In October 2014 I spent six weeks on a deserted island, 60 miles off the coast of Panama, to film the second series of a TV programme, ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’.
I applied to be on ’The Island with Bear Grylls’ as I was close to approaching 30 years old and decided that I needed a new adventure to fulfil my mini midlife crisis…
After numerous auditions over a period of several months I had a call from the production company saying “Dan…things just got real, pack your bags you have been selected.”
After the initial shock and picking myself up from the floor, my mind began to race about what was in front of me, and questioned myself over why I would expose myself to such a challenging experience.
Skip forward four weeks and I was crossing the South Pacific Ocean with 13 other men that I had never met before, with whom I was being stranded on a deserted island, and nothing but each other and a few tools for survival.
After one day’s training with survival expert Bear Grylls, he dumped my new team and I off the side of a boat, with three machetes, three knives, two jerry cans filled with water, camera equipment for filming ourselves and the clothes in which we were swimming, to reach our new home... a deserted island.
During my six weeks living on the island, we had soon built a new society that fed, watered and sheltered itself. This outstanding achievement was far from easy, yet was accomplished with trust, honestly and an impressive amount of teamwork - without which we’d never have got through it.
My newly formed family suffered a rollercoaster of emotions – extreme lows of not eating for days on end, followed by elation at finding some protein in the form of an 8-foot crocodile that sustained us for days. One other harrowing low was when one of my team mates was medically evacuated as a result of a 10ft drop onto treacherous rocks.
Since I returned from island life to Aberdeen last December, I have found a greater appreciation of life. Working in such a demanding industry we all expose ourselves to an underserving amount of stress. My island experience has highlighted what is actually important… I have learnt the value of prioritisation, which has made me more efficient at work, allowing me to enjoy my time outside of the office so much more.
I am now looking for my next challenge which may include scaling Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, with some of my team mates from the island.
Life is not a dress rehearsal… If you want something, do everything in your power and more to get it!