We talked to one of the New Zealand competitors, Emily Bush, a 24-year-old waitress from Valencia, California. Check out what she had to say and then watch the preview video at the bottom.
What made you decide to do a show like “72 Hours”?
Emily Bush: I have to say, my love of adventure was a big part of deciding to do “72 Hours.” I had no idea what I was getting myself in for, but the idea of having a once-in-a-lifetime adventure was amazing. And the chance of winning $100,000 didn’t hurt either.
Before they literally dropped you in the middle of nowhere, what did you know about what was coming?
Emily Bush: I was really, really underprepared. I thought we were going to just have a little fun adventure, maybe some backpacking and hiking. And I was vastly underprepared!
When you got to the site in New Zealand, having no idea what was coming, what was going through your head?
Emily Bush: Literally, I was filled with sheer terror. That moment when I got dropped on the side of a mountain in New Zealand, I thought to myself, “Oh my God. What have I gotten myself into?” There was that moment of terror, where I was like, “Get me out of here immediately!” And then that other moment, where I was like, “I can’t quit now. I want to win that $100,000, so let’s do this thing!”
Once you got over the shock of just being there, what was the best part of your three-day trek through the wilderness?
Emily Bush: The best part about “72 Hours” was just the adventure. I mean, New Zealand is such a beautiful country! Being able to trek with these strangers and then growing closer to them, ending up relying on them, building up this little network and family — it was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience … We never knew what was going to come next. We were all in it for the adventure.
So what was the worst part?
Emily Bush: Sure. I mean, there were a lot of worst parts. Just on a daily basis, “This is the worst thing ever! No, **this is the worst thing ever!” Really, it’s like that old saying. You know, people say “It can’t get much worse!” And it always did. Whether it was running out of food or running out of water. Our shoes and socks became completely soaked in water and mud. Being sunburned or being whacked with leaves or freezing cold or burning hot … Really, it was just the elements, and the adventure really kicked our butts!
The worst part that you’re not going to see on TV is that we were starving. Well, not starving to death, but we were really, really hungry. And at night, it got really, really cold. We had no way of keeping warm really besides the fire. I was the fire-starter, so I was making fires all night like a pro! To go back to like caveman times and having that fire is so amazing. When you have nothing else, it’s incredible how the basics become so important.
What was your biggest strength that helped you make it through?
Emily Bush: Really, what got me through was that attitude of “I’m not quitting, no matter what!” Because there were a lot of no-matter-whats. I just knew, regardless of what my mind told me, what my body was telling me — quitting was not an option. So I think knowing that — all of my teammates and I had the same goal. So it was like all the way in, no one’s quitting, no one’s giving up, no one’s going home. We wanted to win, so that was it.
Would you do something like this again?
Emily Bush: Absolutely. In a heartbeat. I would like to see a reunion cast or an ultimate favorites or something. I would definitely go back and do that again. It was the hardest, craziest, gnarliest thing I’ve ever done … I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat. It’s just an incredible feeling. It’s almost like finishing a marathon or someone that runs for Iron Man. Doing something like that is really a priceless feeling.
What would you say to somebody who wanted to do something like “72 Hours”?
Emily Bush: It’s something that I would tell them not to take lightly. You really have to be incredibly well-prepared for something like this. Even if you think you are prepared, you’re not going to be adequately prepared. There’s really no way of being able to do something like this, unless you’re like Bear Grylls. Normal people? I think that’s what makes the show so amazing. We’re all just average, normal people from towns and cities in America, doing something extraordinary.
“72 Hours” airs Thursday, June 13 at 9pm on TNT.