Well, it has been fun…
Man. What a crazy year it has been! For those of you not aware, Survivor Season 26:Fans vs. Favs is coming to end this Sunday. Today I fly out to LA where I join my cast for the finale and live reunion show. What an amazing yet super stressful run!
As I sit awake in my bed at 5 a.m. I know I should be sleeping but also know that is impossible because I am just so darn excited. I haven’t seen most of these people in almost a year. You go and spend an incredibly intense experience with complete strangers, grow really close to a lot of them and then just don’t see them again. What? How is that fair?!
Since this is probably the last time I play Survivor, I just wanted to reflect on some of the amazing memories this show has brought me over the past going-on-4 years.
Rewind to my first season of Survivor. Here I am, a little baby 21 year old who heads out to Nicaragua for a “once in a lifetime adventure….”
…I do some f.ierce things, win some challenges…
….but the best part?? I got to see MY DAD on the island. Royal to the rescue.
Seeing my dad out on the island was a dream come true. I think he was even more emotional than me. It’s crazy how even though you are only away from home for 30 plus days, it feels like a LIFETIME and you just can’t stop thinking about your family and how much they mean to you.
So anyway, all said and done I had a blast playing on Season 22. Did I expect CBS to call me up and play again? Not really, but how can you say no?! So I agree to play Survivor again and embark on my “second once in a lifetime adventure,” this time venturing to the Philippines. Not to take anything away from Nicaragua or Season 22, but I had twice as much fun on this season. I think being a few years older as well as being on a season where I could actually make moves really added to the fun and suspense of the experience. Add in the fact that I was somehow the number one most targeted person on my entire season and it adds for a great viewing experience!
I made some friends on this season that I will cherish forever.
And although I didn’t get to see my loved ones on the island, my mom and my sister actually got to travel out to the Philippines and enjoy a nice little fun-filled CBS trip. When I heard that my mom AND sister were out there, but I wasn’t going to see them because I foolishly got voted out with an idol in my pocket, I started bawling. I couldn’t control my emotions because I missed them so much. However, you have to take the good with the bad. At least they got to come out to the Philippines! They are proud I made it as far as I did. Plus, I got to read my letters on the island so there’s that.
Honestly though, I had fun and all, but the Survivor experience is completely humbling. As much as it probably seems like I would enjoy watching myself on television it is quite the opposite. The whole set up of Survivor makes it a rather difficult experience once you get back in the real world–first getting adjusted to your real life and work, then dealing with social media, lovers and haters, the “fifteen minutes or whatever” and people you may have offended or hurt while playing. Sometimes I watch myself onscreen and I feel like I have a LOT of growing up to do. Sometimes I wonder if I should have done Survivor at all. But then I tell myself. NO. NO, ANDREA, NO. Remember how much fun you had. Remember how amazing and proud of yourself you were when you balanced on a floating dog house for three hours in the ocean and WON the challenge. Remember how you orchestrated a move in the game even when your entire alliance told you something different and you actually saved yourself that night. Remember that one day when they fed you all-you-can-eat peanut butter. THESE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE. Remember the amazing friends you made who love you to this day. Remember going back to Wisconsin with Cochran for a viewing party like this:
Even though, good thing he came THAT week instead of the next! He would have been in big trouble. Oh, and you were picked up by a frickin’ fire truck in Random Lake, deal with it.
So when I sit back and look at all the memories, the home town support, and the realization that this experience was less about me but more about bringing people together to watch some good ole island silliness, then it all makes much more sense. Thank you to everyone who supported me in this endeavor, and who continue to support me in everything I do. It means more than you know.
Sitting on wells and crushing dreams,