a still shot from my personal diary camera during the fifth night - a rough one; our shelter took a beating during the storm, but we powered through. barely.
if only my partner would stop whining about his sunburn and start collecting firewood.
*rolls eyes.*
as i was reflecting on sunday's episode of naked and afraid, i had this very vivid, very seemingly-real visualization of what i would be like if i were a contestant on discovery channel's most bizarrely gripping new series. it was similar to those dreams you have on first-day-of-school eve - the ones where you're running around your "campus" (which doesn't look anything like your campus at all) and can't seem to find your classroom, or you wake up and you realize your schedule's gone missing; ridiculous and nonsensical but they feel so real in the moment and everything happening is so wrong but you've no control. in this day-mare of mine, my subconscious fear of leaving for europe in three days was talking, but instead of moving to spain, i was leaving for the filming of an episode of naked and afraid, and that episode was starring me.

i arrived at the most intimidating of locations: a burning hot, tropical beach (#palepeopleprobz) whose temperatures drop to dangerously cold levels at night time and whose coasts are crawling with snakes and buzzing with mosquitoes. i climbed hesitantly toward the meeting post where my single satchel and partner were both waiting for me. we get introductions and "first looks" out of the way (why are the contestants always so awkwardly blunt about the "look?") and he shows me the multi-usage machete/saw tool he brought. i pulled out my chosen item: a tube of chapstick.

at this point he hated me already and compared me to the man from last season who brought goggles but then refused to swim and catch fish (! offensive). why didn't i bring something useful, like a fire starter? i was hoping he knew how to start a fire bow-drill style. but! the chapstick has SPF! (fast-forward three days and i don't share when he is complaining about his sun-burnt lips).

*update!* i failed to mention originally that at the beginning of our challenge, my skills and intelligence were assessed, and i was given a primitive survival rating of 5.2. i honestly felt pretty good about this, but couldn't wait to prove i (cue dramatic jungle music) had what it took to survive naked and afraid

over the span of 20 days, we built a shelter, started a fire (after six cold nights sans flames), weaved a fish trap only to find it empty the following day, did a cheerleading stunt to pluck some coconuts off the nearest palm tree, ate said nuts, i got ill from dehydration, he picked firewood, i cried, we had a tussle about the roles and responsibilities of our "partnership," he cut his foot on a thorn, i caught a crab, he cried, he pouted about not being the breadwinner, i gave an over-emotional speech on feminism, we threatened to part ways but then realized we couldn't have done it without each other, etc.

on the twenty-first day, my partner and i (assuming i made it the entire three weeks, which is a stretch in itself) had to swim to the extraction point. swim.

i can't swim.

and after what couldn't have been longer than a few minutes but felt like twenty, i pulled my imaginative mind from the thought (before i got any specific ending or real closure, like any bad dream. did we build a raft? did i swim? did i make it?? WAS I EVER EXTRACTED!?) and realized, maybe a semester in spain won't be too bad after all.

i'll just be in spain. clothed. with purified water. and a trusty source of food. and a caring host family. and the opportunity to speak spanish all the time without driving everyone (my mother) loco. *quivers with excitement.*
it could definitely be worse.

granada, spain. fall 2014: clothed and brave. starring rachel.

first episode of the eighteen-week season starts this wednesday.
stay tuned!

PS: at the end of this little daydream of mine, i was dying to find out what my PSR would actually be, so i got online and took this primitive survival rating quiz. you guys, i got a 1.1. ONE POINT ONE. how is that an actual rating? does it even get any lower than a one!? scoff!! i even gave some really good, really honest answers, like of course i would take a machete as my tool of choice, and i would use my natural instincts combined with my katniss-like knowledge of all foliage to be sure the greens were safe for my partner and i to consume. i suppose my honest answer of  "i only experience nature through what i see on naked and afraid" maybe knocked my overall PSR down a few points. ;)

if you haven't ever seen/heard of naked and afraid, i'm sorry.
this is probably the worst thing you've ever read.
if you have seen naked and afraid,
this is still probably the worst thing you've ever read.
i'm sorry.

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