Most of us live our lives with a carefree attitude not thinking about what it would take to fight for our own lives. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the more we push ourselves away from the harsh reality of life, the lesser our chances of survival are – and we are talking about the day-to-day life in civilization.
Try to imagine yourself in a situation where you’re exposed to unfamiliar terrain, punishing environments, with barely any clothes, and nothing else but your mind. Would you be able to survive? Would you have what it takes to stick through? The truth is, most of us wouldn’t.
How epic does your ordeal have to be in order to make a movie by it? For those who are not familiar with Aron Ralston, you are probably more familiar with the move 127 Hours. And for those who haven’t seen the movie, hold on to your chair as this one will make you question your survival skills.
Back in 2003, Aron was out hiking through the Bluejohn Canyon in southeast Utah. As he was hiking, he saw a rather narrow canyon and decided to descend into it. On his way down, a large boulder fell and trapped his right arm.
Aron spent five days living off of snacks and water he packed for the hike, hoping someone would stumble upon him. However, he made a mistake of not telling anyone he even left. He was stuck in an exceedingly remote canyon which meant the chances of someone finding him were very, very slim.
During those five days, he lost 40 pounds (18kg) and slowly started to lose his mind. He realized that no one will find him so he did what 99.9% people wouldn’t be able to – he took out his multi-tool with a tiny knife and cut straight through his arm.
He got out of the canyon, began hiking towards his truck and was discovered by a family that happened to be hiking nearby. Aron Ralston now works as a motivational speaker and he’s still out hiking with his friends – but never alone.
Sir Douglas Mawson
In 1912, Sir Douglas Mawson, Belgrave Ninnis and Xavier Mertz embarked on an expedition of the Antarctic. The three men started their journey from the Commonwealth Bay, with the goal of exploring the interior of the continent by gathering specimens and scientific data.
They wanted to travel 300 miles (482 kilometers) into the interior of the continent, but tragedy soon followed. Ninnis fell down a crevasse along with a sledge and a few of their finest dogs. The sledge had almost all of their supplies, so Mawson and Mertz were left with pretty much nothing.
Left stranded in the middle of nowhere, they eventually resorted to eating their dogs, just to survive. Both were left suffering from scurvy and other medicinal issues, and it wasn’t before long that Mertz died. It is believed that he died due to possible toxicity after consuming dog liver.
With his mind set on retrieving the research data, Mawson battled the elements for another month before he came across a base camp. He was frost-bitten, exhausted and emaciated. A recent biography of Mawson suggests that he was involved in Metrz’s death and that he probably ate him in order to survive long enough to retrieve their research.
This Italian police officer was an athlete and long-distance runner who decided to try his chances in the 1994 Marathon of the Sands, a 6-day-long endurance race held in the Sahara Desert. During the race, wind blew in a huge sandstorm causing Mauro to get lost in the desert. He spent more than 24 hours off his track when he stumbled upon a shrine.
He spent a few days there, killing and eating bats, drinking his own urine, licking the dew of rocks and sucking moisture out of his clothes. Mauro assumed he would never be found so he decided to take his life by slitting the wrists with a pen knife. However, the weather in the desert was so dry that his wound clotted before he could bleed out to death.
With nothing left to lose, Mauro got back into the desert where he spent 5 days walking and survived by eating reptiles and insects. He travelled over 180 miles (290km) and lost 35 pounds (16kg) before he found a village and was rescued. In 2012, Mauro returned Sahara and completed the race.
José Salvador Alvarenga
In November 2012, José Salvador Alvarenga embarked on a fishing trip with Ezequiel Cordoba, a young fisherman he had just met. Their plan was to hunt shark, tuna and mahi mahi. A few hours into their journey, they got caught in a storm that lasted 5 days and set them off course.
The storm destroyed their electronics and the boat’s motor was full of water, which meant Alvarenga and Cordoba were left stranded at sea. Few days later, Alvarenga’s boss sent a search party that spent two days looking for them and returned home assuming they had drowned.
The two fishermen were left without any food or supplies, so they started to eat raw fish, jellyfish and turtles. When they ran out of water, they started hunting for turtles and drinking their blood. Soon, weeks turned into months, and after eating so much raw fish, Cordoba got food poisoning and died.
Alvarenga spent another 9 months stranded at sea, all alone, catching fish and turtles, trying to survive… He noticed a small island and with the last atoms of strength, he swam to the shore where he found a local couple who called the authorities. Alvarenga spend 438 days lost at sea and it’s estimated that the traveled anywhere between 5,500 to 6,700 miles (8,850 to 10,780 kilometers).
Now, Ricky’s story is something straight out of a Hollywood movie. On January 23, 2006, Ricky was on his way to a new job, enjoying the views of the Australian Outback when he stopped to pick up a group of hitchhikers. The group somehow managed to drug him and get him unconscious. The next thing he remembers is waking up in a ditch with dingoes all around him.
Ricky had no idea where he was, but he was more than familiar with the harsh conditions of the Australian Outback, so he made a shelter with branches and leaves. He spent 71 days alone in the middle of nowhere, eating frogs, snakes and drinking urine. During the night, we would build a wall out of rocks to stay protected from dingoes.
By the time he was found, Ricky had lost over 100 pounds (45kg) and looked like a walking skeleton. The cattle ranch crew who discovered him took Ricky to a local hospital where he was treated for malnutrition and dehydration. Authorities expressed skepticism regarding the circumstances of his disappearance, and it’s still unclear what happened to him – his vehicle was never found, but Ricky continues to claim he was drugged.
Would you be able to do any of these things? Would you be able to survive by eating frogs and drinking your own urine? Would you have what it takes to cut off your arm? Well, neither would we, and let’s just hope no one gets to experience anything remotely similar to this.