Having had the go ahead from the surgeon to undertake the trip to the Amazon, I now needed to plan it.
I decided to go with Randall Adventure Training for my trip to the the Amazon. They’re an American company and are globally recognised as being one of the best jungle survival training companies in the world.
I called my friend Guy, who I met on the Arctic survival course and asked if he fancied a trip to the Amazon, “Yes!” he replied, so we booked our places and went for it.
Here’s a link to their latest course:
Mike and Jeff who run the company are hugely experienced and have travelled and explored much of South America.
This really was a survival course, we took no food, no water, no spare clothes or shelter. We had a fantastic time; it was a real challenge and I couldn’t believe I was there! In the Amazon! Only 2 years ago I could hardly walk and now I was chopping my way through the jungle.
At the end of the 10 day course, I had literally hundreds of bites, in fact, the instructors had never seen anyone bitten so much and my back appeared in an American survival magazine! What fame! I put it down to having British blood, so much more appealing than American.
There were many highlights, seeing and holding a boa and a sloth, building jungle beds, firelighting in the torrential rain, learning to use a machete, drinking from a water vine, seeing a myriad of insects, “simply” experiencing the jungle and while floating down the Amazon, on our personal homemade rafts, having fresh water dolphins come up and swim along side us.
But, what I truly learnt from this course, is to say “yes” to things that come your way, and…not to simply wait for those things to happen, but to make them happen! I could have put so many barriers and reasons for not going; my mental health, my abuse, my spinal injury, money, time away from work and family. I took a huge leap of faith and had a wonderful and life changing experience.
I am blessed with having a really supportive wife, family and colleagues, who rather than put obstacles in the way, encouraged me to go (but, maybe they really just needed a break from me! 🙂 ).
People ask me what is the thing I find most scary and frightening on expeditions; the answer is simple; the flying. I simply hate flying.
I am delighted that through my work, I have been able to go on to use these experiences and talk to community groups and schools and show that you do not need to be super human to undertake these types of challenges and hopefully inspire other people to follow their dreams.