We’d like to think we have decent survival skills and could handle ourselves in difficult situations, but the reality is, you never know how you will handle something truly life-altering until it happens.


Take for example the harrowing story of Aldi Novel Adilang, a teenager from Sulawesi, Indonesia, who was working on a floating fishing hut at sea — a job he had had for a few years without incident — when one day, the unthinkable happened.

This past summer, Adilang was at work on the hut when heavy winds snapped the hut’s moorings and he was sent adrift into the ocean.

It was like something out of a movie (in fact, I think I recently saw a similar movie) but it was real life, and terrifying, especially since Adilang only had a few days worth of supplies and food to survive.

He ended up surviving by catching fish, burning wood from his hut to cook the fish, and drinking seawater filtered through his clothes so he wouldn’t take in too much salt.

The amount of resilience and hope he must have clung onto during these dark days is almost unfathomable.


Aldi Novel Adilang poses with Indonesian consular after being rescued / Courtesy of KJRI Osaka

He was finally rescued off the waters off Guam more than a month and a half after his fishing hut was cast into the ocean.

“Every time he saw a large ship, he said, he was hopeful, but more than 10 ships had sailed past him, none of them stopped or saw Aldi,” Fajar Firdaus, an Indonesian diplomat from the consulate in Osaka, told the Jakarta Post.

Any time something feels hopeless, it’s probably not. Keep your head on straight and think about staying afloat (sometimes, literally) and maintain that focus and there’s no telling what you are capable of — especially when you have no other choice but to power through and believe that tomorrow will come.