10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Alone! The Robinson Experiment – 10 days castaway on a deserted island

Those who follow their dreams will soon have to learn that reality doesn’t match well with the nonsense of subconsciously formed expectations.

(Claudio Sieber, passionate nomad and photojournalist)

The charts of my dreams sprout very seldom from mainstream ideas. Predominantly they mature over decades. Anno 2005 – Tokyo, Japan. An era when the few culture shock chasers nodded applause to each other over six-lane streets while hallucinating a smug homage to their own curiosity. You don’t think of an adventure when hearing “Tokyo”? Just picture yourself marching for hours through vast corridors made of concrete, dazzled by the ultra-modern skyscrapers, glancing at indecipherable Kanji symbols which refer either to blowfish sashimi or fried chicken cartilage, uncomfy capsule beds or love hotels that charge you by the hour. Ergo, the city teaches you some instructive lessons in terms of individual tourism and urban adventures. In a trendy club hidden somewhere in Shibuya’s back alleys, I came across another apprentice; Alvaro, a hip Andalusian, swinging his dreadlocks to the hypnosis of bass and melodic tech rhythms, the rum bottle at hand. Somehow we became friends at first sight but lost contact shortly after. Just as solo travelers usually do. A decade later, I dial his number.

The Robinson Experiment – 10 days castaway on a deserted island

Today, Alvaro runs with great success the „shall-your-dream-come-true company“ – Docastaway.com. His service is roughly summarized as following; Isolation seekers will be carried away to a deserted island for a limited period of time, and what’s left of them will be collected by schedule. Sounds simple but galactically ingenious. In my personal case, I’d love to stick with own ideas, my own nostalgia, and my own expectations. Thus, I prefer bringing only basic knowledge and some essentials. I refuse the offered beach hut, pre-prepared gourmet food, the wooden catamaran, the spear gun, solar batteries, soother et cetera. After all, the project is limited to ten days and it should bless me with some new insights about survival. We nail a deal. The Spaniard suggests that I will be considered a test object with some buddy privileges for the Beta Island in his product portfolio. Meantime I promise to keep the island’s name top secret so that in case I’ll be discovering the Garden of Eden no canny backpacker will copy my route and sneak over undercover – this being guaranteed I comply with the most important decree of Docastaway’s policies. Let’s name my destination of no choice “Isla Incógnita”.

At first, some formalities regarding liability must be acknowledged. Alvaro’s email reads as follows:

„Hey Claudio, this email is just to confirm that you are perfectly aware that I have never been on the above-mentioned island off “Isla Incógnita”. I have no idea how much water or food will be available there. Neither do I have any idea of the dangers you will be facing. However, staying on a desert island has always risks, especially if you don’t bring any water nor food. Please note the dangers of landing (operation) on the island, sea currents, poisonous food etc etc etc etc. – Alvaro“

My alter ego reads the disclaimer with a touch of concern. However, almost certainly I won’t be shipped to a vegetationless stack of stones. Yes, I am foolish but not tired of life. Moreover, I am looking forward to exploring my limits and to overcome fears which I’m unfamiliar with so far. Oh, and by the way, 10 days of isolation apart from the rest of humanity will undoubtedly offer a new experience. Daydreams captivated me for weeks; Will I encounter an uncontacted tribe of rushing horny nymphs? Or just an unknown species of rushing venomous snakes? Pirate treasures or bodies of treasure hunters? Fruit paradise or Badlands? Suddenly, I memorialize my meetups with Borneo’s survival pros; The barefoot stroll through shallow rivers guided by an elder of the Iban ethnic group, who showed me his empty wooden fish traps for hours. So what? Even grandpa has successfully survived a good century with the most primitive technology and his mini-prey. I also remember Mark, a seer, one who occasionally communicates with the dead, but professionally repairs ship engines on an island somewhere off Borneo’s coast. He taught me how to start a fire with very basic tools. Edson from Kota Kinabalu was one of my masters too, he entrusted me some ancestral hunting skills. Such as how to bring down eagles by throwing stones at them. Na, not only for sake of catching a delicious bird with style. If I was lucky, he mentioned, the eagle would drop a freshly captured snake.

