“I’d been travelling for a long time, and I really missed my gym at home, to the extent that I was carrying skipping ropes with me. So I got to this tropical island in Malaysia, and after a few days, I found this outdoor exercise place that someone had made weights out of concrete and paint buckets. So I thought yeah I’m going to try them out! I got so tired, I thought I’d go into the sea and stretch it out. I went out exhausted… I didn’t even go far, only about 10-20 meters from the shore when a wave about twice as high as me just grabbed me and pulled me out. All of a sudden I was about 50 meters from shore and the waves kept pulling me back. I had no strength in my arms and started to panic. I saw my girlfriend out doing a yoga pose facing the other way… I thought, right, I have two choices here. I can get out of here dead or alive. I can start shouting and screaming, but she probably wouldn’t hear me. Or I can stop panicking and start thinking. Straight away my brain went calm and remembered this thing in a book called Papillon. The guy is a prisoner who escapes by floating out on coconuts. He says the only thing that will keep you alive in the waves is your breath, so breathe and hold it in. That’s all that keeps you up, otherwise, you’re gone. I remembered this and every time a wave came I would turn around, take a deep breath and do nothing, and the waves would push me forward. I eventually got out, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to death. A few hours later this Swedish scuba diver guy came up to me and said, ‘Did you swim on that beach? No one swims there! Somebody died there only a week ago!’ That night I was in such a state of trauma I couldn’t sleep at all. It was probably when my body released all the fright and shock I had to hold back earlier.”

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