Oliver White gives the most interesting person in the world the pursuit of his money. He was abducted by a maniac wielding a machete in the Bahamas (he escaped); worked as a fly fishing guide in Chile until a client, hedge fund manager Bill Akman, offered him a job in finance; and most recently, the royal family of Bhutan invited him to fish in their rivers for a rare and elusive golden mahzer. His life story is the subject of an upcoming documentary. A thousand castes what follows this journey to Bhutan.
White is an adventurer, businessman, and philanthropist, although, he says, fly fishing is the thread that ties it all together. We recently met with a fisherman to learn more about a documentary and to see the driving force behind his fantastic life.
Documentary Thousand castes It is expected to be released in the fall of 2019.
Men & # 39; s Journal: How did the Bhutan expedition originate?
Oliver White: I have a column in Fly Fisherman Magazine, and the guy contacted them about the story of Bhutan. The magazine suggested that I do this, but the only way to fish in Bhutan is at the invitation of the royal family. There is a travel agency called MyBhutan, and they were the ones who contributed to the invitation. I was invited by the prince [Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck]I went and drank tea and chatted about everything. He is a great athlete in the open air. He loves mountain biking, and he is a little fond of fishing. Fourth king [Jigme Singye Wangchuck, his father] engaged in fishing a lot, and one of his bodyguards went with him, so they sent this guy with me. He knew the river and where they used to fish with ordinary gear.
How was fishing there?
It was incredibly difficult. There are a couple of very prestigious, aristocratic things that you can hunt with a fishing rod, and the golden mahzer is one of them. In fact, there are not many places in the world where you have such an opportunity, and the rivers of Bhutan are clean and impeccable with a healthy population of these golden mahazers. They are omnivores and eat a lot of grass. Such fish is very difficult to catch on the fly. As they grow larger, they become a little more predatory and eat small bait fish. You can see in the film where these tributaries enter the main river – the tributaries are clean, and the main river is a little out of color. Right there, the fish will add up, and you can see hundreds of them. You might think that it would be really easy to catch them, but if you literally raise the stream of it and just put your hand in the water, the smell will reach the fish and they will all disappear. One needs to be very secretive and really work hard to get them, but this is doable.
We do not want to spoil anything in the film, but it partially tells how you were kidnapped during the construction of a fishing house in the Bahamas. Has it changed the way you live?
The honest answer is that people expect this to have a greater impact than it actually is. At that time, you are really focused on the moment. All your resources are being pushed to try to get out of this dilemma in which you are. Nothing of this life flashed before my eyes. It really looked like: “OK man, what are we going to do?” But as soon as I got out of this, this huge collapse happened. An adrenaline rush or whatever. Once I was safe, it was like a complete collapse. I immediately left the Bahamas and returned home. I used this time to refocus and find out what all this means. I landed in such a way that it was an accidental event, and if I let it negatively affect me, change my life and miss this opportunity right now, then it will be a mistake. So, I'm back. I had to go back and finish the project.
If you had to determine the driving force of all your wonderful experience, what would it be?
Most of this is just really trying to value your time, this time you can spend it here. I let this take precedence – to love what I do and to figure out how to make a living with it. I have given up some financial opportunities, but I live a very rich lifestyle. So many people just go through movements. They are busy with all this: get a job, get married, have a family, get a house with a fence, or something else. Suddenly they look back and do not waste time, but their life just slips away. Many of my choices were caused by this fear of looking back with regret. The nature of my life, being nomadic and always on the move, is much more than fishing. I love travel and people and cultural influences. Fishing is really a thread that ties it all together.
You have a really cool project in Guyana that you set up through your non-profit organization Indifly. Could you tell us about the Rewa Eco Lodge and the successes that he had?
In Guyana, there is a village in the rainforest called Reva, which is home to about 300 people. In the late 90s, the village saw that their wildlife was depleted, so they made a conscious effort to protect their lands. They received a grant from Conservation International and built a very small primitive lodge and wanted to do ecotourism, but it was not very successful. Then this guy went to Reva as a cameraman to shoot a bird show. He was a fisherman, and we both worked with Costa sunglasses. While he was taking pictures of birds, he saw arapayma, the largest freshwater fish in the world. These things are six to eight feet long, and he called Costa and told them what he had found. Costa sent me there to find out if it is possible to catch fish on a fly. We realized that people were so incredible that we could bring them back and help them. I brought one of the Macakushi Indians from the village to the Bahamas, where I was still living, and he spent several weeks watching how I conduct my business – how we conduct hotel business – and work on his fishing skills. We taught him how to improve the quality of food in Roar for guests; to get them the best equipment, such as boats, engines, bedding and all that; then we did marketing for them in the USA. The annual income of the entire village was $ 750 a year before our participation. Now they make a profit of $ 120,000 a year from fly fishing trips. This had a huge impact on the quality of life of every generation in the village, and the house belongs to the community.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
I really hope that Indifly can take more and more of my time. The goal is to be able to do more of this, but I still have to make a living, so it just balances these things. I would certainly look at the opening or construction of another lodge. Moreover, I am the new dad. I have been managing for the past few days, so I hardly saw him. When he wakes up, we will board the boat, play and go fishing. I'm just trying to understand how to live the life that I want to live, as well as be present – to learn how to be a great father and be able to pull my son around the world.