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A real "Survivor" moment in Kenya. This young male lion actually scratched its back on the tire of the Land Rover just beneath my feet. -- Photo by Pat Bean

  “I don’t want to be thought of as a survivor because you have to continue getting involved in difficult situations to show off that particular gift, and I’m not interested in doing that anymore.” — Carrie Fisher

Travels With Maggie

I’m hooked on the TV series, “Survivor.” I’m not proud of the addiction. It means I can no longer boast that I’ve never watched a soap opera. “Survivor,” with all its melodrama, plotting and backstabbing, is certainly that.

It’s a rare contestant who doesn’t lie, cheat, gossip maliciously and betray. That’s the way to play the game. Being a good guy or gal usually means you get voted out early because the competition knows you’ll most likely be the one to win the million-dollar prize.

I’m a peace-loving person who wants everybody on the planet to get along and respect each other. More than once I’ve gotten up on a soapbox to spread this message. Yet Survivor nights find me watching a group of rowdy, inconsiderate, half-naked – sometimes even naked although CBS censors the privates — buffoons make war against each other.

Why am I hooked? It’s a question I’ve asked myself. When I do, this old-broad traveler actually comes up with answers. .

No adrenalin moment here, but an elephant coming out of a river at Tarangire National Park in Tanzania looked for awhile like it was going to charge our vehicle. While I didn't pee my pants, I was too afraid to move to take a picture during that "Survivor" moment. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

First there’s the exotic settings, like Australia and Africa, that appeal to my wanderlusted soul. Then there’s the idea of surviving the new and the strange, which on a more sedate scale, my dog, Maggie, and I do every time we head down the road to places we’ve never been or seen before.

“Survivor” is arm-chair travel at its adrenalin best. I find myself living vicariously through the actions of the players, standing in their shoes – or standing shoeless beside them – asking myself what I would do if I were them.

Sitting in front of my motor home’s small TV, or watching the show on my computer when I have no digital or cable connections, I fantasize winning each immunity challenge while still being the good gal who doesn’t lie, cheat or betray. Of course I always win. Such fantasy keeps my brain stimulated – and that’s a good thing. Or so I tell myself.

According to the ratings I have a lot of company. So why do you watch “Survivor?”

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