A man, who vanished from his home in Canada five years ago, has been found in the Amazon jungle having walked across two continents.
Anton Pilipa, who suffers from suspected schizophrenia, trekked across two continents and at least ten countries with nothing other than the shorts and vest he was wearing.
The former humanitarian worker had no form of identification on him, so it is a wonder he found himself 6,500 miles away from his home in Vancouver.
A Brazilian police officer found him trudging down a dusty highway in the city of Manaus barefoot and managed to track down his family, who were ‘stunned’ and flew out to meet him.
Anton had a very specific and bizarre mission – to get to the National Library of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Tragically, when he had completed his journey by foot, hitch hiking and by hiding in the back of lorries, the library turned him away because he did not have identification.
Anton simply turned away and began his trek into Brazil where he was later found.
The humanitarian worker began treatment for his mental illness in 2011, and fled the country in 2012 when he was involved in an incident which lead to him being charged with assault and weapons offences.
Anton’s brother, Stefan, told the Daily Mail:
I was stunned. I told myself that he was dead. Because that was the only thing I could come up with that explained his absence.
But in my heart of hearts, I didn’t think he could be.
I was really shocked. I feel amazed that he’s alive and had made it that far.
Anton survived by scrounging for food, picking berries, taking clothes from rubbish bins, and relying on strangers for help. Though he met some ‘bad people’, he ‘received more generosity’.
While trekking through the deadly Amazon jungle, all of his toenails dropped off.
The ‘individualist’, as he is described, kept to himself on the long journey and still speaks almost no Spanish or Portuguese, though he reports that he ‘never felt alone’.
Speaking of the experience, Anton said:
It’s been a lot of thinking for years, sleeping in the open. It’s very simple to live, we do not need many things.
Despite enjoying his vast alone time, Anton said he is happy to be back with his family.
After arriving in Toronto, Anton had to answer to the charges that he ran away from and was arrested before being released on bail.
Stefan said that his brother is struggling with fitting back into normal society, finding it overwhelming having not been around people for a long time.