WHO AM I
Alex de Bruyn is a young man with a considerable appetite for adventure. Growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa, he spent much of his time seeking out novelty and excitement. From a young age and being descended from a prosperous business family, he was instilled with a strong work ethic and fierce competitiveness and as such he sought to make a name for himself.
De Bruyn’s parents, a culturally Christian couple, believed that the best way for a young man to learn was through experience and by daring to fail by trying. Such a home existence was fertile ground for de Bruyn to achieve the impossible. Like every other red-blooded high school lad, de Bruyn found academic success elusive, and ultimately, banal. Yet, despite his distaste for the staid scholastic path set by his family, de Bruyn achieved an honors degree in Management Accounting. This stubbornness helped him through subsequent challenges and even saved his life on many occasions.
At the age of 22, after satisfying the minimum requirements of his family, the world of adventure finally opened up to de Bruyn. He was inspired by the poignant words of his favorite childhood author Roald Dahl, who responded to the suggestion that he continue his studies at Oxford: “No thank you. I want to go straight from school to work for a company that will send me to wonderful faraway places like Africa or China.” In 2010, de Bruyn launched himself into what most considered a death-wish pursuit—he traveled alone to France and joined the Foreign Legion.
De Bruyn believed that enlisting in the Legion would transform him into an extraordinary man. It did. But after being posted to the jungles of French Guiana, South America, he soon realized that the Legion was not quite what he expected it to be. In fact, life in the Legion’s regiment was too anti-climactic. Yet, even with the Atlantic Ocean and a forfeited passport separating him from his home, de Bruyn left the Legion. Escaping from the jungles of South America was only the beginning of his swashbuckling adventure. His odyssey plunged him spiraling into a life-and-death struggle, escaping the jungle, crossing the Atlantic, evading authorities. Along the way, he encountered cultures, underworlds, and finally, a very unexpected and personal spiritual catharsis. De Bruyn’s story resonates with any young man who wished to rebel against a stereotypical, middle class, staid life. He wanted to journey beyond the pale.
With his epiphanic moment after staring down the barrel of a loaded rifle, de Bruyn’s journey beyond the Legion brought him back to his roots, with his family in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he now works as a self-made entrepreneur, focusing on technology and finance. He uses his education, life experiences, and connections to continue achieving the extraordinary and helping the less fortunate. De Bruyn disdains idleness and continually strives to change the world, and possibly share a lesson or two from the decisions he makes.