I'm a 25 year old student from British Columbia, Canada. I'm currently studying for an undergraduate degree in Communication, and work as a web designer, deejay, and writer in my spare time.

Previous Travels

I've gone on a number of backpacking adventures in the past few years. In 2000 I traveled around Europe and took poor photos of various European monuments (this is before I had a digital camera, mind you). In 2001 - 2002, I backpacked around Australia, working various jobs like junk-mail filing and banana picking. Thankfully, I spent more time hiking in the Grampians National Park and learning how to say "G'day" than I did in dead-end employment. A two-week stopover in Fiji helped to enrich the experience as well.

More recently I hopped a Greyhound bus with a friend and traveled across Canada (watch video) over two months. I think I learned more about Canadian history in those 8 weeks than I ever did in Grade 10 social studies. And finally in summer 2004, I took a roadtrip down to Yosemite National Park and back up the wonderful coast of California, Oregon and Washington.

Survivor is and all, but we can't forget about the rest of the world's problems. When you get a moment, please visit the following organizations:

Amnesty International
Oxfam
Made Trade Fair
Control Arms
Make Poverty History
Grass Root Soccer

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With the exception of educational television, Survivor is pretty much the best thing out there. You take a bunch of people, throw them in some remote location, then pit them against the elements, each other, and Jeff Probst -- and dangle at the end a million dollar prize. Regular television just can't compete with that. But make no mistake, Surivivor is far from being "reality".

The show is masterful at creating characters of contestants, based on their interviews, actions, and alliances. (Look at the two ways Rupert was portrayed in Survivor 7 and Survivor All-Stars. One was a big-hearted Goliath, the other was a grumbly bear). The editors frame each episode around a few different plot developments, and cut it all to a tribal soundtrack that evokes sympathy, excitement, and mystery.

It's not about being famous.

The fact that some contestants can stretch their 15 minutes into semi-careers is a feat in itself. If I was to appear on the show, that would definitely not be my aim. That's not to say that I wouldn't appear on Oprah if she asked, but I'm not deluded enough to think that any sort of celebrity-status exists beyond the confines of the show.

It's not about the money.

Hey, money is great and all, but if you're really on Survivor because you have some bills to pay then you're probably missing the point. Perhaps this is the Gabriel in me talking (only without the giant blonde afro), but I wouldn't go on the show simply to win a million dollars. The experience of the game would be without price to me. But make no mistake, I'd play just as hard as anyone else to get to that #1 spot.

It's not about meeting Jeff Probst.

I mean, I'm sure Jeff is a great guy and all. And he does have the greatest job in the world -- hosting a show that takes him to the most exotic locales, while watching a group of 16 people wittle themselves down to sole survivor? Now THAT would be fun. What's with the whole hero thing though? Slashing his way through the jungle, only to catch a helicopter and parachute over Los Angeles? That's pure cheese if I've ever seen it. Good cheese though.

It's about the experience.

What's 39 days out of a lifetime? No matter if you're starving, cold, bug-bitten and just plain miserable, the sacrifice is nothing compared to what you gain.

You may ask yourself, why don't you just go live on an island somewhere? Why do you need Survivor?

Quite true. I could just go live in the mountains and eat dirt, or get abondoned on some desert isle if I really wanted to live out a true survivor fantasy. Yet there's just something about competing with others that makes it that much more interesting. Who can resist the opportunity to tackle a 30 foot vertical maze, or navigate a tropical obstacle course? And besides, humans need companionship, otherwise they'd end up naming and talking to a shipwrecked volleyball named "Wilson".

It takes plenty of skills to be a good survivor, though not necessarily the skills of survival. Come to think of it, I can't remember any Survivor contestant that actually knew how to make a shelter without screwing up once or twice, or start a fire without Jeff Probst's flint. And there has yet to be a tribe that tamed a resident monkey population to do their bidding. What's the deal with that?

I fulfill the eligibility requirements.