Referring to my online research, humans survive up to 40 days without food, but in very rare cases ten days without water. Following the rule of thumb applies; an average human loses roughly one liter of water per day (600ml via urine, 400ml via the skin, 200ml through breathing), depending on physical exertion. It’s been said that our body consists 70 percent of water, considering my weight, I carry at least ten insignificant liters of water. Thus, if I breathe fewer, urinate less often and laze in the shade, my body would survive the ten days unscathed. Hold on, such an undignified near-death experience lacks on many intellectual aspects! During my castaway, I strive to think outside the box, hunt, be challenged, prove to myself that a city boy can survive autonomously apart from modern world comfort, at least if he would have to. Think about it! These days, most of us conveniently living Sapiens need only for an average meal a bewildering number of tools, not only forks and plates, but also gen labs and container ships. The time has come to put a stop to all the knicknack if only to reawaken one’s own consciousness.

Based on dubious considerations, my packing list remains manageable; a rusty machete, a beach towel, a damaged tent, adidas “kampung” (alias the rubber boots of the poor), a fishing hook made of carbon (size 11), three plastic bags, a lighter “made in China”, my worn out swimming trunks, a Nikon D750, and last but not least, my mental preparation, including loads of survival tricks. And yeah, in case you’re now shrugging your shoulders, thinking I’d be a pussy adventurer because I’m not trying to survive on a deserted island for a year or so, I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you… This report is for those who aim to live this dream for a limited time, and for whatever reasons didn’t dare yet to go for it.

Day I – Inspection

„You! come!“ – my boat captain flashes a smile, showing proudly his single tooth. We set off for Isla Incógnita somewhere on one of the 16’458 Indonesian islands. My 10 days castaway is about to start.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

I would have to lie, a queasy feeling shadows my ride. However, with the island of manageable size and its coconut packed roof comes into view, all sorrows fade. Eureka! Coconuts, my life insurance in case the almost toothless captain wouldn’t show up as previously agreed after ten days. Wet landing, and straight to the agony of choice – left or right? To my left, the picture perfect white tropical sandy beach with turquoise-blue water, straight out of the glossy travel catalog. On my right, a rugged stretch of coastline. Intuitively I wander to the right, as chances are better to catch something edible at the less romantic stone pools. Come on, you’d do the same! Who wants to walk an hour to the supermarket every day? On the way I am scouring the ridge between vegetation and sand, as usual, the tide does not only carry pieces of dead coral ashore. After countless visits to islands in the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Thai Gulf, and the Indian Ocean I dare to assert; The less hotel staff is paid to clean up in the morning, the more dramatic the accumulation of alluvial scrap. Well, no reason to complain, at least not today, because I need some bits and pieces for my camp. And there is stuff in abundance; Shell pans, mussel plates, mussel spoons, rope, a bucket, plastic bottles, some fishing line, even a toothbrush.

After roughly one and a half kilometers of walking, I encounter a small increase in elevation – this will serve well as protection against wind and tide. Due to negative experiences with wild camping near unpredictable tides, I’ve become a slight bit smarter. Especially on Indonesia’s southern coasts, where the swell from Australia pushes up, the sea level can arbitrarily vary by a few centimeters. Therefore, I check the dryness of the sand before setting up my camp, so I probably don’t have to move again tomorrow. With the pride of a Swiss housekeeper, I dutifully sweep my territory and tinker a hammock made of rope pieces and my beach towel. Not too far, a welcome gift in form of a coconut drops out of the palm crown. Seems I’m all set for today. My bonfire leads into a picturesque sunset, promptly followed by bedtime. I’m really keen to immerse myself completely in the time zone of this island, thus I follow the natural rhythm of light.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Day II – Natural born killer?

