I'm so excited to reunite with Blair, Jelani, Laura, and Tyler in LA this week to watch our Amsterdam episode together! Don't forget to race with us and tune into CBS on Friday at 8pm.
The sheer possibility of traveling to AFRICA was one of the reasons I wanted to be on The Amazing Race. Strip away the million dollars and the cameras and TAR becomes the greatest opportunity for twenty-two lucky souls to connect, learn, and explore the farthest of faraway places. Namibia was one of those dream travel destinations that I never thought could become a reality-unless you go on a reality show! The landscape is a flurry of endless golden brushstrokes mixed with splatters of green and silhouettes of wild and exotic animals.
We love the people of Namibia! We went into a convenience store trying to figure out how to get to the bookstore. The sales clerk didn't know the directions so she rallied help from her co-workers and customers and got the entire store involved in getting us to our destination. We are also forever indebted to the gas station attendant who patched up our tire. Although we didn't have much money with us, Jelani made sure to give him a big tip, one that he initially wouldn't accept. Namibians embody the true measure of kindness as they're willing to go out of their way to give a helping hand to strangers.
Jelani Roy rocking a pink banana Tupac style was one badass moment! Another badass moment was when I got splinters in my left butt cheek. Literally, I had a bad ass. They were in there pretty deep as no amount of picking seemed to work so Hayley came to the rescue. We retreated to my tent where she worked her nurse magic and plucked them out one by one while our boys stood outside madly speculating what was happening inside the tent.
I'm not even going to mention the U-Turn because it made no difference. We had the Express Pass, had to use it by the eighth leg, and had enough of a lead over Aly and Steve that the possibility of elimination was quite slim. Honestly, none of us let the U-Turn drama get to us. We were in Africa and we were going to savor every single moment!
All of my favorite Africa moments took place off-camera so I'm super excited to relive, recount, and share them with you! We were in Namibia on Thanksgiving which made being away from home and family extra difficult so the production team treated us to an amazing Thanksgiving feast! They set up a huge tent filled with trays of meat, traditional fixings like mashed potatoes, veggies, and the most amazing apple cobbler. The crew and the cast all came together for dinner and we took a moment to give thanks before everyone dug deep into their plates. We kept going back for seconds and thirds as everything was absolutely delicious and we were famished from racing in the dry Africa heat. Spending Thanksgiving in a gigantic tent in the middle of the Namibian desert with the cast of The Amazing Race was simply epic.
Camping in the desert and sleeping in tents was one of my favorite race moments. On our first night, I vividly remember heading back into my tent while a huge bonfire burned outside with Blair, Jelani, and Tyler huddled around it chatting, laughing, and living in bromance. I didn't want to kill the moment so I quickly said good night and went into my tent to write in my diary. The tent was pitch black illuminated only by Hayley's flashlight. Holding it with one hand and my pen in the other, I began to vigorously write down everything that had happened that day. I scribbled for pages and pages hunched over in my small tent while wrapped tightly in my sleeping bag. Finally, I took a break, opened the top flap of the tent, and looked up into the sky. Dark but filled with stars that somehow looked much larger than ever before, the sky flashed brightly with a deep twinkle that looked like a smile. In the distance, crickets and critters melodiously but quietly chirped in serenity. In that moment, I felt like I was the luckiest person in the world. And for the first time since leaving home, I started to cry.