The 26-year-old American missionary travelled around the world before getting killed by an isolated tribe on a forbidden island

John Allen Chau/InstagramJohn Allen Chau on a hike with friends in Washington state.
  • John Allen Chau – the American missionary killed by a tribe on India’s North Sentinel Island – was an experienced traveller.
  • He coached soccer for Syrian refugees in Kurdistan and went to India twice before.
  • Chau also appeared to be sponsored by different companies during some of his trips.
  • Chau documented all his trips on Instagram – here’s where he went.

Before John Allen Chau travelled to North Sentinel Island and was killed by island natives, he was already an experienced world traveller.

As a missionary and adventurer, Chau, an American, climbed mountains in Washington, backpacked through South Africa, and coached Syrian refugee kids in soccer in Kurdistan.

Chau documented all his trips – like any 26-year-old – on Instagram. Here’s where he went.


In 2013, Chau went to South Africa to teach English and coach youth soccer.

John Allen Chau/InstagramA photo Chau took of kids playing soccer in Capetown.

While at Oral Roberts University, Chau spent the summer of 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. There, he taught English and worked at the Ubuntu Football Academy. For the rest of his life, Chau followed the Ubuntu Football Academy and raised money for the organisation when it was needed.


Chau graduated college in 2014. Then he went to Iraq to help refugees.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau posted this photo from the top of a mountain in Koya, Iraq.

Chau completed his studies at Oklahoma’s Oral Roberts University in 2014, getting a bachelor’s degree in health and physical fitness.

In June of that year, according to his LinkedIn page, he went to Kurdistan in Northern Iraq to “run soccer clinics, coaching seminars, and a tournament for Syrian refugee children and local Kurdish youth.”

Later on, he posted photos of the sights, and of some of the refugee children with whom he worked.


Later, he hiked through California.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau on California’s coast.

After leaving Iraq, he headed to California and climbed the Pacific Crest Trail in August. He posted photos of mountains he climbed and natural sights along the coast.


And then travelled to Washington.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau holding a fish he caught.

He posted about fishing with his brother in Washington state, still apparently hiking the trail.


He then travelled back down the coast to Oregon.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau posted a photo from Oregon on his Pacific Crest route.

He posted a photo from near Cape Meares.


It’s possible his trip was sponsored by Huckberry, the outdoors apparel company.

John Allen Chau/InstagramA photo of Huckberry merchandise posted during Chau’s Pacific Northwest trip.

Chau used the @huckberry handle numerous times and #huckberry hashtag for virtually every photo posted on the trip, and sometimes posted photos of Huckberry merchandise with the logo visible.

Huckberry didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.


In October, he flew to Atlanta, Georgia, to train for Americorps.

John Allen Chau/InstagramA photo of the bluegill he got.

From there, he went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he worked as an Americorps volunteer.


Chau travelled back to the Pacific Northwest several times to hike, with an excursion through the Ozarks, and eventually became a wilderness EMT.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau’s W-EMT certification.

He became a certified emergency medical technician in July 2015.


Then he explored Israel.

John Allen Chau/InstagramA baptism in the Jordan River.

In August of 2015, Chau went on a group trip to Israel with the Christian organisation Covenant Journey, where he watched baptisms in the Jordan River, explored the ruins of Caesaria, and travelled through Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.


After yet another trip to Washington, Chau went on a mission to India.

John Allen Chau/InstagramA photo Chau posted from India.

Organised through Oral Roberts University, Chau went on an evangelical mission to India in October 2015. He didn’t have Wi-Fi for most of the trip, but he later posted photos of elephants, clam-diving, and the city of Chennai.

“Life on an island is pretty swell. Thanks @oru_missions for teaching me to always have a sermon ready…preached twice at a local church today,” he wrote in one post. “Only hard part about the #islandlife is no Wi-Fi (and electrical failures, no phone coverage, large insects and spiders, mosquitoes with malaria and dengue, and humidity on par with Houston).”

He was back in the US and hiking in Washington by November.


He headed back to India in September 2016.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau lived in this house on the jungle island of Havelock for a few days.

Chau lived in the jungles of Kerala, making his way to the Andaman Islands. The island group includes North Sentinel Island, which he visited two years later.


In India, it looks like he was sponsored by a beef jerky company.

John Allen Chau/InstagramA photo of a Perky Jerky bag hau posted in September 2017.

On this trip, he seems to have begun his long-running sponsorship deal with the beef jerky brand Perky Jerky, often using the brand in hashtags and mentioning it in his posts. Perky Jerky didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.


He was bitten by a rattlesnake in May 2017.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau recovering from a rattlesnake bite.

From India, he returned to hiking in the Pacific Northwest. In May 2017, he posted a series of photos about being bitten by a rattlesnake and his hospital recovery.


Chau returned to Capetown, South Africa, this past September.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau on a hike in South Africa.

He hiked through mountains and canyons in the Boosmansbos Wilderness.


His last major trip was to the Andaman Islands, where he died.

John Allen Chau/InstagramChau in the Andamanese jungles.

Chau made his way to India for a third and final time in November.

There, he went to North Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman Islands. It’s the home of the relatively isolated indigenous Sentinelese tribe.

Chau reportedly was on the trip as part of another evangelical mission. When he ventured on North Sentinel Island, tribespeople reportedly killed him.

In a letter he wrote before his death, he asked authorities not to retrieve his body if he died.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.