The Cowboys – humble AF, cuties, w/ an adorable backstory to show how close their relationship is consisting of one of them getting kicked in the head by a bull + the other stayed in the hospital the entire time w/ him ❤️ – they’re also hilarious, underestimated AF (esp. their 1st season). i’m even guilty of underestimating them when they returned for All Stars + then they won the very first leg (including that season’s prized Express Pass)!!! 😍 while their downfall is 100% navigation-related, their reputation stands that once they get to a challenge, consider it DONE. they figure their sh*t out. you absolutely love to see it. (i will never get tired of seeing them play – here’s to hoping they get brought back AGAIN🤞🏻) 🥇
The Afghanimals (Leo + Jamal) – they play TAR like Survivor (Boston Rob-style, sneaky, manipulative, etc.), yet remain incredibly likable because of the pure joy they experience along the way. these two genuinely really enjoy themselves during every part of the race experience, it’s just nonstop joking around + laughing – also USC represent ! (update: JK H8 THEM NOW for U-turning the Cowboys. An unforgivable sin in my eyes. F*** U!!!) 😤💔 (jk…but also not….😬😅)
Rob + Amber – obviously. (so obvious i didn’t bother moving them to the top of the list 😂 ), it’s wild how good they are at absolutely f***ing everything (!) – also, the second time they played, i really loved seeing Amber partake in some of Rob’s tactics + be a little shady toward a team w/ a damn good coverup for later on when confronted #impressive – i also liked seeing her call him out a little bit toward the beginning. they really are such a complementary pair + power couple goals AF. 💪🏻👩❤️👨
The Globetrotters (Big Easy + Flight Time) – (Professional Basketball Players for the Harlem Globetrotters) these guys are so funny to watch + like the Afghanimals, are always enjoying every second of the race + completely unafraid to laugh at themselves – esp. when Big Easy’s physical size makes certain challenges extra difficult for them. they also give back – by generally keeping the mood light + being super friendly w/ all fellow teams, but even give back to the world too – one of my favorite moments of theirs on All Stars is when Big Easy is struggling to finish sewing a shirt + Flight Time decides to entertain the Sri Lankan clothing workers all around them w/ basketball tricks, bc he’s just sweet like that. 🏀
Mark + Bopper – OK, not gonna lie…at first was like WTF CBS casting… thought these two were just real weirdos, really out there… lol, but then you get to know them along the way + i got SO emotional over these two! 🥺 these best friends from Kentucky really, really need the $ for their families, esp. Bopper whose young daughter has health issues. (he even shaves his head to get a Fast Forward pass in their first season!). these two are some of the funniest + nicest guys around + again are a team truly enjoying themselves along the way + express such raw gratitude for the experience, explaining that they would never have been able to see the world like this any other way ––a gift + a true once-in-a-lifetime experience for 2 of the most beautiful, kind, deserving souls. love, love, love. ❤️🥰
Dave + Connor – a father/son team who both previously had cancer AND the last time they were on the race was cut short due to Dave pulling his Achilles tendon. Their second time around in All Stars was so adorable – it’s clear to see how strong of a team they make + how much they really love each other. Dave even reminisces seeing Connor receiving chemotherapy just a few years prior + not knowing if he would make it + here they are getting to see the world together. They’ve truly come full circle. Survivors AF. 🏆(also Connor looks so much like one of my ex boyfriends, it’s REALLY FREAKY lolol but they’re both sweetie pies 🥧 so if anything it worked in his favor + just made me root for him a little more*, if even possible… 😂)
Tyler + Laura – ok, i just finished season 26, where the theme was real-life couples vs. blind-date couples, which i thought was a really interesting theme, especially seeing the results of the top 3 teams consisting of 100% blind-date couples! 😳 anyway, Tyler + Laura were the strongest, most consistent team throughout the race for sure – they were completely unstoppable, nothing could get in their way. they learned how to deal w/ one another remaining friendly, encouraging + maintaining positive attitudes even during distress (like when they misplaced their fanny pack! other teams would’ve lost their mf minds, but Tyler + Laura were cool as cucumbers and still managed to place near the top of that leg!) they really balance each other out + work together extremely well, while having fun along the way. they are totally #GOALS 😍 (hope they became a real couple after the race… will have to google later) ❣️
**side note: season 27, episode 3 of the Amazing Race uses the same song/music from Survivor season 3 (Africa) – air dates ~14 years apart ❕
TEAM FUN – i don’t even know what to say about them!! best vibes ever. they’re hilarious + love watching them genuinely enjoy every min. of the race. dream team. 🤗
