Reg Spiers is a man with a particular style of joie de vivre. He’s a 70-something-year-old guy from Adelaide who uses the word “bloody” more than anyone should, and seems to be often taking the piss in ways you can’t quite level. He laughs raucously at his own gags, and frequently overlays the conversation with sexual innuendo. And in this way Reg seems like exactly the kind of guy who’d put himself in a box and endure three days of cramped horror just to avoid paying for a plane ticket.
It was a different time when this all happened. Reg was 22, training in London to make the javelin team for the 1964 Olympic Games. But when he got injured he knew his chances were dashed and wanted to get home to Adelaide, especially as his daughter’s birthday was coming up.
“I had no money,” Reg recalles. “But my daughter was only a kid and I knew she’d have liked to have seen me. So what am I going to do—start walking back to Australia?”
“Fortunately I happened to have a job with Air France,” he went on. It was here that I learned about the specifications of the aeroplanes and the kind of freight they could hold.”
So right there and then, while at work one day at the airport, a light went off in Reg’s head.
“I was in the office there and I thought Jesus, could you do this? Then I thought: why couldn’t you?”
As Reg explains, the first step to sending yourself in the post is building a wooden box large enough to carry you. For this job Reg recruited a friend to help build a wooden crate that could be locked and opened from the inside, with straps to hold him in place.
“It was a big box,” Reg recalls fondly. “I could stretch my legs out or curl up and go to sleep. “There’s gotta be worse ways to travel I guess.”
…And we’re gonna end the article there because this is an ad for episode two of our new podcast, Extremes. If you want to hear the full story of Reg’s international post adventure, look for Extremes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just hit the link right here: