It's safe to say Panta Petrovic has led an interesting life. Around eighteen years ago, he made the decision to take a step back from society, choosing instead to go and live in a cave in the Serbian mountains outside the city of Pirot. His home is only accessible via a steep climb, and Petrovic sleeps on piles of hay and uses an old bathtub as a toilet.
Petrovic used to work as a laborer and had a hectic lifestyle. He even has 6 children by 4 different women. But over time, his love of nature took hold, and he spent more and more time isolating himself from society. He believes his transition to the hermit lifestyle was something of a natural progression. "I was not free in this city. There is always someone in your way – you either argue with your wife, neighbors, or the police. Here, nobody is hassling me," he explained.
Man Living In a Cave for 18 Years www.youtube.com
Petrovic survives on mushrooms he forages and fish he catches. But from time to time, he also travels to the local town to search the dumpsters for goods. He's had several pets over the years, but they often fall victim to attacks by wild animals. He lives on welfare checks, but also relies on donations of animals and food.
During one of Petrovic's infrequent visits to town last year, he learned about the coronavirus pandemic for the first time. And as soon as the vaccine became available to him, Petrovic was quick to accept it. He explained he believes that the virus "does not pick," adding: "It will come here to my cave, too."
Petrovic claims he "doesn't understand the fuss" around people being afraid of the vaccine. He says he believes in the process and will take both his doses, including any booster doses recommended in the future. But Petrovic also understands that the efficacy of vaccines depends on the entire population doing their part. "I urge every citizen to get vaccinated, every single one of them," he said.
People on the internet have certain theories about Petrovic's stance. "I expect it is because he doesn't have the internet so he is not subject to all the crazies on there," wrote one Facebook commenter. Another agreed, adding: "It's because he hasn't got the Internet in his cave. Two hours on Facebook and he will believe half the BS the rest of the people here seem to!"
However, others are dubious about the impact of Petrovic's advice. "So now we take advice from cavemen? Seems like another great liberal idea in the making," criticized one. "So you're saying he's probably made a lot of bad calls throughout his life right?" another joked