The CBS Survivor website says that potential contestants need to have the following traits:

  • Strong-willed
  • Outgoing
  • Adventurous
  • Physically and mentally adept
  • Adaptable to new environments
  • Interesting lifestyles, backgrounds and personalities

I think I possess all of these qualites. I consider myself strong-willed in that I don't let people push me around. I'm outgoing and adventurous, as any friend of mine would profess. And my backpacking experience shows that I'm a traveler at heart and eager to explore new cultures. I'm physically and mentally adept, because I score fairly high on my exams, read quite a bit, and promise not to be the guy that you know would go all weird if put on an island and starved half to death. (You other Survivor contestants know who you are).

I'm adaptable to new environments because I can walk, swim and climb over objects. And whoever said spending copius amounts of time on the computer wasn't an interesting lifestyle doesn't know what they're missing. I also take martial arts, so if I wasn't scheming and trying to make alliances, I would be on the beach meditating or showing the other Survivors six ways to break an ankle.

As my one personal item, I'd take along a Beaver.

Just kidding. Why would I want to pander to Canadian stereotypes about dogsledding, and beavers? It's time we moved past that. Instead, for my one personal item, I'd bring a toque.

I've watched so much Survivor, I'd know how to actually play the game.

As a guy who's watched a lot of Survivor, you can only take so much before you're fed up with wondering why contestants keep making the exact same mistakes every season. Think you're the swing vote and untouchable? Well, you're not. Off the island. Think you're controlling the game and your alliance is rock solid? Sorry. Off the island. I'm sure other people would appreciate having someone they can trust at least not to do the silly stuff that any Survivor fan would know not to do.

I'm a good listener.

Most people underestimate the value of listening. If they didn't, they wouldn't spend so much time talking. It's far better to assess a situation by listening to all sides and making the best decision you can, rather than loud-mouthing your way around camp and demanding that things should be done your way. Bryan, the used car salesman, would know exactly what I'm talking about. He barely said a word the entire game, except to describe the other contestants as chess pieces on his own tropical board. As much as he turned out to be "selling lemons" to the contestants that trusted him, he still ran the show.

I can sing the Survivor theme song.

Hey, some people may think they can sound like a chorus of drums, wind pipes, and flutes, but they'd be wrong. Click here to listen to myself recreating the Survivor theme song in all its glory.

I can imitate other Survivors.

Rudy

"The tribe built their shelter in a dry riverbed, then it got washed away. I blame that on their dumbness."

Colby

"Take it from Colby, when you use a Schick razor, you'll get the closest shave EVER. Boy, I'm glad to be a Texan."

Jerri

"Seriously, that Kel guy had beef jerky!"

Boston Rob

"It's like, I'm the Godfather out here and people do what I tell them. What's that Amber? Coming dear!"


I would use my 15 minutes of fame to pose naked in a magazine.

Actually I'm not sure if I would, depends on how much they offered me.

And most importantly, I would never give up.

Maybe it was watching body-builder Ostin that made me decide enough is enough. That I had to be on Survivor. On his season, Ostin proclaimed that, "My body is a temple and when I can't take care of the temple, then that's it. I'm out," and decided to quit the game. Who does that? Jeff Probst barely contained his contempt for Ostin when he quit, as did many other people that have tried to get on Survivor. Why would someone who hates the outdoors (and is scared of pelicans) want to go on a game called Survivor?

And so I decided that if I was to be on the show, I would never even think of giving up. I don't care if I haven't eaten in two weeks. I don't care if I'm devoured alive by bugs and drenched by rain. I don't even care if Jeff taunts my tribe with chocolate cake and we lose the challenge.

I would watch every sunset that breaks the day. I would marvel at the sunlight on the water, and the vibrance of the leaves on the trees. But I can't promise I wouldn't use a coconut as a telephone, as there's just some things that have to be done while stranded on a desert island.

And so there's only one small detail preventing me from being on Survivor -- I'm not an American citizen.

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