On Thursday, March 12, 2009, I strayed from the path of a Puerto Rican rainforest and became lost in the woods. Several hours later, I emerged from the woods emaciated, naked, and savaged by lice and dandruff.
I am a survivor. This is my story.
I had been staying at a resort in Puerto Rico for the greater part of the week, completely unaware of the harrowing journey I would face that fateful Thursday. Nancy and I decided to go for a short stroll through the rainforest to see a beautiful waterfall. Neither of us knew that a mere 2 hours later, I’d be hopelessly lost in the woods, completely, utterly naked.
Nancy will tell you that she turned her back for just a moment, and then I was gone. She called out to me, but I could barely hear her, so I stumbled blindly in the opposite direction, ripping off my perfectly usable clothes.
Immediately I knew I had to find water, shelter, and fire if I was going to survive the next few hours. Water was easy–I was in a rainforest, after all, so I just drank my own urine–but shelter and fire were more difficult. The trees around me wouldn’t bend or break, and felled branches were soaked through. I ended up creating a nest out of leaves on the ground. Fire was impossible to make, and thus with every passing minute I knew my time was drawing to an end.
I shudder to speak of the animals I encountered in the wild. Bloodthirsty beasts they were, from the smallest lizards to the slightly larger lizards. I fended them off with my wits alone.
To maintain my dignity, should I someday return to civilization, I made a loincloth out of leaves and shrubs and threads that I tore from my old, still perfectly usable clothing.
After an hour in the wild, I could feel the hollow of my stomach as if I had never eaten. I dug desperately into the earth, popping grubs and larvae into my mouth. Sweet nutrients they provided. I also ate a Mounds bar that I purchased in the visitor’s shelter.
Using the sun as a compass, I eventually hobbled back to the path, where I found Nancy waiting. She looked at my near-nudity, my lice, my rashes, my malnourished body, and she said with love in her eyes, “Couldn’t you have just waited a few more minutes to go to the bathroom?”
It was those sweet words that brought me back to the world. I thought I’d never make it, but here am I, alive to tell this tale of survival.
See more true tales of survival here.