I wake up to the sound of leaves rustling. I opened my eyes and realize I’m not in my bed. I wasn’t dreaming. I’m in the middle of what seems like a jungle all alone and disoriented. I have no idea how I got here or where I was. All I know was that I’m lost in the jungle.
Panic starts to set in. Who wouldn’t be hysterical in this kind of situation? I was all alone in an unfamiliar place with no idea where to go or what to do or why I was there in the first place.
Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
I force myself to take a few deep breaths and try to calm down. I need to stay calm if I want to have any chance of surviving and getting out of here alive. I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere if I continued to freak out. I had to think rationally and figure out a plan. Lucky for me, I’ve had an interest in prepping and survival for a while now and have read up on what to do in different emergency situations like this. I’ve seen plenty of survival shows and movies, too, so that should help, right?
The first thing I had to do was to assess my situation. I checked myself for injuries. There was dried blood on my head. I might’ve fallen and hit my head on something. I didn’t feel any pain and there was no swelling, so it couldn’t be too serious. I also had a few cuts and scrapes, but nothing that seemed life-threatening.
I looked around for some clues as to what happened to me. I didn’t see anything familiar though judging by the amount of light filtering through the trees, it was still morning. I look around for any landmarks that could make it easier to orient myself and help me find my way back to safety or at least give me an idea of which direction is which. There were no mountains, rivers, or trees that are taller than the rest. I couldn’t see much through the dense foliage but I’m sure I’ll find something once I move around.
I took inventory of what I had with me and figure out what my resources are. I have my clothes and hiking boots on. I searched my pockets and found my trusty multi-tool, a bandana, and my keychain, which has a whistle and mini flashlight. I also had my wallet with my ID and some cash. These will come in handy if I run into any locals.
I’m still wearing my paracord bracelet. This will be really useful since it’s basically a strong string that can be used for all sorts of things like building a shelter, making a fire, catching food, or even rappelling down cliffs. Plus it has a small compass that I can use to find my way around.
Not too far from me was my backpack. After checking it for anything that could be helpful, I found a water bottle, a couple of energy bars, a pocket knife, a flashlight, an emergency blanket, a small first-aid kit, and a map of the area. Looks like I was out for a day hike when whatever happened, happened.
Strangely, there was also a small piece of paper inside one of my bag’s pockets that I don’t remember putting there. It simply said “HELP.” Was I supposed to help someone? Did I know I was in trouble and tried to pass the note to someone else? I didn’t have time to think about that now. I needed to focus on my immediate needs and get myself out of here.
Look for Signs of Civilization
I gathered what I could find and decided to look around for any signs of life. I needed to find people so that they could help me get out of here. The first thing I did was look for any man-made structures like buildings, roads, or powerlines. I couldn’t see anything through the trees. I then decided to walk in a straight line and see if I come across anything that way. I left a few piles of rocks and sticks along the way so I could backtrack if needed. Those scouting lessons sure come in handy now!
As I continued walking, I started to hear what sounded like running water. I followed the sound until I came to a river. This was good news. Rivers typically lead to civilization. I decided to follow the river downstream in the hopes of finding people.
However, I was getting tired and my feet were sore from all the walking, so I decided to take a break. I sat down and leaned against a tree to rest for a bit. I looked up and to my surprise, there was a bit of clearing in the trees ahead of me. I got up and walked towards it. As I got closer, I could see that it was indeed a clearing. It wasn’t much but it was big enough to set up camp for the night. If only I had my tent and sleeping bag.
From there, I could also see the horizon. I held up my arm and placed my hand horizontally between the bottom of the sun and the horizon. I lined up the top of my index finger with the bottom of the sun. There was still some space between the bottom of my pinky finger and the horizon. I placed my other hand under the other and counted two fingers before I hit the horizon. Each finger is equivalent to 15 minutes so that means I only had about one and a half hours left before the sun sets. I had to move fast.
Find or Build a Shelter
I needed to find shelter. I didn’t want to spend the night out in the open. It can get really cold at night and hypothermia just isn’t my thing. I also was sure there were all sorts of animals that come out at night and I didn’t want to meet any of them.
I didn’t see any caves, overhangs, or rock formations that could protect me from the elements. I thought about walking a bit further to look for a shelter. I imagined finding a resort hotel or even a cabin but I knew that was highly unlikely. All I found were trees. Lots and lots of trees. I thought of climbing one but then remembered that there are snakes and other animals that live in trees. I didn’t want to take my chances.
My best course of action was to build an emergency shelter on the flattest part of the clearing. There were trees around so I could still be safe from strong winds. Plus, the spot was higher on the ground so it won’t get flooded in case it rains.