Today I will sacrifice my virginity! Nope, haven’t slaughtered a single animal yet, mostly because I was always too much of a coward as it’s just convenient to entrust this to others. With quite some enthusiasm I’m shaping my weaponry; a spear, a fishing rod, and the chief of the fish traps; the „Automatic Fisherman“ – a high-end trap for rural fishing experts. It must be a little after noon, as the sun raised 90 degrees to the horizon, and its rays are beating straight down on me. Wait, it’s been said that fish are active in the morning and in the late afternoon, there’s some time left to peek for low-hanging coconuts. Et voilà, a climb of three meters to carry off a week’s ration is totally fine with me. It’s no rocket science – a rusty machete makes a castaway’s life much more gallant, at times even less harmful; Instead of creeping up to the palm’s top, I hit some stair-steps into the trunk in order to glide up and down smoothly.

On the way back, I cross path with a hermit crab, type Coenobita clypeatus, not one of those microscopic ones wich stumble awkwardly over the sandy toes of a sunbather, but a big-fisted giant. Undistracted by my presence, he’s busy cutting himself through the thick shell of a coconut. I’ve got a feeling, that this makes my dinner. Our brawl soon comes to an end, and I’m throwing him carefully into the bucket, asking myself if his older siblings live in the area too. To be honest, I’m not a fan of crustaceans protected by a thick armor, as they usually cause more work than joy. Although, to harvest wandering proteins during survival days straight from my footpath seems just logic. I find another one, then another one. Slight change of priorities, tomorrow I’ll pull the big catch ashore, and grill some crab claws today.

Beating to death or slow-burning to death? A tough question indeed. Which death sentence would I prefer? Heat stroke or rock stroke? Suddenly Eduard’s words scurry through my mind: “I apologize to every swine before stabbing an iron pick into its heart”. Makes perfect sense, I apologize to my victim by heart before knocking it down with a piece of hard coral. My dinner is almost ready I suppose, analyzing the mess of twitching legs and guts.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Day III – Unfulfilled expectations

The life of a self-sufficient, a hunter and gatherer. Today’s morning I come to realize that I am neither thinking about the next week, nor the (non-existing) duties of the upcoming days. The „Now“ slides gently into the spotlight, such as my whining stomach, hunger, thirst! There we go, somewhere else I would just wake, have coffee, exchange some cash for breakfast, send a couple of e-mails, wait for a couple e-mails, check my social media feeds, just as every normal Joe does. Moreover, I would fully subjugate myself to an artificially created zest for action while contemplating future events, and I would definitely not be living the moment – In short; the illness of modernity.

I’m currently defining my scope of action at 200 meters around my camp. Overlooking the rock pools, it seems that the low tide indicates fish hideouts, right before the shorebreak. I strategically evaluate the best position to build up my „Automatic Fisherman“ by considering all currents and the upcoming tide. At least I dared to believe that. How so? Did I misinterpret the construction manual and accidentally build an „Automatic raft“? My trap is so buoyant that not even my whole body weight is heavy enough to sink it near the fish. Instead of lazying at the beach and watching how the prey automatically gets lost in my trap, I’m now riding on my „Automatic fisherman“ thinking of a new solution. Hours pass until I finally float to a passage where the tides assumably won’t break my precious work into pieces. In good spirits, I hide a small bag of smelly crab leftovers in the trap, close the lid and cover everything with stones delicately. This evening will be harvest time! Meantime I set off for some classic fishing. Bringing a Carbon Fishing Hook (Size 11) is not a bad idea at all, but the potential should be properly assessed. A fishing hook made of carbon (size 1) would have been enough though. Numerous aquarium fish start whirring around my bait, taking a good bite and vanish satisfied. The label on the product packaging crosses my mind, it reads as follows; “The Ultimate Carbon Hook Technology”. I picture the product managers of “The Ultimate Carbon Hook Technology” observing at this very scene. Assumably, they would bend over with laughter. Sigh, all these sweet promises of the world’s marketing departments, never will they even get close to what they pray. With the daylight fading my dreams of becoming a brand ambassador for their communication campaigns also disappear. Time to test the merciless fishing skills of my „Automatic Fisherman“. One might already speculate correctly – not even a tiny fin has tangled in it. So back to my lookout, admiring nature’s brush painting a new masterpiece, back to my more reliable hammock, to indulge the calming noises of rustling palm leaves, and back to stalking some crabs. The path of least resistance should suffice for now.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Like an obsessed visionary, not gifted with any handiwork skills, though triple as ambitious, I would neither fantasize hurdles while hunting, nor other fiascos, but instead I’ll be happily hallucinating delicious fish on a skewer or pulling a herd of fish out of my „Automatic Fisherman“. Evidently, the reality of matters isn’t responsible for what I don’t know anything about it. Magic first! Our playful minds tend to project a dreamy castle into the air, including colors, forms, and appearance, frankly speaking, that’s the case for almost every goal we’re trying to achieve. But most fantasies, remain fantasies. And most desires, don’t work out as we would like them to work out. Chasing castles in the air is a human heritage, however surreal these may be, it’s the placebo of our unstable minds. In my case, delusion and vision often flow in tandem. A huntsman develops needs subconsciously, from which expectations arise – these expectations are conscious and therefore the worst of all evils. Of course, it’s inconceivable to think of rushing through life without having any desires – everyone needs a virtual orgasm sporadically, something that motivates us to endure the irony of everyday’s life. But those who follow their dreams will soon have to learn that the reality doesn’t match well with the nonsense of subconsciously formed expectations.

