WGXA Morning Anchor Rick Devens is a contestant on Season 38 of Survivor. Rick will tell his story of being on the show firsthand throughout the season.
MACON, Ga. -- Season 38 of Survivor debuted Wednesday night and I -- Sinclair Broadcast Group morning anchor Rick Devens -- made it through the first Tribal Council.
I’ve been dreaming of being on Survivor since high school. It was an easy dream to have back then. I had no wife, no kids and not a serious job. I applied to be on the show three times -- once when I was single, once when I was married and then again after having my first child, Jack. But I never heard back.
Then I applied a fourth time.
This time I had a wife, two kids, two dogs, two cats and apparently that special something that producers were looking for! I made it through a grueling audition/interview process and finally got word that I was selected for Season 38.
Now, I had to face the facts that I was actually leaving. Suddenly living my dream turned into the reality of leaving my family for seven weeks. Whether I am first out or the big winner, the adventure is seven weeks in Fiji with no contact to the outside world.
That means no checking on my 1-year-old and no reassuring my 4-year-old. I also couldn’t make sure my wife is OK or get word on my 12-year-old dogs.
I was going on a show to try and win $1 million. I needed to train. I needed to work on puzzles and balancing. But I’m a husband and dad first. I needed to make sure bills would be paid.
Imagine leaving behind everything for seven weeks!
Luckily, we have friends and family that are always ready to step up. But how do you let them know you need help when you can’t tell them where you’re going?
My wife Becca and I came up with a story: My friend from college was filming a documentary about hiking the Appalachian Trail. He wanted me to be in it. We told people it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance and I was going -- even though it meant I’d be out of touch for seven weeks.
Once the excuse was laid, we got the support we needed. I knew at this point that everyone would have their basic needs met. Now it was time to worry about my kids.
Juliet was so young that I was not very worried. She may miss me, but truthfully, she would not know I was gone.
My son Jack was the big concern. He would notice I was gone, but he was too young to understand why. Becca and I spoke to him about it and decided the best approach was to stay casual and not build it up too much. We told him Daddy was going away for work, but Daddy’s always come back.
I filmed dozens of videos for Jack and Juliet to watch while I was gone. Becca and I enjoyed one last (very large) meal. The next day we dropped off the kids at school. Big hugs and kisses. Then it was off to the airport. Becca walked me to security and tried to hold back tears as we kissed goodbye.
I boarded the plane to Los Angeles -- next stop Fiji, and the adventure of a lifetime.