I found some long straight branches and leaned them against each other. I then tied them together with vines to form and secure the frame. I then wove smaller branches and leaves in and around the frame to create walls. I packed the gaps between the sticks with leaves, grass, and anything else I could find lying around. I wanted to make sure there were no openings that insects or other animals could get through.
I gathered more dried leaves and grass and placed them inside my shelter. This natural bedding along with my emergency blanket will help me stay warm during the night. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing but it would do for now.
It was almost sunset when I finished building my shelter. I was relieved that I was able to set up a place to spend the night before it got too dark.
Build a Fire
I was exhausted from all the work but I knew I had one more thing to do before it gets dark. I needed to start a fire to keep me from succumbing to the cold. And since I’m lost in the jungle, predators could be lurking around at night. A fire would help keep them away. It’s also a good way to signal for help. If anyone was looking for me, they would be able to see the fire from a mile away. I just hope there are no violent natives, cannibals, drug cartels, or other people with ill intentions in the area.
I got some of the dry wood and stripped off the bark and scraped the wood with my knife to make more tinder. I also collected some lint off my clothes just to be sure. All these should help me start a fire easily.
A fire starter, lighter, or even a fireproof match would come in handy at this very moment. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of them. Luckily, my multi-tool came with a small magnifying glass.
There was still some sun left so I used the magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays onto the small pile of tinder. I was getting a bit worried since the sun will set real soon. If I don’t get the fire going now, I will have to do it the old-fashioned way, which could take a while.
Unfortunately, huge clouds appeared and blocked the sun. I was getting frustrated because the tinder bundle I made wasn’t catching fire. Waiting for the clouds to go away will take some time and I need that fire now. I decided to use my knife to create sparks. I hit the back of my knife with a sharp rock. I kept trying but my hands were shaking from all the nerves. If this doesn’t work, I’ll have to use the hand drill method, which takes even more time.
I was about to give up when I saw a spark and then flames started licking at the tinder. I quickly placed more kindling on top of the fire and blew gently to make the flames grow. Then I placed bigger pieces of dry wood to make the fire even larger. I had to keep the fire going all night to stay warm so I got up to collect more firewood.
Prepare for Threats
I also thought I needed to protect myself from the danger lurking in the darkness. I grabbed more vines and tied them around the trees surrounding my shelter to help secure my perimeter. If someone or something passes by, they’ll trip on the vines and make enough noise to wake me up. I also scattered dried leaves around my shelter so I could hear anyone or anything approaching.
I found a long, sturdy stick and sharpened one end with my knife to make a spear. I could also use this for hunting, which I may need to do if I don’t get out of this jungle real soon.
With all these safety measures in place, I was finally able to sit down and rest. I placed some more wood on the fire and sat down to think about my situation. I was still very confused and scared but I knew I had to stay calm if I wanted to make it out of here alive.
I can’t help but feel grateful that I’m still alive. If not for the survival skills and tips I learned, I would’ve been dead. Still, I couldn’t figure out what happened. Why the heck am I here lost in the jungle. What really happened? Was I drugged, kidnapped, and left here? Is this something like Battle Royale where unsuspecting people were kidnapped and forced to kill each other to survive?
Get Enough Rest
With that, I decided to call it a night. I needed to sleep so I have enough energy for tomorrow. Come morning, I would start looking for a way out of the jungle. I also need to find more food and water. The bottle of water and energy bars I have are not enough if I’m going to be stuck in this jungle for a while. I thought about other things I had to do in order to survive this ordeal. I began to feel sleepy so I closed my eyes until sleep finally took me.
Even in my dreams, I couldn’t escape the fear of being lost in the jungle. I was in and out of consciousness, only to be jolted awake by strange noises that made my skin crawl. My imagination was running wild and I started to believe that there were monsters lurking in the darkness, just waiting to devour me.
I tried my best to stay calm but it was getting harder and harder. I was so tired, both mentally and physically. I wanted to give up and just let whatever happens, happen. But I remembered what my father always told me – to never give up no matter how hard things get. So I took a deep breath and tried to relax. I told myself that I will find a way out of this jungle. I will survive. And I will never give up.
I fell asleep once more. Suddenly, a woman appeared in my dreams. She was distraught and begging me for help. I woke up sweating profusely. What was that dream about? Who was that woman and why did I dream of her?
Will our hero survive his ordeal and find his way safely out of the jungle? Will he find the truth about the woman in his dreams? Find out next time on the What Would I Do series here on Gentleman Pirate Club!