“I REALLY FELT WE WERE OUT THERE LIVING THE TRUE AMAZON EXPERIENCE”
In this episode, I sat down with Mike Corey, a Canadian adventure travel YouTuber, and TV host. I spoke to him about his memories of our Amazon challenge in the Colombian Amazon, and what that journey was like for him. I hope you enjoy it.
Here is a small snippet of our conversation. Hit play below to listen to the whole chat.
Julian: A little bit of a backstory. We had a travel conference in Berlin and you heard about the Amazon challenge that we were running. It was our first-ever Amazon challenge. I remember saying ‘we’ve got this trip running, would you be interested?’ And then I think half an hour later you said, ‘Yeah’. A couple of weeks later, and you were in the Amazon. Was that your first time in the Amazon?
Mike: I had been to the Peruvian Amazon, but I’d never been that deep before. We were in the middle of nowhere, man. And that was really cool. So let’s say No.
Julian: What are the memories that stand out from that trip, if any? I know you had two sides of that trip. You did the Amazon challenge with us and then you did another experience?
Mike: I had never done anything like that before. I mean, I’ve done some interesting adventures, but I’ve never done anything like that with the race element and the challenge element. It was really fun.
I remember most vividly one time where we were two days deep in the Amazon and a lot of it was paddling in these dugout canoes that were leaky and rocky. Dugout canoes are not made for 185 pounds, six-foot dudes which we both are. So Casper’s [his teammate] hips were hurting and he was rocking in the boat back and forth. The entire time he had to lay down and paddle because his hips are hurting too much to sit up and paddle. And I just thought it was hilarious. He just kept on swearing and rocking the boat. We got too much water in the boat and the water started to get inside our dry bag because he didn’t close the dry bag with all the stuff in it. So he goes to pour the water out of the dry bag and I just watched him dump the GPS, phone charger, all the food we had for the day, and our spare water bottle, into the bottom of the Amazon River. I think we’re running on so little sleep and there was the element to race and beat the other guys. We’re both really competitive and he’s dumped everything to keep us alive into the bottom of the river. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it on camera.
It was cool to be able to go so deep in the rain forest and do these challenges like spear throwing and blow darts and also meet some of these characters that had never really encountered people like us before. The whole crew was really adventurous. It was really cool.
Another vivid thing I remember is the blue dye, I forget the name of it, but this is what the locals use the dye themselves and so you’d meet these little kids that were like blue Smurfs in the middle of nowhere. Yeah, it was really really cool. I really felt we were out there living the true Amazon experience.
“NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU FOR WHAT YOU ACTUALLY SEE IN THE AMAZON WHEN YOU GET THERE”
Julian: Whenever I try and explain to someone a little bit about the Amazon the first thing I normally say is there’s nothing else, no other jungle that I’ve ever seen that can compare to it. The Amazon is just amazing – the diversity of the plants. Nothing can prepare you for what you actually see in the Amazon when you get there. The size of the palm trees. The fact that every single tree has these thorns the size of six inches on them.
Mike: When the village elder takes this hit [of rape] to the nose, he kind of goes, ‘No big deal’. Then they offered to us. So Caspar indicates that he’s ready and the shaman fills his little pipe, puts it in Caspar's nose, and blows. I have never heard a human make the noises Caspar did after that powder hit. He immediately stood up and liquid fell out of every hole on his face, just like tears, snot, and spit, liquid just exploded. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t take a breath. I was filming. I was completely speechless. His eyes opened like two giant balls. I’ve never seen anybody be in that state of mind before. He’s still kind of choking, trying to walk circles around the inside of the hut. At that point, the shaman came back because you can’t just do one you have to do both nostrils. He’s like, “No, no, thank you”. But they’re like, “this is how you have to do it. You can’t be unbalanced”. He sits down and does the whole song and dances again.
“YOU FEEL THIS RUSH OF VIBRATION THROUGH YOUR ENTIRE BODY”
And then it’s my turn. At that point, he’s [Casper] sitting down, his eyes are still wide open, like dinner plates but he can talk now. And he’s like, “whoa, whoa”. I sit down and they blow it into my nose. I remember seeing a white boom, like an explosion, then I’m standing up and it’s a super intense, burning feeling. You feel this rush of vibration through your entire body. You feel like you’re full of electricity.
Listen to the full episode here.
Check out Mike’s Youtube Channel Fearless & Far