Day IIII – Substitutes

Routine kickstart into the day; teeth cleaning with seawater, coconut drink, think tank at “the hammock’s”. Then scouting for alternative resources. I didn’t reach the end of my hunting knowledge, not yet. Those who live in the wilderness shall now agree; Every animal noise suggests a potential food source, every abrupt flashing fur, dandruff, or feather, stimulates one’s survival instinct. Casually I’m staring up to the kingfishers. Too far away. Turning my head towards the reef. Too uncomfortable. Shifting my view right into the thicket of the jungle where the small lizards hang out to play. Hopeless! So I decide to wander to the beach section to track down some turtle eggs. And perhaps to have a swim. In July supposedly, the sea turtles hatch, this indicates full nests in June. With noble intentions, I won’t be eating them all, only three or four. But how silly I am to believe that whatsoever animal, no matter which species it belongs to, would put a big sign right next to its nest saying “Attention! Offspring hatching!“ I’m contemplating, where would I lay my eggs? There are no visible turtle footprints, and I have no torch to go check during night time. So I decide to dig a hole in the sand every here and there, to eventually find nothing else except more sand. What a surprise, right?! However, it still works great on the crab frontline. Meantime, I’ve successfully established a small protein farm. Besides, feeding my crab herd on fermented coconuts might spice up the flesh with a special flavor – A new dish-to-be called “Drunken Incógnita Crab”.

Apparently, my senses are as crisp as never before, there’s a rustle in a fair distance. Whilst zooming in I can make out one and a half meters of lively reptilian meat which currently tries to ambush, to camouflage, or both. Damn, my handmade spear is out of reach, and the monster lizard is already running at the speed of light. Ideas are spinning, plans, dreams. As usual, the dream first: I imagine myself wearing a “kiss the cook“ pinny, triumphantly spit roasting the lizard over a crunching bonfire. “Medium” or “well done”? Neck or flank? Sea salt or pure?

