Pulling into the Crowley driveway that Thursday afternoon my mind was racing, my nerves were on edge — I knew I was about to play survivor (and for charity nonetheless) but I don’t think I fully grasped what was about to happen. I parked, and before being whisked away by my handler, I made sure to scarf down the last of my chicken parm in my car, knowing that could be my last real meal for the next four days. Next thing I knew my bags were taken, I was being interviewed and BOOM — I was then marooned and blindfolded. I just remember thinking to myself, “shit, things got real… REAL FAST”.
As a big fan of the show, I always wondered what the contestants felt like as they departed for their season and what it would be like walking on the beach for first time with the rest of the contestants. I knew this wasn’t the “real thing” but I’ll tell you, the nerves are real, even if it was for only a 4-day adventure in Maine.
The second my blindfold came off, it was sensory overload. Your brain is moving a thousand miles a minute, you are tryingto survey the locale and you immediately begin sizing up the other contestants. The worst part is —- you can’t friggin talk! Your adrenaline is shooting through the roof, and as a fan, it’s a bit hard to contain yourself because you know you’re about to play SURVIVOR and you’re going crazy inside.
If there is any advice I can give to future contestants it would be this:
TAKE A DEEP BREATH & TAKE IT ALL IN.
Those opening seconds are like no other sporting event or athletics competition I’ve been part of before. From the kayak ride in, to standing around waiting for the opening ceremony to start, everything about Durham Warriors Survival Challenge feels like the real deal.
I remember walking into tribal, my heart was beating out of my chest (the bongo drums didn’t help ease the tension at all), and I literally have zero clue what to expect. I was nervous, scared, anxious, a little hungry and excited all rolled into one. The second you are told you can FINALLY talk, it’s like this big hallelujah moment and you don’t want to shut up…but you instantly remember, the GAME IS ON! You become super cautious of your surroundings and catch yourself thinking: who is chatting with who, who do you want to align with, who is already playing too hard, what is that person’s name again? Am I talking too much or too little? And I kept reminding myself not to be the first person asleep.
The paranoia of the first night is legit… but at least you forget you’re hungry.