THE ISLAND WITH BEAR GRYLLS
Lets skip forward 12 weeks from my return across the Atlantic Ocean. Picture this, miserable, bored and unable to steer myself away from the daily family sized malteser packets.
Having experienced adrenaline rushed “life” for 4 months at sea; real life just wasn’t cutting it. I was expected to get a ‘real’ job, settle down, start saving for a house, ya know- normal responsibilities for a 24 year old. However I could not get my mind to focus on a single one of those things. I was lost, unable to fathom how I was going to return to living a normal existence, desperately missing the Atlantic Ocean and hating living at home. Its around this time the first series of Channel 4’s “The Island with Bear Grylls” finished and up popped the advert for the second series- this time, women may apply.
Now, I’m not one for suspicions behaviour or coincidence (or I didn’t used to be) but something told me there and then, I was going on that Island. So, I filled in my application form, along with 100,000 others and many interview stages later, back and forth, being a reserve etc.- I was flying out of Heathrow Airport at 7am in the morning to a remote island off Panama.
The rest is history really, or as many people saw on TV. Truthfully my personal experience was so much more then was ever shown to the public. BUT of course it was going to be- we lived on that island, alone, for 6 whole weeks- that’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 6 weeks and then, ultimately condensed into 4 and half hours of 6 episodes of prime time Thursday night “tele”.
Nevertheless, the women I experienced it with, for the best part were, and always will be some of my best friends for life. The bonds we created, the stories shared over late night bonfires were some of the most personal and reflective experiences I’ve ever dared to have.
I also learnt so cool skills too; like how to make a fire (despite what you may think), how to humanely kill and ‘slice and dice’ animals, purify water using a pair of dirty knickers (nice!) and eventually build shelters with a single machete and some bamboo leaves.
I cant compare the Atlantic and The Island, neither is comparable to each other. Both were life changing, or rather life affirming experiences. Both made me realise that I was a tough cookie, and that I have to explore and push for this in life. It made me realise that I’m not someone who is going to spend 13 hours at a desk, it also made me realise that I’m ok with that too.