like Hori has been a lone wolf before as she distances herself from people in society.
Hori was chosen candidate by Docastaway, a tour company with a twist. Instead of the regular vacation trips complete with stays in state-of-the-art resorts, Docastaway specializes on putting guests on remote islands in either extreme or comfort mode, depending on your preference. Hori went with the extreme category “adventure mode,” which the Web site describes as “available for those people who are ready to face the most intense and authentic experiences.”
Hori arrived in the airport, shocking the company as she literally had nothing on hand. No swimsuit, no clothes appropriate for outdoors, and even informed them that she did not at least do any research on what it takes to survive on a paradise island on her own.
They warned on the potential dangers that awaited her on Amparo, such as monitor lizards, snakes, and even scorpions. For the first 24 hours, they decided to accompany her to make sure she knew what she was doing.
Alvaro Cerezo of Docastaway, who is part of the Docastaway team, said,
“What was distressing for me was the fact that Reikko had serious difficulties in detecting danger and in feeling pain. She walked barefoot on the sharp coral, just is if she was walking barefoot at home. She slept on the floor in the jungle without it even crossing her mind that an animal could walk over her in the middle of the night.”
In case of an emergency, the company had a security stationed just forty minutes from where Hori was, but it still made her feel like she was alone. As soon as the team left, Hori was left to fend for herself. She got the hang of things for a while, but like anyone faced in this kind of situation, the stress of living in total solitude was taking a toll.
“I felt very bad because my stomach was empty I felt continually dizzy. On top of that, it wasn’t very nice not being able to wash my clothes or myself. As I had no shelter, the rain made me suffer a lot as did the insects and the sea. On the fifth day, I felt absolute desperation, knowing I still had another 13 days on the island,” Hori shared on the company Web site.
Ultimately, Hori shaped up to finish the ordeal she started herself. She learned to make use of ordinary objects like rocks for opening coconuts to keep herself hydrated. Hori had to make use of ordinary skills too such as catching fish with nothing but a spear gun and how to make fires with the use of a magnifying glass.
Amazingly, Hori survived until the very last day and she even got to celebrate it by roasting a monitor lizard she captured. The experience not only made Hori realize what she was capable of, but she also got to appreciate the presence of other people even more.
“Usually I prefer to be alone, but after I spent 19 days alone on a deserted island, I found a world without people was not the world where I really want to live,” she explained. “I learned I get happiness from being around other people. Not only sufferings but also happiness from being related with other people.
“I want to live positively in society now and I realise how important things I have in my life are.”