Thanks to some memories of my recent trip through Vietnam I’m crafting a “Vietcong booby trap”, which already has mutilated many American soldiers. The trap’s characteristics are quite spartan: a hole, in depth as big as the victim that it is supposed to bury, sharpened wooden pikes stuck into its bottom, the top finely covered with leaves and branches. Prudently I modify the tryp by hanging a coconut shell with smelly crab cadaver over it. Everything festively arranged, per se fine dining for monster lizards. Would basic billboards near the trap help a little? Such as a wooden arrow marked with; “DRUNKEN CRAB THIS WAY!” or “LIZARDS WELCOME”? Who knows… For now I go wait patiently, feed some fish, split coconuts, and raise my bodycount of shellfish. The feast will be on by tomorrow.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Day IIII – One of those days    

With abstract dreams of myself sitting in a cage surrounded by house-sized lizards, I wake up, blinking drowsily. Now I’d love to have a witness! The situation I’m facing couldn’t be more ironic, the same fellow lizard from last night is now darting its tongue into my half-open tent. As if he aims to prove that only he is able to fuck with me. Right here, right now. The trap remains empty, the bait has gone. Even worse, a great storm approaches my lil paradise, the color of the sky changes from light blue to white, to black. Now the wind starts belling. With certain skepticism, I overlook an angry Indian Ocean, in which the waves criss-cross from all directions. I decide to hide in the tent for the rest of the day, nibbling Coco and feeling left out. Melancholy spreads, although I am completely aware that nobody cares – let’s face the sad truth, nobody except me is whining. Neither the sea, nor the aquarium fish, and for sure not that cunt of lizard. Some soothing letters would help now, oh yes, a book or a ballad, tobacco, a chat with friends, a pizza island delivery service, something that would comfort the heavy dreariness, any stimuli for my bored brain cells would be totally acceptable. I shelter myself with Vipassana meditation while manually holding closed my damaged tent entrance. Just one of those days…

Common Sense, most solo adventure travelers are addicted to “Solitude” – not to be confused with “loneliness”. Thus, on a deserted island, there is plenty of solitude on offer with a pretty high risk of getting an overdose – I strongly believe that the real Garden of Eden can be found in our own mind. But isn’t it a bit tough to lock yourself away from everyday life? It’s no secret, spending a fair amount of time in your own head helps to digest previous experiences, restructuring knowledge, and simply contributes to a better world consciousness. Best practice to improve mindfulness is a peaceful environment in which no superficial state of emergency arises. A place where the peace of mind can easily dominate, somewhere where the ego is not permanently cheered on, where no Facebook nor Instagram posts show that you’ve missed something or that it might be better elsewhere. The ego and the power of its thoughts; miracle weapon, and nightmare at the same time. Solitude teaches you well to appreciate the little things in life, but also to be fully aware of stuff that you dislike.

Out there a roaring sea hisses its song, somehow I find sleep, somehow not at all.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Day IIII I – Distraction

After a full day in the tent without any means of entertainment, a fresh portion of enthusiasm flows through me. I edge my lance and scour the pools for prey. An eel is roaming around with the same idea, and suddenly turns from the hunter into the hunted, I stab once and miss. Fair play! He gives me another chance – but again, totally past the target. We both go our way, the skilled hunter continues to fish successfully further away from the danger zone, while I’m resigning myself to sort out some crab legs.

I desperately seek distraction from all these debacles by cutting a path into the mangrove forest where I hope to find a natural mosquito repellent. Actually, I do not hope to find what I’m looking for, but after only a few swings with my machete, I already end up at the place to be – A termite mound. The fairly thick bulb does not say anything about the species, but I assume that the Indonesian termites cater the same purpose as the Amazon termites I’ve read about. Thus, I dig in and wait for the Exodus. Doubtfully, I stretch my left arm and lean it against the termite city, followed by a brief pause until some five dozen termites have gathered on my arm. Then I grind them to a mash but leave the rest of my body untouched. Another idea’s coming up. As the sun is still high up I’ll dedicate this afternoon to a water evaporation experiment and tie the three plastic bags on the juiciest vegetation I’m able to find in the region. I dare to predict, that if I choose the right plant, I will get 100-200ml of fresh tea out of each plastic bag by later afternoon. And yesss, it’s working indeed! My enthusiasm raises as the mosquitoes now only empty both legs and the right arm – I even dare to consider this day a complete success.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Well done. I reward myself with starring up to the overwhelmingly glowing Milky Way for hours. There are as many celestial bodies as grains of sand on Earth, astrologers say. In an area full of stars and sand one feels insignificantly small. I flow within and agree with everything, with the presence, with everything that was, and all that may come. Translated from Latin: “Per aspera ad astra” – A rough path lead to the stars.

