An interesting thought experiment

The Castaway Analysis

Christine Penn
7 min readAug 28, 2022


Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

TW: Participation in thought experiments like what I am about to document can invoke problems in certain people if you have not considered these types of things before. Realizations of your vulnerabilities can be troubling. So, tread carefully…

There are other forms of this analysis, but I think my focus is a little different from most of the others I have seen.

I have done this analysis repeatedly in my life, over and over again. And I had to repeat it recently, due to changes in circumstances that I could not have imagined. The process is analyzing your status if you found yourself suddenly forced into a scenario like what is presented in the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks. Could you happily survive? (Not necessarily from a survival skill standpoint, although that would also be important. In that case, I’m fairly confident I could manage to survive…but that’s another story topic at which I am not an expert.) I more interested in my appearance along with medical dependencies.

I evaluate this every so often, but in recent years, it has become more important, because in some cases, it actually became reality. For example, COVID occurred and some essential services all of a sudden became restricted or unavailable. In addition, some medication experienced supply issues or delays. Many of us had to change or be forced to adapt as a result.

Performing the analysis will make you realize how fragile and dependent your life is on different things. And I would suggest that everyone take the time to evaluate where you are and have a plan for what you could possibly do today to prepare for any such type of occurrence.

The evaluation for me took on a new priority when considering a transgender perspective. Another is from a medical perspective and yet another is the combination of the two.

So, allow me to explain the thought experiment. Let’s imagine ourselves in a situation like Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway. You are left on a deserted island with essentially nothing. What do you think would happen to you? How happy would you be? Would you survive? What would you look like a year later? What are the critical things in your life that could make or break your experience?



Christine Penn

Trans woman, parent, cyclist, software engineer, author, chef, and many other things.