Ever fantasised about being stranded on a desert island or surviving a plane crash in the jungle? Well, you’re not the only one. Which is why a new trend for disaster survival adventure holidays has started to emerge, where you learn how to survive in the wild.
TV shows such as Shipwrecked, I’m A Celebrity and Survivor trade on our fascination with surviving and have turned the idea into an entertainment format. Shows by Ray Mears and Bear Grylls are more serious, teaching viewers about the skills you need to survive in a disaster situation.
Maybe it’s time you switched off the TV and put yourself to the ultimate test?
While it’s (hopefully) unlikely it’ll ever happen in real life, you can still make the fantasy a reality by joining disaster survival adventure holidays. Stranding yourself on an island, in the jungle or the arctic to learn to survive might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s a huge amount of satisfaction in proving you’ve got what it takes.
Disaster survival adventure holidays usually take on a narrative to make the experience feel more genuine. Your ship will start to take on water, the waves will come crashing over the deck and soon you’ll realise that there’s no alternative but to abandon ship.
When you ‘come to’, you’ll realise you’re on a deserted tropical island. Lying on a beautiful beach, it won’t seem so bad at first. But then the reality hits. You’ve got no food, no water, no shelter and no real chance of rescue. It’s up to you to summon the strength and the skill to survive.
You won’t be alone. Disaster survival training relies heavily on teamwork, so you’ll be stranded along with a small group of fellow survivors. Plus, there will be a survival expert with you at all times as your guide and teacher.
And, just in case things do get a little too real, there are always emergency contact channels you can use so there will be no relying on smoke signals messages in a bottle. This means support services and first aid are never far away.
It’s not just the desert island survival adventure holidays in the Pacific that are available. There are several other disaster survival scenarios that you can tackle.
Maybe you’d prefer it if your plane went down in the jungle of Guyana and you survived the crash (metaphorically obviously). Learn how to light fires, catch fish, avoid the nasty creepy crawlies and machete your way back to civilisation.
How about the bone chilling wilderness of the Swedish Arctic? Where keeping warm and finding food in the frozen wild are key to staying alive.
If you’re looking for a really extreme adventure, why not head out into the bush of Namibia? Here you can learn from the San bush men, tracking animals and navigating the rocky escarpments of the treacherous Erongo mountains.
You can even enjoy slightly more sedate survival adventures in the Sussex countryside in the UK. The Woodlore school was founded by the master of survival skills himself, Ray Mears. Learn how to identify edible plants, track animals and make camps.
Not all disaster survival adventure holidays are as exotic as being stranded on a desert island. But your learn how to survive picking up skills that are transferable to real life situations, whilst also learning a bit about yourself.
The main focus of any disaster survivor simulation is to develop the mental strength and determination to survive. Above and beyond all the individual skills that you will learn, this is the most important aspect of any survival situation.
You’ll understand the importance of staying calm, making quick and clear decisions, and learn how to cope in stressful situations. These are genuine life skills that can make you a happier, stronger and a more relaxed person.
Other key skills you will need to learn are how to work as a team and the importance of cooperation under duress.
Then there are the many individual survival skills particular to your situation. On an island adventure, for example, you’ll learn how to identify potential water sources and how to sterilise it for drinking. Discover how to find food (top tip, don’t eat too many coconuts – after about three or four more ends up coming out than going in).
You’ll design and build an effective shelter, make fire from scratch, as well as learn how to make tools and utilise materials you find on the island.
There is no set method for preparation. Disaster survival adventure holidays are designed to test your body and mind to their absolute limits. So, being in good physical shape will definitely help but it’s not essential. The real challenge is in the mind, with often physically fit people struggling just as much.
However, you will need to get medical clearance from your doctor. Specific conditions such as heart problems or medication don’t necessarily prevent participation but each individual is different. So official say so is essential. Tour operators can generally make provisions for special conditions such as diabetes if informed in advance.
You can research survival methods online, but nothing will adequately prepare for the reality of the situation. So, if you always wondered how you would react in a disaster, it’s time to put yourself to the test.
If the island survival adventure sounds like your kind of thing, then check out the ten-day Survival Island adventure from No Roads Expeditions in Tonga. Explore your mental toughness and learn how to survive on a beautiful but deadly paradise island.
If you’ve ever sat there watching celebrities flounder thinking you could do better, this is a chance to prove it. Not only will you learn how to survive and have a story to tell the grand-kids but you will find out if you have what it takes.
Thanks to No Roads expeditions for the images and inspiration for this article. If you want to learn how to survive then join their Survivor Island in Tonga. Trips go November March and April with the next available spaces 18 to 29 April 2017 costing AU$5950. Find out more at: www.noroads.com.au