By his own admission…“weird shit” just seems to happen to Tony James Slater…all the time.
From being bitten by a crocodile, attacked by trees, monkeys, parrots and a jaguar, being shot at, almost blinded, falling off cliffs and losing his underwear to a bear, Tony says he is a magnet for strange things wherever he goes.
“I’ve never figured out why… My wife has a theory though. She thinks it’s because I’m a bloody idiot.
“I tried to argue against this point, but unfortunately her logic is sound; I actually am a bloody idiot. What can you do, eh?”
A failed actor, turned writer, Tony’s misadventures inspired his book That Bear Ate My Pants, which topped online book giant Amazon’s bestseller list earlier this year.
He also writes a blog documenting his weird adventures as they happen, revealing a self-deprecating sense of humour and personable writing style.
Littered with laugh out loud moments, frequent references to genitalia and hilarious one-liners, Tony’s bio also includes this gem:
“He sometimes makes strange faces whilst pretending to be attacked by inanimate objects. But perhaps his single biggest problem is this; he has a mouth so big he is in danger of swallowing his own head.”
Soon after realising his dreams of acting super-stardom were destined to remain unfulfilled, Tony went travelling while he tried to figure out what to do with his life next.
His book details his adventures as a volunteer at the Santa Martha Centre for Animal Rescue in Ecuador.
Chaotic adventures ensued, including being bitten and clawed, shot at and blinded, electrocuted and head butted in the nether regions by a wild pig.
That aside, Tony says his experiences at the animal refuge also opened his eyes to the possibilities of travel and forever changed his approach to life.
“Until then I’d been a fairly crummy traveller, not daring to try speaking any languages and scared of going anywhere too… foreign,” he says.
The responsibilities of his new job, along with living with other volunteers at the refuge helped give him confidence as well as a sense of community.
“By the time it was over, all I wanted to do was travel to the most exotic locations I could, meet crazy strangers and get involved in local life,” he said.
Originally from Lancashire in Northern England, Tony says “parochial” is the politest term he can come up with to describe his hometown.
He says the region suffers from a stifling small town mentality and numbingly predictable routine.
“People from Lancashire rarely leave Lancashire – in fact, they rarely leave the town or village where they were born!
“A week in Majorca for their stag do, and possibly another one for their honeymoon, and that’s about as much travel as they can stand – and they probably spent most of it eating hamburgers and getting hammered in the hotel bar.
“Naturally, I got the hell out of there as soon as possible, and haven’t been back since!”
He now lives in Perth with his Australian wife Roo.
Aside from the landscapes, Tony says the people are by far the best thing about his new adopted home.
“Aussies are friendly to a fault, easy to get on with, generous… and they love to buy beers for broke English backpackers. OK, that last bit is a lie. But I’m happy to be proved wrong.”
Predictably his wacky adventures are still continuing, including falling off iconic natural wonder Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia’s outback.
But, that’s another story…
the Experience Network