When Reg Spiers arrived in London in 1964, he had some high aspirations about his career as an athlete but didn’t bank on having his wallet and monthly earnings stolen while he was there.
When he realized that he wasn’t going to make it to the Tokyo Olympics, due to an injury he suffered, he decided to go to England and worked at an airport there to make some money.
After he got mugged and lost everything he had worked so hard for during his time in Britain, Reg realized that it was his daughter’s birthday in a few weeks time and had to get back to Adelaide in Australia.
As he told reporters, “I’ve come up with this mad scheme to get back to Australia in a box. Who can say it won’t work? Let’s give it a shot. I just got in the thing and went. What was there to be frightened of? I’m not frightened of the dark so I just sat there. It’s like when I travel now if I go overseas. There’s the seat. Sit in it, and go.”
Lucky for Reg, he was an expert in the export cargo section when he worked at the airport and therefore knew how the system worked. He just utilized this knowledge as a cheap option to get back home.
He built a custom-made crate, which he fitted with special straps, and covered the outside of the container in paint. He then addressed it to a made-up Australian shoe company.
Having packed some canned food, a flashlight, a blanket, and a pillow, Reg was ready, as he stripped naked and literally posted himself back home.
As he told reporters, “I’d seen animals come through all the time and I thought, ‘If they can do it I can do it. I got out of the box between London and Paris, dying for a leak. I peed in a can and put it on top of the box. I was stretching my legs and all of a sudden, because it’s a short distance, the plane began to descend. A little panicky I jumped back in the box, and the can full of pee was still sitting on top.”
Many years later, a book has been written about Reg’s adventures posting himself naked from England to Australia, entitled Out of the Box.