I was holidaying in Bryon Bay, NSW with my family when I received a call that would prove to change my life. It was from a production company claiming to be working on a new survival reality show concept that would be the “Everest of Survival Shows”. I had trekked across the Sierra Nevada earlier in the year carrying only a pocketknife, a feat that had attracted a few news stories, and the execs from this show were wondering if I felt like I had what it would take to survive 21 days on my own in the wilderness.
Having just completed a book on survival for women, I was excited to test and prove myself in the realm I had so recently written about. There was a pause in conversation as the execs uttered: “there is a catch, just stay with us though… it’s called Naked and Afraid”. Immediately I thanked them for their time and said that I was not interested. 21 days naked on tv for a show that would be aired on The Discovery Channel for the world to see? Not really my thing. After all, I was not a nudist or a naturist or whatever they were calling themselves these days. I wasn’t one for streaking or flashing my boobs and had never mooned anyone in my life. Truth be told I was hardly comfortable in my own company without my clothes on. They asked me to please just think about it and we hung up agreeing to chat the next day.
I remember sitting there after the phone call thinking about my childhood dream to be stranded on a deserted island Swiss Family Robertson style. 21 days by myself with nothing in a foreign land (because at that stage the show concept was to be out there on your own). An adventure with a safety net, sort of. Here someone was offering me a chance to see if I had what it takes to survive with absolutely nothing but in a world where if the worst came to the worst, there was a “button” I could press to get out. I could tap out of the situation, I would have access to medical support if I got bitten by something deadly and I would have a support crew to encourage me should things get tough.
By the time I headed downstairs to talk to my family about the offer, I had almost convinced myself that it might be an amazing adventure and what was life but a daring adventure or nothing at all? My family’s reaction was predictable to say the least. Emphatic “no’s” from every corner had me questioning my own weakening resolve. Finally we put together a list of questions for the network the following day and I went to bed knowing I was going to say “yes” regardless. This was the adventure I had been waiting for my whole life.