A 39-year-old Canadian man who went missing five years ago was recently found in the Amazon jungle — 10,460 kilometers, or 6,500 miles, from his home.
After disappearing from his Vancouver home in 2012, Anton Pilipa walked across two continents. He managed to trek over ten countries, including the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil, without a passport and for the most part without shoes.
Apparently, Pilipa, who may suffer from schizophrenia, had inexplicably set out to visit the National Library of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Once he arrived, however, he was denied entry because he lacked identification.
At that point, Pilipa changed direction and headed toward Brazil, where he was eventually discovered by Canadian-born Brazilian police officer, Helenice Campos. She initially thought Pilipa was a beggar, due to his scruffy appearance — bare feet, dirty Bermuda shorts and a vest — but soon realized he was a lost man. Campos, along with many international agencies and embassies, helped the man to find his family and return home to Canada after five long years.
Pilipa was not without belongings for the entirety of his trip, however. He did begin his journey with a small bag of necessary items, which were gradually robbed from him over the course of his expedition.
One might think this trip would leave Pilipa sour; he feels differently, having “received more generosity, especially in recent times.”
“I’ve never felt alone. It’s been a lot of thinking for years, sleeping in the open. It’s very simple to live, we do not need many things,” Pilipa explained.
Surviving primarily on fruits and berries he picked along his path, as well as food and clothing from the trash and help from strangers, Pilipa makes his story of survival sound
Stephanie Casella is a writer based just outside of New York City. She generally writes on politics, news, and culture, but occasionally delves into social issues, travel, science, food, and lifestyle.