In the summer of 2013, I applied to be a contestant on Samsung’s SOS Island survival competition and was chosen out of over 11,500 entries to travel to Puerto Rico and compete for the grand prize… my own private island.
And so I found myself the only person to have visited every country in the world without flying, flat broke, living with my parents (at the grand old age of 34, that’s how cool I am!) and slowly losing the will to travel, inspire and entertain… instead I contemplated giving up and becoming a teacher, because you know, money.
The Lone and Level Sands
I also received some terrible news from my friend Kendra in Egypt. A few days ago she posted a news article on her Facebook feed about a Frenchman who had been arrested in Cairo for breaking curfew. He was beaten to death in the jail cell by his fellow inmates. We worked out today that the victim was Eric, the crazy Frenchman we went out drinking with back in January 2010.
The Big Smoke
Yesterday was a long day and didn’t end until around 2am. Today started at 5am as I was booked on the 6am Megabus down to London… I have a plane to catch!!!
New York, New York
Arriving at JFK around 8pm local time, I was greeted at the airport, for the first time in my life, by a guy holding a sign with my name on it. Well, almost – he’d missed the second ‘h’ in Hughes. But it’s the thought that counts. Yes indeedy, your humble narrator here got Lincoln’d all the way to Manhattan, courtesy of CBS.
The High Life
I walked through Greenwich Village, imbibing the sights and sounds and all the crap that travel memoirists are supposed to bang on about. New York is pretty much the place it is in all the movies and needs little in the way of introduction. Everyone you meet is from another corner of the world, which is fun for me – I can say I’ve been to that particular corner and it was great!
Although one day I’ll meet somebody from Greenland or Pitcairn Island and the wheels will come off that particular parade.
Graham’s Ghostbusters Tour of New York
Monday 23rd September 2013 – Part 1 Today I paid homage to the most New York of all New York
Monday 23rd September 2013 – Part 2 RANT ALERT!! Today involved a LOT of scooting around on the New York
I Was On CBS This Morning This Morning
With consummate (freakish?) professionalism, I awoke 30 seconds before my alarm went off at 6.30am. After a quick shower and change of clothes, I made my blood sacrifices to Bacchus, jumped in the waiting limo and sped off towards the CBS Broadcast Centre. I was met at the door and taken up to the newsfloor. Now this is more like it! A nice big studio for me to run about. The warehouse-y interiors looked a bit like my old office in Liverpool. I was a bit disappointed to discover that the brickwork wasn’t real, but this is television, folks! IT’S ALL MADE OF MAGIC.
SOS Island | Help make me a winner!!!
Saturday 28th September 2013 So that’s New York out of the way, time to get ready for the next thing:
SOS Island | Introductions
Sunday was spent getting to know the other contestants – Murad from Jordan, Veronica from Italy, Rosa from Texas, Brittany from LA, Robin from Sweden, Chris from LA, Kalyn from Canada, Liron from Israel, Tom from Perth, Alex from Moscow, Tan from Sydney, Natalie from Brighton, Jo from South Africa, Karen from Boston and the aforementioned Mert from Istanbul.
SOS Island Boot Camp Day 1: SHELTER
Monday 30th September 2013 Day One started a bit like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCjLS4lLBWM Then this happened: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS8yaHtl_Us And then we went
SOS Island Boot Camp Day 2: WATER
Tuesday 1st October 2013 So then. We built a decent shelter yesterday but Les thought it was too big. But
SOS Island Boot Camp Day 3: FIRE
Wednesday 3rd October 2013 Sort of getting into the hang of things now, although everything is exhausting and hot and
SOS Island Boot Camp Day 4: FOOD
Thursday 4th October 2013 With shelter, water and fire done, today’s task was obviously going to be FOOD!! I shot
SOS Island Boot Camp Day 5: D-DAY
Friday 5th October 2013 Of the 16 people to do boot camp, only 8 will make it to SOS Island
SOS Island | San Juan
Saturday 6th – Sunday 7th October 2013 Saturday was the last day we got to spend with the eight contestants
SOS Island | Day 1 | Cast Away
Monday 7th October 2013 Episode 1 – Shelter Shock Behind-The-Scenes Diary My last night in the air-conditioned hotel, I went
SOS Island | Day 2 | The Others
Tuesday 8th October 2013 Episode 2 – Purification Station Behind-The-Scenes Diary Our first night on the island. I felt sorry
SOS Island | Day 3 | The Food Drop
Wednesday 9th October 2013 Episode 3 – Fire Starter Behind-The-Scenes Diary After spending all of Tuesday filming challenges, everybody was
SOS Island | Day 4 | Colonel Blimp
Thursday 10th October 2013 Episode 4 – Survival of the Smartest Behind-The-Scenes Diary Good morning! Yesterday we got some decent
SOS Island | Day 5 | Pizza Express!
Friday 11th October 2013 Episode 5 – Lost and Found Behind-The-Scenes Diary So the crew have sussed out that we’ve
SOS Island | Days 6 & 7 | The Hatch
Saturday 12th – Sunday 13th October 2013 Episode 6 – Food Forager Episode 7 – Washed Up! Behind-The-Scenes Diary When
SOS Island | Days 8 & 9 | Ben Gunn’s Cheese
Monday 14th – Tuesday 15th October 2013 Episode 8 – Down With The Ship Episode 9 – Fish Food Behind-The-Scenes
SOS Island | Day 10 | Lord of the Flies
Wednesday 16th October 2013 Episode 10 – Gift From Above Behind-The-Scenes Diary I’m loving this island! Slept on my hammock
SOS Island | Day 11 | Last Night
Thursday 17th October 2013 Episode 11 – S.O.S. Behind-The-Scenes Diary We were originally supposed to leave the island on Saturday,
SOS Island | Day 12 | Exodus
Friday 18th October 2013 Episode 12 – Bon Voyage! Behind-The-Scenes Diary Our final day of SOS Island!!! Here’s a quick
SOS Island | The Wrap Party
Behind-The-Scenes Diary Saturday 19th October 2013 For our last evening in Puerto Rico, I fancied heading out to see Fajardo’s
SOS Island | ¡Adiós Amigos!
Sunday 20th October 2013 I awoke back in the Fajardo Inn with little to no recollection of how I got
SOS Island | Choose Hughes!
Tuesday 26th November 2013 So this is it. Crunch time. This week I should find out if… a) AJ Hackett
SOS Island | And The Winner Is…
Monday 9th – Sunday 15th December 2013 Prev 1of11 Next Wow. So let’s start at the beginning, shall we? On