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Feed the Rat, A Students Perspective

I just can’t think of the last time when my peers told me that they want to go out in the scalding-hot dessert, blistering cold, eat bugs and not have a toilet anywhere in sight!

Apart from survival skills, what else can a survivalist possibly teach a group of ambitious student year 12’s and 13’s? But the survival expert, John Sullivan conveyed a completely different, yet very strong message to us. All he had to say was three simple words “Feed the Rat”. This does not mean that you have to take a homeless rat or feed a pet. Rather, these words have a deep, metaphorical meaning to it.

“Feed the Rat” simply means fulfilling that little spark in you, the aspiration to do what you’ve always dreamt of. Along with this message, John also showed us how he ‘fed his rat’ by living his life the way he had desired; that is by going on adventures all around the globe, which he always wanted to as a young boy.

He shared some of his amazing stories of the many journeys in the wild. Most of his journeys were often in the deadliest areas of Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Jordan, The Sahara Desert, Mexico, Mongolia and many more.


Throughout his journey in the wild, he would live off the land, only with a few supplies and his trusty machete always by his side. He meets fascinating and interesting characters along his way, including excannibals, men who live and survive in the jungle. He also met a sneaky boatman, who had abandoned him for around 12 days on an uninhabited island that is off Borneo. This was certainly not a guide to “An Idiot Abroad”.

This session of enrichment was advertised as a survivalist talk, when actually this talk is all about the aspiration in life. The talk also asks one of the biggest questions, “Are you willing to go the extra mile to attain your ambitions?”

John Sullivan also spoke about his “other rat”; that is being able to dance like ‘John Travolta’. This might seem to be a bit off topic, but it makes perfect sense! It was a speech about putting in all your effort and working hard in order to fulfil your dreams, wrapped up in a survivalist talk. In reality the 2 are very similar.

During and after the talk, when I spoke to John Sullivan, he came across as a person who simply loves his job and life. Whether it is working with the BBC or talking to people both young and old, his passion shines through in everything he does. His goal is to broaden minds and coach on living life to the fullest, whether that be at home or in unfamiliar environments.

On the whole, I am pretty confident that this session will really motivate people to work harder and achieve their goals and dreams, no matter how big or small those dreams are. John’s self-belief and love for what he does demonstrates to people lacking clear vision of their future or confidence that nothing is impossible as long as they remember the three simple words: “Feed the Rat”!

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