Channel 4’s Alone challenges competitors to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness for as long as they can, with the last person standing receiving a £100,000 prize. The participants must provide their own food, construct their own housing, and keep their minds busy.
Most individuals would find it a significant obstacle (spending 24 hours alone at home would be hard for me), but it proved to be very easy for winner Tom Williams, who really wanted to remain longer.
The 40-year-old was a big admirer of the show’s American version, which lasts a lot longer – an average of 65 days, which is a lot longer than the 35 days it took Tom to win.
‘I was itching the days onto a tree, which I took pleasure in doing, and knew I’d only done 35,’ he explained.
‘It was a real mental shift getting that call to say “Congratulations, you’re leaving in an hour”. It was hard having to leave this world I created.
‘I kind of wanted to push myself further out of my comfort zone and test my limits. I wanted to experience sleep deprivation and extreme hunger to see what I could handle.
‘If I’m being honest, there was never a point where I felt close to quitting. I was really comfortable.’
In reality, Tom seemed to have had a wonderful time – he constructed dice for solitary games, relished reliving unexpected chats from his boyhood, and even had fish saved up for future days.
‘I found myself just with this beautifully clear mind. All I thought about was shelter, water, food, body and nothing else. It was really lovely. You’re living this simple, blissful experience,’ he recalled.
‘That’s exactly how our brain chemistry evolved to live. I think it’s really good for us to experience boredom and not have constant stimulation. I don’t meditate, but I lived in this meditative state out there.
‘I took great joy in simple experiences like fishing. Every time I cast it was like pulling a handle on the slot machine. I remember eating duck, and it was better than any triple Michelin star meal.’
Now he’s back living in busy Lisbon with his wife Eleanor and six-year-old son Ed, things are more hectic once again: ‘I certainly want to slow down.
‘Before I was like this is how happy I can feel, but now I know actually there’s this state of bliss that I experienced out there. It’s possible to feel even happier than I thought. I had some of the highest highs and lowest lows.’
A shock injury was one of the lows.
‘I was carrying 50 kilos of rocks and my back started hurting,’ he explained.
‘I was just lying there for a couple of hours because it hurt to move.
‘I felt like I’d made a critical mistake. I found some Willow Springs, which is a natural aspirin, and it actually genuinely helped.
‘My health improved in there in some ways. I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) but it went while I was there, and in the 11 months since I’ve been home I haven’t experienced it.’
One of the reasons Tom signed up was to avoid a personal source of humiliation. He owns a travel firm that provides desert island experiences that allow visitors to believe they’ve been dropped in the middle of nowhere and must fend for themselves, and clients frequently inquired about his survival time. His response was one day till his involvement. He may now brag about his great performance.
‘I still don’t feel like I can call myself an adventurer,’ he surprisingly admitted.
‘I have imposter syndrome. It’s something I’ve had all my life, but the experience has helped me have it less. I can say I’m proud of myself. My self-confidence has definitely been boosted.’
Instead of being thrown back into the real world with $100,000 in his pocket, he was gradually reintegrated into modern society.
‘We were on a strict re-feeding programme. I lost three stone in there but put I’d put on about that much weight before I joined by eating double cream and coconut oil.
‘When you’re back in the real world your senses are so heightened. I remember the hotel room mini fridge felt so loud that I had to unplug it.
‘I couldn’t talk to someone for longer than 10 minutes as it was too exhausting.’
Of course, his family was one thing he did miss but was spurred on by their encouragement.
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Before leaving, Ed encouraged Tom that he should participate in the extreme experience “because to try is good.”
Throughout the encounter, the words rang in his ears, and he itched them onto a piece of wood as a continual reminder.
He was able to return home as the winner and immediately began spending his cash windfall. He put down a deposit on a Tesla automobile, but Eleanor persuaded him that the money would be better spent elsewhere.
‘We’re going to use it to get on the property ladder,’ he revealed.
Stream the entire series of Alone on Channel 4 now.
Source My Celebrity Life.