It’s hard to imagine living away from the comfort of modern civilization. Simple things like a stove to cook, a washing machine to clean your laundry, maybe Netflix for when you get bored. Not for Ho Van Thanh, a Vietnamese soldier who ran off into the jungle in 1973 during the Vietnam War.

Fleeing Into The Wilderness

Ho Van Thanh fled (reportedly fighting for North Vietnam) into the jungle in the middle of the war with his infant son, Ho Van Lang. His wife and two other children were killed when American bombs hit his home. He left behind another son who was six months old at that time.

The jungle became Thanh and Lang’s home for the next forty years. They lived in a small, seven-square-foot hut with a thatched roof 20 feet up a large tree on A Pon Mountain, completely unaware of the developing world outside and that the war had ended long before. They had arrows, axes, and other makeshift weapons to hunt, chop trees, cultivate and harvest fruits, and cassava roots from the jungle.

Although completely detached from the outside world, the mementos of their previous life were still kept. According to the report written by NPR, “The father kept his soldier’s trousers neatly folded in a corner [of the tree house]. Beside them was the little red coat his son was thought to have been wearing when they fled.”