Colin + Christie – wow… the first time they played, wasn’t a fan, but seeing them play again 15 years later, it’s incredibly clear just how much they’ve grown together in that time 😍 just like Colin says – that they came back “with wisdom on their side” (vs. youth) – they really made me feel a lot more positive about getting older b/c they are incredibly fit, their minds are sharp, they’re able to have fun + be playful/goofy, and in addition, can manage their emotions + stay calm, cool & collected + make logical decisions under pressure (what the race is all about!). they are absolute couple goals b/c they worked so well together, always maintained kindness toward the other, + most importantly, each held their own – for example, Colin’s strength was great in some of the super physical challenges + his consistent reminders to stay positive/present improved overall team morale, while Christie’s strength seemed to lie more in the ability to really focus in on the main priorities each leg + her laser attention to detail is what really pulled out the win for them in the end during the final drum set challenge. (& had she not noticed they needed to grab a basket + the fish while in the round boats challenge, they would’ve lost time + possibly been out of the race in an earlier leg). they’re inspiring AF! anything is possible!!! 🌎✨
The Green Team 💚 – absolutely love Justin for pretty similar reasons as Team Fun – he definitely seems like a child at heart (and i mean that in the best way!) w/ his big smile + fun-loving spirit! 🤸🏼♀️ At the same time, what I really love most about Justin is his passion for the Amazing Race. He was a Superfan before coming on the show (like The Amazing Race’s “Cochran”) + was crying when he made a mistake that almost lost him the race in the very first leg. Fortunately, he survived that round + went on to do extremely well, putting his knowledge of the game to use. I believe he would’ve gone on to win too, however, he makes an absolutely FATAL mistake in the final leg to the finish line when he doesn’t keep his taxi + therefore, comes in 2nd. One of the saddest (albeit most preventable😬) losses in all seasons of the show. 😭 love ya Green Team! xo 💚
Last year, I felt 2 different types of guilt. I felt weighed down with a lot of regret about not putting in necessary time + effort toward my passion for the game/its history + my ultimate goal of playing Survivor. I talked about it to very few people, but the ones I let in I believe could tell how important this was to me + I imagine were surprised by the way my actions didn’t align with what I was saying. The other source of guilt that was weighing on me was how, having moved out on my own, I felt I was neglecting one of my most cherished relationships (w/ my dad) by getting swept up in work + other social obligations. Again, my words weren’t aligning with my actions, b/c I would speak so highly of him, but then why am I here + not there spending time w/ him instead? Shouldn’t that be priority over whoever I’m saying all this to? Well, say what you want about 2020 – this year allowed me to actually get to know myself + I believe that now shines through in my actions. I moved back home due to the pandemic + prioritized the things I truly value in life. I read all the Survivor books I had ordered on Amazon that had started to collect dust, I researched a lot about the show online + I got a lot closer w/ my dad watching all 40 seasons together. ✨
Survivor makes me “dig deep” (as Jeff Probst says) in life + all that i do (running/work/etc.) – it motivates me to constantly push myself more.
Helps me to remind myself to be more open to new opportunities. I think about WWSD? (What Would someone on Survivor Do?/What Would the Survivor version of myself Do?)
It made me want to be a good person. It sounds silly, because you think most people probably already want that or should want that… 😬 but IDK – it wasn’t really something I thought about. I guess it actually first started when I really liked someone I went out w/ a few years ago + it didn’t work out, because I’ve always thought he’s a better person than me. He’s good. In the feelings for this person, I first thought – I want to be good too. + Survivor really solidified that in me through the emotional turmoil of many players, constant final 3 tribal morality disputes, etc. – helped shape me as a person.
Interacting w/ the Survivor community/other Superfans online during quarantine/the pandemic has been really refreshing, energizing, supportive, motivating, etc. to me in many ways. TY all for that. ❤️
Helped me to be more vulnerable (this post included)/to feel more okay w/ sharing more personal things than before – especially if I’m talking about the show w/ someone bc it leads to a lot of deep questions/conversation topics/emotional discovery discussions.
It helps me to always see things from multiple perspectives + think about a problem or situation from all angles. I strategize better (even just in daily life) b/c it changed how i approach everything/anything.
It’s helped me to become more reflective – to take time to take a step back + assess (and began to meditate daily). (being sober for ~10 months now too has helped enormously) ☁️
Finally, (for now – I’m sure I’ll be adding more…) Survivor has inspired me to write more these past few months than all of 2018-2019 combined + I’ve considered myself a writer/thought of that as a key part of my identity for some time now (~2011), but dropped off the past few years when it was no longer a part of my job.
