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The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School

The Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School

Feeding the Rat!

"This enrichment session [with survivalist, John Sullivan] really should inspire people to work hard and go for what they’ve always dreamed of, no matter how big or small that dream is."

 What could a survivalist possibly teach a group of ambitious year 12’s and 13’s? I can’t think of the last time one of my peers said they wanted to go out in the scorching desert, blistering colds, eat bugs and not have a toilet or Facebook anywhere in sight. John Sullivan, survival expert, conveyed a very strong message and he did it with three simple words “Feed the Rat”.

This doesn’t mean he wants us to take in a homeless rat or feed a pet.  It has a deep, metaphorical meaning of fulfilling that little spark, that ambition to do what you’ve always wanted to do. John showed us how he ‘feeds his rat’ by living his life the way he always desired: going on adventures around the world the way he dreamed he would as a young boy.

He shared the amazing stories of his many journeys through the wildest and often deadliest areas of Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Jordan, the Sahara Desert, Mongolia and many more. He would live off the land with only a few supplies and his trusty machete by his side, meeting interesting and fascinating characters along the way, including ex-cannibals, a man who lives and survives in the jungle and a sneaky boatman who abandoned him for twelve days on an uninhabited island off Borneo. This was not a guide to “An Idiot Abroad”.

Introduction to Borneo

This enrichment session was advertised as a survivalist talk when really, this talk was all about your ambition in life and the big question: are you willing to go the distance to achieve it? Even when John spoke about his ‘other rat’ - being able to dance like John Travolta, it may have been way off topic but made perfect sense. It was a speech about working hard for your dream, masked as a survivalist talk.

 During the talk and afterwards, when I spoke to John, he came across as a person who simply loved his life and his job, whether working with the BBC, or taking people, young and old, on survivalist courses to broaden their minds and teach them how to live in an environment they might not be familiar with. All in all, I am confident this enrichment session really should inspire people to work hard and go for what they’ve always dreamed of, no matter how big or small that dream is. John’s confidence and love of what he does should demonstrate to those who are lacking in confidence or clear vision for the future, that everything is possible as long as you remember three simple words “Feed the Rat”. 

Jack Lambert (Year 13)

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