Trent has asked me several times what I think the producers of Naked & Afraid see in him and why they invite him back for more challenges. I told him he is the classic “hero’s journey”. According to Google, the Hero’s Journey is a classic story structure that’s shared by stories worldwide. Coined by academic Joseph Campbell in 1949, it refers to a wide-ranging category of tales in which a character ventures out to get what they need, faces conflict, and ultimately triumphs over adversity. Think about all your favorite movies, books or Netflix series. The main character, quickly adored because of their character of honor and integrity, sets out on a journey of sorts to triumph over something. They face an obstacle or an adversary, most times they also have to face a shadow side of themselves on this journey. Then in the end, they triumph and …. get the girl. Ok, I made that last part up but you get the idea. Some famous examples of the Hero’s Journey are The Lion KIng, The Matrix, The Hunger Games, Men in Black and Star Wars, just to name a few.
So in Trent’s first adventure in Belize, his partner taps out on day 3 and he has to survive on his own for the remaining time. What you may not know is that Trent, in his personal life has had a few “partners” …. Aka…. “ wives” tap out on him too. I glimpsed a huge insight to his hero’s journey for his first adventure when he asked me, “Why do all women leave me?” I’m sure on Day 3 this was a shadow thought that could have taken him down if he had allowed his mental game to be weak. He even told me that he felt himself drop into a depression that day and everything that he had planned to do out there with a partner was lost. Because she had left early that morning he had the entire day to wallow in his self pity. He told me the monkey chatter in his head was getting the best of him that day. Then the next morning, he stepped into his day with new resolve. He rallied his mental fortitude and pushed forward with his challenge being one of the first survivalists to set a record at that time to finish the 21 days with that many days on his own.
In Trent’s second adventure in Africa, he contracted malaria. The local professional hunters that were hired to protect the production team told Trent they thought he had probably had the disease for three weeks when the medics finally tested him for it. This life threatening disease would have taken many people down but not Trent. His warrior spirit led to another Hero’s journey story of pushing through and finishing the 40 day challenge with his team. Even at the end through all the suffering of the disease, the struggle with limited food, wounded bare feet and so much more I can’t even imagine….. His thoughts were of his team. He rallied his remaining team mates and they shot arrows into the landscape of Africa in dedication to those teammates that were not able to make it to the finish in person but had been there in the hearts and souls of the finishing team. His final arrow was for himself. Instead of shooting it into Africa, he broke the arrow, symbolically showing that malaria would not take him out of the challenge. Once again he had overcome an incredible physical obstacle but also a very mental/emotional one as well. I don’t know about you but if a medic said I had malaria, I’d be all…. “Peace out, get me to a freaking hospital my peeps!” But not Trent, his hero’s journey brought him to victory for a 40 day hunting trip in Africa like no other, where he bonded with friends as family that will last his lifetime.
And so my love, that is why I think Naked & Afraid and all your fans love and adore you. Your courage is loud. It’s not an in your face courage. Your courage doesn’t yell and scream. It doesn’t beat on its chest and proclaim just how courageous you are. It is a quiet resolve to get up and do one more day….. And then do it again the next day. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to get to walk this adventure called life with such an amazing HERO. Your courage is contagious. I have watched your courage in all different areas of your life and my courage has grown by walking by your side. Cheers to all of us who choose to walk our own Hero’s Journey….. we overcome and triumph over anything that threatens to keep us down. Sometimes we are loud about our victories but more often our quiet triumphs are never known to those around us.