Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

In today’s episode, we touch on the survival story of Jhonattan Acosta.

He got stranded in the Amazon for 31 days.

Survival stories and talking about survival movies are great connection opportunities.

We can also find motivation from someone like Jhonattan who didn’t give up!

Listen in today and get three vocabulary words to reflect back your thoughts on someone’s survival story in English.

Getting lost

Aubrey asks Lindsay if she has ever been lost.

Lindsay so far hasn’t been lost.

Aubrey thought she got lost when she was hiking before.

She assumed she was walking in a two-mile loop trail when in fact it was an eight-mile loop.

When she had been walking for more than an hour, she began to get worried because the trail seemed endless and she felt lost.

She then realized she wasn’t lost and was still on track and had just mistaken the length of the trail.

Jhonattan Acosta’s experience

Today’s episode is inspired by the story of Jhonattan Acosta who got lost in the Amazon for 31 days.

Jhonattan Acosta from Bolivia, 30, got separated from his four friends while out hunting in northern Bolivia.

He says he drank rainwater collected in his shoes and ate worms and insects while hiding from jaguars and peccaries, a type of pig-like mammal.

Jhonattan was finally found by a search party made up of locals and friends a month after he had gone missing.

You can read more about this story in an article from BBC entitled: Bolivian man got lost in Amazon jungle, survived 31 days by eating worms.

This story is very inspiring since he survived being lost in the Amazon.

When you are in a tough situation, you should find the strength to not give up.

You can take inspiration from Jhonattan and apply the same determination on your Engish learning journey.

Idioms for making the best of a tough situation

There will always be challenges in your life.

Sharing stories of your struggles is a good way to build a connection with someone.

You can find that you went through the same situation or you can share advice for someone who is going through something you already overcame.

Here are some idioms you can use to share how you can make the best of a tough situation.

#1: In dire straits

This idiom means to be in serious trouble or in a difficult situation.

The situation should be a real struggle.

When using this idiom, you should be referring to something that is a big deal.


When I forgot to bring water on the hike, I realized I was in dire straits.

I feel like I’m in dire straits because I’ve been assigned a project at work that I don’t feel qualified for.

#2: At one’s wit’s end

This means to be so worried, confused, or annoyed and you don’t know what to do next.

Same as the expression ‘in dire straits’, this should be used in a serious situation.

For this idiom, the struggle must have been going on for a while.

You wouldn’t use this to mention you are frustrated at the beginning of the challenge.


I wandered off the hiking trail and was at my wit’s end when I couldn’t find it.

One of the members of my team isn’t pulling their weight. I’m at my wit’s end!

Aubrey mentioned a bonus expression, which is ‘pulling their weight.’

This means accomplishing one’s assigned task or doing one’s share of the work in a group.

#3: Tough it out

This is an expression to say you are dealing with a difficult situation.

You still should keep your eye on the goal.


Our tent started leaking when it rained but we toughed it out all night.

Unfortunately, we’re on a very tight budget for this project but will just have to tough it out.


There are several good idioms and expressions shared in today’s episode.

You can deepen conversations by talking about survival or encouraging someone to push through in a difficult situation.

Here is a quick roleplay from Lindsay and Aubrey to show how to use these in a conversation.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are discussing a challenge faced by Lindsay.

Lindsay: I missed a flight coming home yesterday and there were no other available flights. I was at my wit’s end!
Aubrey: Oh no! What did you do? It sounds like you were really in dire straits.
Lindsay: Yep. To make matters worse, no hotels were available so I had to tough it out and sleep at the airport.


Jhonattan’s story is extremely inspiring!

You can follow his example and persevere when faced with a difficult situation.

It’s easy to get frustrated and impatient, especially when learning a new language.

You will face challenges in your English learning journey and you can’t let that hold you back.

You can share your experience about it with friends and coworkers.

This can help you feel better and make the best out of a challenging situation.

This will also help you create a good connection with the people you are talking to.

What is the most challenging situation you’ve encountered?

Share it in the comments below using the phrases shared in today’s episode.

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