(just listing a few for now – planning to keep adding to this)
Alecia Holden – Alecia is a wildly underrated player from Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. It was really, reallyyyy tough to watch 2 grown men (one of whom has a young daughter + should be ashamed of himself for not being a better role model) straight up bully her just because she’s blonde + a woman. Jason and Scot were consistently disrespectful from the very beginning by choosing to call her “Blondie” instead of her name + repeatedly put her down by ridiculing both her mental + physical abilities –– yet SHE IS THE ONE TO MAKE FIRE FOR THE TRIBE. She was the only one unwilling to give up on this task, while the “men” laid in the shelter for several hours. I wholeheartedly believe Alecia not only could have, but would have gone a lot further in the game had she either been placed on a tribe other than Brawn (in the same season) or cast for a different season than Scot + Jason.
Corinne Kaplan – Corinne is one of the smartest, funniest and most clever + entertaining women to ever play. I think she got too bad of a rap than deserved in the Gabon season for a few ‘harsh’ comments, but to me, she’s easily one of the most relatable players w/ a “tell it like it is” attitude that was really refreshing to see in a game oversaturated w/ subtle manipulation. All I could think while watching her scheme was “I’m not sure if I’d want to play with her (out of pure intimidation), but I 100% want to be her best friend – we’d get along.” (and I really never say that about anyone!)
Jay Starett – Although I was a Michaela fan as well, the blindside he led against her was a big move, especially considering that they were currently in an alliance, indicating a turning point of the game in the Millenials vs. Gen X season. This move alone would be enough to make his game respectable, but he also won challenges, found an immunity idol + played a strong strategic game. (also, one of the most genuine players to ever play the game in my opinion, or at least came off that way to those watching at home)
Janet Carbin – As the oldest woman on her tribe, Janet was inevitably going to have a rough time staying in the game, but proved her worth immediately when she was the first person to make fire for her tribe! As if that wasn’t already impressive, Janet absolutely nailed the first few challenges utilizing her lifeguarding skills, when she got her tribe a huge lead by hooking their rope around a target on her first attempt + then showed her extremely strong swimming ability as she kept pace with an Olympian! Janet was also the first person to be wise enough not to take Boston Rob + Sandra’s offer on Island of the Idols because she took the time to analyze all possible outcomes instead of immediately jumping in + blindly agreeing the deal. Janet was able to get along with every person on her tribe + has that special ability to mesh well w/ all types of people in the world – that’s one of the biggest signs that someone has what it takes to be the sole survivor. I love how caring, thoughtful + well-spoken she is – I would feel very lucky to have her on my tribe to weather the storm that this game is with – also, her beautiful tribal council speech about gender equality brings me to tears every time. (begins @ 4:51)
Clarence Black – yes, he blows his entire game almost immediately (2x) when he 1) takes 2 cherries while everyone else only takes 1 from the can the tribe’s sharing + 2) splits a can of beans with another player who’s not feeling well while the rest of the tribe is off getting water + says he only opened it for the sick person, but really incriminates himself by also eating the other 1/2 of the can. however – had he not been trying to get back in the good graces of the tribe, I think he would’ve beaten Theresa in the challenge where they had to hold their arm over their head or a bucket of water would drop – but he made a deal w/ Theresa/the tribe to let her win immunity for a promise of safety for that night’s tribal + for a food reward right then + there. i think he could’ve gone a lot farther + been a really strong player if he had just held out right at that moment. he’s also one of my funniest Survivor moments (5:40)– “I’ve talked to each of those chickens personally and I’ve informed them that they’re on notice.”
Dreamz – won the final immunity in Survivor Fiji, which made him the first ever African American male to make it to day 39 in the game. when he went back on his deal w/ Yau Man (Yau Man gave Dreamz a truck he won in a reward challenge in exchange for Dreamz to promise to give Yau Man the immunity necklace at final 4 – if he won), i believe it was Dreamz just purely acting out of self-interest (not selfishly – because he was thinking of his young son + giving him a better life), but who could blame him??? he tells us all about the way he grew up + how he was homeless for awhile, so i think his mindset wouldn’t allow him to give up a shot at the million because any chance > no chance. i think he just lacked social game. i felt that the pain in his face was true, raw emotion that wouldn’t be there if he had been strategizing or calculating – pure human internal struggle all over his face.
What is first important to understand is how Dreamz grew up and the realities that he lived through. Never before had Survivor cast a person who had been actually homeless for parts of his life. Dreamz grew up in legitimate poverty and without many chances to breakthrough those financial struggles that were holding him down. It should be no surprise that Dreamz had never owned a car because in his everyday life, there was no way he could have afforded to buy one when he was more worried about finding food and shelter. For many people a car is just something everybody owns and uses, for someone in Dreamz’s situation, a car is a pipe dream of luxury.