Day IIII II – Daydreams

Another day in paradise captivity. I have to admit that the urge to be creative is dwindling. Neither sea urchins nor shells, not even algae can be found without free diving in raging waves. Although I could continue to fine-tune my weaponry and wade some more hours on sharp rocks to eventually catch a 3-centimeter fish, there are still three days to go until the end of my project. Thus, I tend to not overdoing it and divide my energy sparingly. My sparse body fat disappears visibly. No wonder, crab protein and saturated fatty cater little nutritional value. My mind seems to willingly escape the longer the more to comfier imaginations, such as the market stalls in Bangkok, the noodle soups of Hanoi, and surprisingly, it takes me even further away to Swiss bakeries. I remember plenty of folks from back home questioning me regularly if wouldn’t miss the local food since I’m already away for 4 years. I usually ask back if they’ve ever heard about the food heaven called „Asia“. However, during this castaway experiment, I have acquired a fine talent, very useful for the rare moments in which I slip back into a relapse. That’s how; My concentration awareness is that refined, I’m now able to imitate a certain taste mentally, so intense that this mirage can practically be eaten. My brain then surrenders, spills out some endorphins, is happy again and takes care of more important matters. I’m super excited because this technique seems way cheaper and less energy sucking than being a slave to my self-created desires. The arise of sensations is not really explainable, what we know so far is that they are rooted in the complex depths of our subconscious and mutate through our consciousness into desires. Being able to mentally soothe or even ignore heavy desires sounds like an unattainable stage of mindfulness, and seems somehow heartless as awkward. But it helps to stay down to earth, this applies to food and everything else that is currently out of reach.

Acting as a self-taught minimalist, I go picking crabs, climb up some palms again to collect coconuts, and spend the rest of the day swinging in my hammock. Just for the sake of fun, I mislay my precious machete every now and then, this I’ve learned, also distracts and kills some time.

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Day IIII III – Timeless

Being awakened by the sound of the waves and falling asleep while watching intense sunsets has something idyllic. Fortunately, I only had to turn 35 years of age to experience the pleasure of timelessness. To be honest, time didn’t control my life within the last few years, by no means, but living completely outside the world of timekeepers and their bondaged human beings could hardly be more liberating. Every now and then I find myself thinking about the phenomenon of time, subconsciously, indoctrinated. But then again I realize that this thought has neither power nor influence on other fictions. And now since I have surrendered hunting, I feel being ahead of the time, thus all sorrows fade. Daydreams gain more value, they may be extended randomly and endure to the very end. Memories which apply to places and people I’ve met receive new intensity.

Without time more time? Based on psychological studies, less educated folks define boredom completely different than more privileged people. Raised in a modern society, the word „boredom“ comes with ironic overtones. However, boredom does not necessarily refer to not having fun when doing nothing, but to be forced to deal with the moment of doing nothing. Once boredom is identified as such, the well-educated mind automatically scouts for alternatives. Sitting still, just thinking of one’s past, or even looking into an unpredictable future? Not really. Many times I try to imagine how a typical Asian daydreamer defines boredom, may he or she be living in at the rural coastline of Sumatra, or in mountainous Mu Cang Chai. It doesn’t really matter. Talking of one those who will never get out of an ordinary living standard, continuing what generations before them had been doing. These people already grew up timeless and won’t catch up with the opportunities others know so well about, neither the sacrifice nor the bittersweet rewards. We are all prisoners of cyclical time consciousness. Enthusiasm or foresight doesn’t come as a pill, it is taught through education and excessive competition.

