What are you doing ? Seriously Lee? WTF?.

Distractions are everywhere you go these days. Hell you cant even go to the toilet in peace esp if you are one of these people who take your phone to the sacred place with you (don’t tell me you have never done it at least once). I am currently located at a place where there are very little if no distractions at all. And I have to tell you, it’s a scary place to be as I am faced with some thought provoking questions that I don’t really want to answer. In fact if I could right now, Id love to grab my phone and open up “Clash of Clans” and start another war so I can escape from the thoughts in my head.

The last 5 days I have been shunned from society (albeit with a 5 star view of the beach) and am currently in a place they call “lockdown”. A term phrased by the reality TV Survivor production crew where castaways who are about to enter the game are locked away in a hotel room in isolation from one another and the outside world. Just me, a bed, a shower, absolutely no tech and a couple of books to keep me company. This isolation is a little refreshing in some parts as I am forced to filling my days by reading books and basking in silence. Something which is a daily struggle given the life I live. Most people pay allot of money to go on digital detoxes like this so I guess I am lucky however with these types of escapes the guests have the luxury of leaving their rooms. But for 5 days? I can manage a few days at most but when the books are completed this is where the deep thoughts start surfacing.

I started writing this out of boredom and as a way to clean my mind and get my thoughts down on paper which are getting thrown around like a washing machine with the cycle on intense at the moment. Which puts me back to my initial question… “why Lee why?. Why would I put myself through an adventure that 1) I have already taken part in and 2) nearly broke me physically and mentally?. Brain thankyou for asking this question and trying to protect me. Good boy. Here is a treat (eats chocolate).

Rewind a little bit first. It is fair to say that my life post my first Survivor experience has been nothing than non stop. “Hectic” is a word I use allot (even though I am trying to change this response) when people ask how I have been. In the past three years my world has been turned into a world of travel, meeting amazing people, new adventures and new business opportunities. You know the kind of things most people would love to go through. Sounds fun right? It has been and I am forever grateful for these experiences.

To say it has all been “beer and skittles”, is the same as saying that your social media posts is an honest representation of actually what happens in your life 24/7. Not the real story. Spending allot of time away with no connection to the outside world had its impact the first time round. First of all my drone business nearly went under, it took me quite a while to re-establish my relationship with my boys, trying to blend a family was extremely tough and one of my greatest survivor memories (a girl I met on the island and started dating in the real world) went separate ways.

So when the Executive Producer Amelia called and asked whether I wanted to come back on the show, I replied with a “yesssssss?”. A long drawn out reply with an upward inflection which basically meant I was answering the questions… with a question. Meaning I had to think about it.

Many things had changed from when I applied the first time. This was the main point. I had applied to go on the show, not been asked like I was being asked now. When I applied a few years back, Survivor was a challenge I needed in my life. Something I was looking for. An adventure, a challenge to fill a void which had been left by retiring from a professional cricket career a couple of years earlier. Being asked was different. A huge honour don’t get me wrong, but still different.

Fast forward to now and my Drone business has experienced its biggest year since I started five years ago which allowed me to step back and let a bigger and better team run the show on a day to day basis. I have learnt to say no to opportunities so I can be home more as a single Dad meaning my relationship with my boys is flourishing. I found another relationship…with my Christian faith. I am also spending more time with Mum and Dad who are experience challenging health issue at the moment. To put simply, the holy grail of the term “work/life balance” has been discovered.

So I will say it again and Lee this time stop deflecting the question. Why Lee why? The more I investigate the question, the more I try to avoid answering it. Maybe it’s the chaos, the uncertainty, unpredictability, the removal of responsibilities, FOMO and the unknown that I and the rest of the previous Survivor castaways that have been also asked are disturbingly attracted to. So, in answering this question, I have to refer to a simple yet effective rule that has governed how I operate in the real world when opportunities are presented to me.

It goes like this.

  • I have to learn and grow from the experience
  • It needs to excite and challenge (sometimes scare) me
  • It needs to add value to other people

If all three boxes are ticked, I almost always say yes. Looking at this experience all three are in the green (I know what you are saying, how does reality TV add value to other people. Trust me it can) which is why I find myself on a remote island in Fiji and about to go into another epic life journey.

The pessimistic part of me says that unless the Survivor gods are with me and I go one better and take out the title and win Sole Survivor All Stars, finishing anything less might be deemed as a failure. And if the other players are out to get me from day one and a first boot happens (every players nightmare), I might as well stay in Fiji for a few extra months in hiding from embarrassment.

Any professional athlete will quote at some stage in their careers something like this… “ you know Jimmy, to be the best you have to play against the best”. It is a cliché quote that is heard all the time and normally I sigh and roll my eyes when this media trained quote is given. As basic as it sounds, this statement has sparked a curiosity bug in me. How would I go against the best of each season? If I played the same way, would I last, or would I get swallowed up and spat out. All these questions are the unknown and its this uncertainty which is why I finally agreed to say “yes’ to this epic opportunity.

While I finish the journal and my time in solitary confinement comes to an end, the challenge awaits and I feel scared, excited and nervous… all the things one would expect when one is about to put their mind and body to the ultimate test.  And you know what? Jumping towards it and trying to find the answer has given me so many great experiences in life so I am taking the same approach with this challenge also. So, I am off to try and outwit, outplay and outlast against the best of the best. And as JLP loves saying at the start of each challenge… ”Survivors ready?”

I reckon I am 😊