When we receive mail we get pretty excited, but this one email was so captivating we have to read it three times!
Dom Paver wrote to us and said he recently found our blog on instagram and thought he’d check out our website. Checking out our website he quickly gathered that we love adventures and that we’re always keen to hear about other peoples adventures, so he thought he’d fill us in on his own…
It’s about a boy who was told to leave school and became a man by getting lost in the wild!
“In 2011 I was asked to leave my school for being depressed. As you could imagine the news upset me quite a bit so I thought, “No need to conform to people who reject what they fear, might as well go see the world through my own eyes” 🙂 1 week later I bought a one way ticket to Patagonia in South America with the money I saved singing opera as a kid (haha). – Yes Dom sang Opera!
I arrived in Chili only to remember that they speak Spanish and I don’t speak Spanish! So after much confusion at the airport in Cohaiqua I got through customs and met an Australian man Called Russell Willis who conducts tours for people who enjoy trekking all around the world. I immediately asked if he needed an assisstant for his next big adventure to which he agreed to take me on.
For 2 weeks we journey’d around the Atlas Mountains, over glaciers, through rivers, summiting mountains all with a group of 60 plus year olds (I was 18 at the time). After the 2 weeks the tour continued, but I decided to part ways with my beautiful group of new friends and adventure on my own to see what would happened.
The first week I made my way hiking between two small country towns, nestled in the foothills of Torres Del Paine. After leaving the last town (Cochrane) I decided to keep going. Probably a bad decision given what followed…
After 2 days spent hiking 60 kms, I came to the realisation I was completely lost with only one days supply of food left. I had also (by accident) crossed the boarder of Chilli and Argentina illegally by wading across the dividing river of the two countries. So after freaking out for a bit I gathered myself and kept going. The fourth day came round and I was starving, still no sign of another person for 4 days. It’s so funny, but I didn’t even have a chance to see my own reflection. This was the most isolating feeling I could possibly think of. I loved it.
2 more days went by, in which felt like an entire cycle of seasons occured. One minute it was pouring rain, next it was snowing then it would flip to being 28 degrees. It was crazy ! On the 6th evening I had found my way into a valley edging onto the enormous glacier called O’Higgins. I pitched my tent at 10:30pm and noticed a lightening storm at the end of the valley moving quickly in my direction. In my state of extreme hunger and cold, I decided to light a small fire quickly then pass out in the tent. I lit the fire and after a few minutes I heard a quite growling and saw, by the edge of the fire light, the silhouette of a HUGE Puma. This doesn’t happen. They never come near people and that’s when I realised I was truely lost. And terrified for my life. I very slowly backed into my tent and felt the comfort of it’s thin walls and warmth. I never heard or saw the puma again. 30 minutes or so later, I was lying down watching the sillouettes of trees being outlined by the lightening on the edge of the tent. Then all of a sudden lightening struck and the shape of a man was standing right there. No more then 3 feet away. I jumped out and very confused asked “Are you okay? are you hear to help me? What are you doing? There’s a f*** puma.” A 40-50 year old New Zealand fellow with a big grey beard responded, “Whoooaaaa man, I’m just wandering dude! you scared the shit out of me!” To which I responded, “Do you have any food?”. He responded “Yeah”, I then asked “Do you know where we are?” He replied again “Yeah”.
This weird hippie gave me food, directions, and company for 4 hours and absolutely saved my life. In the morning he directed me from the peak of a near by mountain and then walked off back into the wilderness. I never heard from him again although I did give him my email.
I continued down to a farm that was about 10 kms away and met a lovely chillian family there who gave me shelter and medicine for 3 days until I was fit and ready to be on my way. I will always remember those 6 days and the feeling of being so alive, scared, hungry but mostly HAPPY for the rest of my life!
We love Dom’s story and are so happy that he shared his adventure, his courage and his determination to find out about the world despite being told otherwise by school. Check out his facebook here