A Year Ago: Restarting The Amazing Race

It’s bizarre to think, this exact moment a year ago we were in the midst of shooting our restart of The Amazing Race. I’m feeling all sorts of nostalgia because there’s a new season airing (I’m obsessed with all the teams) and it inspired me to dig through my Race journals for the first time. 

First, most casual viewers of the show may not realize a few things:

  1. Contestants do not have access to phones or technology. We even packed our own battery operated alarm clock because the radios are taken out of the hotel rooms.
  2. Between legs of the race, you’re pretty much confined to your hotel room. This is part Covid precaution and part security measures. 

Penn and I spent time trying to translate the news on the hotel TV because most places, understandably, had no English speaking content. We’d do hotel room workouts, invent games, and quiz each other on facts of the previous legs to be prepared for future tasks. Then, I spent a lot of time journaling. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wanted to be able to remember the little details that emerged from some really big life moments. 

Opening The Journal

Once we crossed the finished line, we did interviews with the producers then raced to the airport. We took a red eye flight home so we could be there when our kids woke up. 

I put my journal in my nightside table along with a clue from the last leg and I shut the drawer. We couldn’t tell anyone, including our kids, the results of the race so we just sort of … moved on. Life got busy, the show aired, then we went back to our normal routine. 

Opening the journal brought back every wave of anxiety from the moments before we would rip open the first clue of the day, the feeling of relief after you survive another leg, and the moment in Portugal when I had such an intense panic attack that I told the producers I wanted out of the race. 

Special Memories

The pages of this journal were a lot. I now have a morning journaling practice that is more like a brain dump of illegible scribbles. That’s been incredibly therapeutic. Honestly, one of the reasons it’s helped is because I’m never really tempted to relive those tough moments. 

I am, however, glad I wrote the details of those days. 

  • The day we were so bored in the hotel in Switzerland we gathered different brands of bottled water and had a blind taste test. 
  • The time Ryan and Dusty were throwing sandwiches at each other on the airplane (you had to be there). 
  • The “cawcaw” bird call we’d make out of out hotel room window to get other teams to lean out and chat (sorry to any producers reading this). 

There were a thousand little moments that made the experience so special and most you didn’t see on TV. Penn and I have a tradition to fill time on the journey home after a trip: We make a list of our favorite memories or things we learned along the way. We’ve done this our entire relationship and this trip was no different. 

Inside Look 

I’m sharing our lists here. As you can see, I went really deep with mine. Penn? Not so much.

We wrote these lists about an hour before racing our very last leg of the race.

Things I learned:

  1. Penn is good at navigating and has an eye for detail when under pressure. 
  2. “Don’t wait until you’re ready, just jump.” (This was the advice given to me by the kind man getting me into the harness for my big bungee jump). 
  3. Our instincts are good.
  4. The stress will be there – you might as well enjoy the process.
  5. I am very capable and quite a badass.
  6. I may not be physically fastest but I can keep going when others don’t/won’t.
  7. I picked the right person in life as a partner.
  8. I love the life I have created so much that I crave it above all else.
  9. I’ve jumped the highest bungee, seen the Alps, lakes overlooking Italy, rivers in France but my favorite place is where my family is.
  10. Packing light is an art.
  11. Anxiety is real and should be honored. But so is the push beyond my comfort zone. None of these experiences are happening without bravery and belief. I will always have to do this dance with my anxiety and the desire to do more. (I honestly don’t know what that last part means … I’m just transcribing the scribbles from my past self.)

It’s been so much fun learning about the teams for season 34 of The Amazing Race. It airs on Wednesdays at 10pm EST on CBS. 

Check it out and let me know what you think.