We’ve heard it from our older and wiser folk — life is short. Ask her out, take the vacation, order the steak! Why not? By taking chances on what you want, you’ll experience the thrill that usually comes from driving in the fast lane. But as the laws of physics have taught us, the faster you go, the harder you crash.
When two friends and fellow adventurers sought out new highs in a foreign land, they found themselves at an ultimate low. But just when they thought all was lost, they found the faintest glimmer of hope in the most unlikely place…
Mikey Lythcott is an avid traveler. This globetrotter had already been to an astounding 54 different countries in his 36 short, but full, years. He was extremely active on social media, using it as a tool to share his incredible adventures and stay in touch with his many friends from around the world.
In February of 2018, Mikey traveled to Thailand where he met and befriended Stacey Eno, who was living in Gwangju, South Korea. The pair really hit it off and made plans to meet up again that August in Bali, Indonesia. This trip to Bali would mark Mikey’s 55th country.
As of 2018, Mikey was living in Lisbon, Portugal, as an ex-pat. The life abroad was now just his normal way of life. Despite his enviable social feeds of exotic beaches, rich rain forests, and bustling markets, his friends and followers truly loved seeing all the many places of Mikey’s travels.
As Mikey prepared for a new adventure in Bali, his many social media friends were strapping in for the ride, too, ready to enjoy it via his pictures. Though no one could have foreseen, his friends would be much more than vicariously present on his vacation.
On August 22nd, 2018, Mikey arrived in the town of Ubud on the island of Bali. Finally reunited, he and Stacey decided to explore Ubud by scooter. A journey, as they would soon find out, that would be the ride of their lives.
Mikey and Stacey rented out a scooter to explore the mountainous upland region of Bali. Most scooters would fit two people, so they rented just one and shared to save some money. After just 7 hours in Bali, the two friends were already zooming around the beautiful rural roads of the Island’s forest.
The road led up a mountain. The path was heavily wooded and though they were driving slowly, corners came up without warning. When Mikey approached a particularly sharp turn, he hit the brakes. But the bike didn’t slow down at all!
Without any time to make a correction, Mikey and Stacey drove right off the side of the steep road. They flew off the scooter, crashing into the Ubud forest. When Mikey regained consciousness, he had no idea where he was.
Mikey tried to get his bearings. He lost both his helmet and glasses in the crash. He felt around, but he realized he couldn’t move his left wrist. As the world came into focus, so did the pain. Not only was his wrist shot, but Mikey also couldn’t move his entire body.
Without his glasses, everything seemed dark, but he could slightly make out the sky between the foliage. Stacey was nowhere he could see, but he called out in hopes that maybe she was just hidden in the thickness of the forest.
To Mikey’s great relief Stacey called back to him. She was alive, but in no better shape than he was. The two friends were completely immobile and, to make things worse, they were on some sort of steep incline… and they were slipping!
It was clear no one had witnessed the accident. The reality of their situation set in just as fast as the degree of their injuries. They had no idea what was below them, but the ominous sound of rushing water did nothing to ease their worries.
Mikey thought the worst: “we’re going to die here.” As the surrounding darkness set into his thoughts, Mikey suddenly felt his phone in his pocket. With his good hand, he reached into his pants and quickly turned on his international roaming to see if he could get a signal.
One small bar of salvation appeared on the screen. Mikey wasted no time. He logged on to Facebook and posted a message he hoped would beget the attention Stacey and he desperately needed. He wrote a post that read, “Help. In Danger. Call Police.” and geotagged it to Bali. Now they just had to wait and hope someone would pick up on their distress.
Seeing a post like that, it would be natural to assume that it was a scam, or that someone had hacked his account. But because Mikey was very active on Facebook, the strange posting was an immediate red flag to his friend, Aimee Sparks, back in the states.
Concerned, she went to Mikey’s page to send him a message. Aimee realized there was a call feature on Facebook and she thought, given the strangeness of the post, maybe that would be the more appropriate move. When she called, Mikey picked up and Aimee quickly realized just how real the emergency was.
Other friends who had seen the post were skeptical. But after their phone call, Aimee posted on Facebook, confirming the grave danger Mikey was in. This kicked many other of his Facebook friends into action, which was good because Mikey’s battery was dying — and fast!
Mikey was still extremely disoriented and Aimee was unable to get any clear indication of where he and Stacey were, but she asked if he could send a pin drop of their location. Fumbling with his right hand, Mikey did just that. Now it was a race against the clock.
Luckily, Mikey had a huge social network of friends working together. Mikey was getting weaker, and he and Stacey continued to slide down into what they could only imagine would be their end. He had no confidence they would make it out, but he still assured Stacey that everything would be okay.
Eventually, Mikey got a call from a man named Joe with the Indonesian consulate. Mikey was able to tell Joe that the GPS pin showed they were near a hotel, and just then — his phone battery died. Back in the dark, Stacey and Mikey held on with nothing but blind faith that someone was on their way to help.
What felt like hours later, Mikey and Stacey finally heard people nearby. They shouted out to them for help. By morning, Mikey and Stacey had been carried out of the ravine to safety, but they weren’t out of the woods yet.
They both suffered severe injuries from the crash. They were rushed to a local hospital, but not long after the two were admitted, it became apparent that the medical attention they needed was beyond what the hospital could provide.
Mikey and Stacey were transferred to BIMC Hospital in the town of Kuta, Bali. There, they underwent life-saving surgeries. Mikey had operations on his skull, wrist, and abdomen, and doctors used chest tubes to re-inflate his lungs. He also suffered from a cracked spine and internal damage, including perforated bowels.
Stacey’s injuries were less critical, but she did suffer a lot of facial trauma with fractures to her cheekbones and nose. She was discharged within a week and returned to her home in South Korea. Mikey spent another week at the hospital before he flew back to the states to continue recovering at his sister’s home.
Mikey and Stacey both admitted Facebook saved their lives. It was lucky, Mikey reflected, he retained a presence on social media that allowed him to attract the attention and support of friends. If he had been less active, he feared their story might have had a very unhappy ending.
Both Mikey and Stacey racked up hefty medical bills from the incident. But again, thanks to their incredible online community, they both have raised over half of the capital to cover their individual expenses. Community may have shifted into a digital realm, but it is still just as important and as strong as ever!