Time pressure is the cancer of modernity! As a former sales and project manager with 13 years of experience in a highly competitive field, in a perfectionist country like Switzerland, I have perceived the time pressure to an extent that would be fatal to more sensitive beings. I have seen how whole industries beat the pressure of being „on time“ from the top management down to the caretaker until the very last victim sings the same tune: Time is money – no money, no progress – no progress, no guaranteed survival by governmental support – We could call it by the name, it’s a free ride into the social abyss. Yes, we need it, because there isn’t a better working system yet, on the other hand, it’s scary in its very own way. All this is not big news, neither does it disturb everyone in the same way. “Work-life balance”, “burnout” and “unconditional basic income” are foreign words in the vocabulary of developing countries. That is for a good reason, things are going slower – more timeless. By the way, I’m still swinging in my hammock enjoying my timelessness…

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

Day IIII IIII – Tuesday

My penultimate day on the island flows gracefully. With great routine, I barbecue some last „Drunken Crabs“ and observe my environment. As always before a farewell, I focus with greater attention at the scene around me. The sounds, its aroma, these very particular aesthetics, I breath slowly and keep on monitoring until I am fully caught in the act of admiration. But then… Wtf? A boy walks past and weaves a polite hello. We glance at each other, obviously, both of us are quite surprised. A chit chat would solve that akward situation I’m guessing. Alright, he speaks Indonesian, I speak English and the two uf us pretend we understand a little. I decide to baptize him “Tuesday” to celebrate today’s day. His nodding seems like a consent. Generous as I am, I invite him to try some tiny crab legs. The boy gives me a thumbs up but declines emphatically. As if he’d say, “I don’t really like your blackened crusts”. At that point, I didn’t expect the following masterpiece to happen: I watch Tuesday speeding barefoot over the razor-sharp corals, the straight course towards the 3 meter high waves, then he disappears with his little spear in the flood. Half an hour or so later, he returns with two large sized fish, places them next to the fire, gives me another thumbs up, and vanishes again in the dusk. Does he live here by any chance? Am I not alone? Hell knows. Bout what I know, is that I feel a bit silly now, for the reason that this 10-ish years old youngster came over to teach me an important lesson.

Quite often, they’d call me brave, for mastering my Robinson experiment, but most of all for my world travel project which already endures 4 years. Although many are mix up courage with privileges in the western world. Honestly, once I am tired of my explorations, I simply return home, start all over again and wait for the pension to come. If I (against all expectations) fail to find a job, then unemployment money is flowing to my bank account. Perhaps I’ll go studying with 50 years of age. Nothing more than a matter of drive and setting priorities. Every day, I encounter real courage behind the facade of the Asian ease, in pubescent and timeless boys like Tuesday, as well as in all the heroes who had been drilled since a very young age to make a self-sufficient living, those who face a monotonous everyday life with a smile, pride and lust for life. Seriously, if they set off, we put on the diapers. In case a World War breaks out by tomorrow and our cities fall; Tuesday, the Iban-Grandpa, Mark, Eduard & Co. just return into the wild and hunt for dinner while our modernized society will be doomed to failure.

Day IIII IIII – Final farewell

10 days castaway experiment on a deserted island in Indonesia

My captain picks me up with a high-five. Damn, have I missed his toothless laughter. Nostalgically I glance at my little jail island. No Garden of Eden, no rushing horny nymphs, neither a gigantic lizard on the turning-spit, and definitely no eagles with snakes in their beaks ready to be shot with stones. Yet I leave Isla Incógnita with an euphoric „Yes“ to my life and the world. Although I lost a few kilos, I gained some tons of new knowledge.

Thus fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than the danger itself.

(Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe)

Check out my image gallery of Isla Incógnita or find out more about the services of Alvaro’s docastaway.com

Btw, not easy to imagine what sort of emotional stress ?or happiness? shipwrecked (or long-term castaways) have to go through.

– The Australian David Glasheen lived 20 years the life of a castaway (Article Alvaro Crezero, via Daily Telegraph)

– “The Vietnamese Tarzan” alias Ho Van Lang thought until recently, the Vietnam War (American War) was still going on (video documentary, Alvaro Crezero)

José Salvador Alvarenga went shipwreck and survived 438 days on the high seas (The Guardian)