Here is a taste of Matt's wild adventure story and near death experience from the best-selling 'Abroad, Broke & Busted'.. a brilliant read for the Holidays!!
How did the day start? Well, where do I begin? In Phuket, where my mate Dave and I hired bikes and hit the road. Dave is my best man and a great guy. He has a big heart and a soft soul. Dave looks like an old movie star and has the same style. We wanted to get as far away from civilization as possible. We did that well on dirt roads and forest tracks along beautiful beaches and through shantytowns. You tend to forget how easily you can kill yourself on a motorbike, especially in Asia. We had gotten so far from civilization and left all of our worries behind. How quickly that all changed.
The sun started to set so suddenly. It was beautiful, but I was going too fast and having way too much fun until I got airborne over a ridge, which was awesome. Then I looked down. A giant pothole and I could not miss it. As much as I braced myself, I was thrown through the air. One end of the handlebars pierced my stomach and opened me right up. I landed and rolled down a ditch, ending up in a pile of bushes covered in blood and guts. Although the accident occurred deep in the jungle, people rushed from everywhere.
I knew that I had broken my back straight away and, because I had perforated my lungs, I couldn’t speak. But looking up at this crowd of people who had come from nowhere, I just kept gasping, ‘My back. My back.’
I did not want them to touch me. I knew I was in real trouble. By the time Dave got to me, this crowd of villagers was all around me. He said that he did not want me to see him because he did not want me to see the look on his face. My head was split wide open and my eyes kept filling with blood. It was dark and I could see the stars above the shadows. Then a man in a uniform appeared. I do not know if he was a policeman or security.
I gasped for air and pleaded, ‘My back. My back. Don’t touch me.’
The man in uniform said, ‘OK, OK, we get ambulance.’
Just as I relaxed they picked me up and put me on the back of a flatbed truck.
‘Nooooo,’ I screamed.
I spent 40 minutes on the back of that truck on bumpy dirt roads up and down mountains. I had four fantastic Thai people holding me down waving smelling salts under my nose as I came in and out of consciousness. I will never forget the intense pain. I remember looking at the stars but my eyes kept filling with blood. I wondered if I would ever walk again. I wondered if I would die. They first took me to a public hospital and I was still conscious but gasping.
‘Insurance, I have insurance.’ I knew not having insurance or enough money to pay upfront might leave me on a hospital waiting room floor so I took out the maximum coverage, thank gods! Once they heard that, I was magically transferred to a brand new 5-star private hospital and I awoke two days later. I opened my eyes and a voice spoke to me. I didn’t know where it came from, but it was my own voice saying, ‘This will be the best thing that has ever happened to you.’
I believe … no, I know … had I had awakened with the opposite thought – that I would still be in a wheelchair today, or dead. That power of positive thinking helped me survive. It saw me walk again when many doctors thought that I would not. It saw me out of intensive care in Thailand three months later and out of a wheelchair and off crutches within twelve months...