Being stranded in a foreign country is a terrifying thought, but what lengths would you go to in order to get home? I doubt many would be prepared to sit inside a box and ship themselves, yet that’s precisely what Reg Spiers did in 1964 in order to get back to his wife and daughter in Adelaide.
Spiers story is a fascinating one — originally set to do his best in the javelin at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, his aspirations were cut short after suffering a leg injury. He went to London to recover, but his plans to get home were dashed when his wallet was stolen.
“I worked in the export cargo section, so I knew about cash-on-delivery with freight. I’d seen animals come through all the time and I thought, ‘If they can do it I can do it.'”
Spiers recruited his friend, John McSorley, to construct him a special crate to make his journey as comfortable as possible. The end result was a 1.5 x 0.9 x 0.75m box. It also had some straps so he wouldn’t jostle about while the crate was in motion.
Despite being stuck in London for a day and almost getting caught in Paris when he left a container of urine on his crate, Spiers made it home in three days:
“The accents – how could you miss?” says Spiers. “I’m on the soil. Amazing. Wonderful. I made it. I was grinning from ear to ear, but I wasn’t going to let them know I’m there now — I’ve almost pulled the whole thing off.
Hit up the BBC for the full tale of Spiers adventure… one that’s hard to recommend today.