“I was really looking for a different experience,” she mused.
“As an author, I’m used to sitting at my desk and imagining things in my brain but not kind of playing out difficult situations for myself.
“But when the opportunity came up I thought, you know what, why not? I don’t want to live my life with any regrets, and I thought if I didn’t take this opportunity and just kind of see what I could do, I would really regret that …” she explained.
Wai has managed to fly mostly under the radar across this season of Survivor, sitting comfortably in the Brains tribe at first before moving across to Brawn 2.0 prior to merge.
“I was so out of my comfort zone, there’s no hiding the fact that I had no idea what was going on during day one, but I’m really proud of myself – I’ve made it this far and I’m at merge!” she recounted excitedly.
With this season down to its’ final nine castaways, Wai is in with a chance to win sole survivor. However, even if she doesn’t, Wai seems to be backing a woman to win.
“I could still win!” she laughed.
“I think the women are the people to watch out for, and they’re playing a good game, very cunning, and also developing the relationships to sustain themselves, especially at this critical part of the game,” Wai explained.
Winner or not, the impression this year’s cast has left on Wai is palpable.
“You know, it was just such a talented cohort – you have everyone from an AFL legend to someone like Rachel, who’s a social entrepreneur who does so much purposeful work,” Wai gushed of her fellow castmates.
“Also, people I would have never met in my normal day-to-day, so someone like Dani, who’s a prison officer … I learned so much just talking to her, and she’s just a strong female with such amazing ideas.
“That was really great for me because … these aren’t the type of people I encounter every day and it’s just such a wonderful environment to have different points of view and to be able to share with people outside of that,” she explained.
With such extraordinary people surrounding her, in an environment so far from her daily life, Wai’s biggest struggle on Survivor was her inability to write it all down.
“What I really did miss was having a notebook and pen for some way to capture all my thoughts down. I tried using a stick to write in the dirt – it’s definitely not the same,” she laughed.
“I am so used to processing what’s going on around me, and my observations, and I always have a notebook and pen, so not having that was a challenge for me, to kind of digest what was going on.”
And as for any books she’ll be writing based on her experiences, it seems there are some stories in the works.
“I was really inspired by my journey in Survivor, which is part of the reason why I went on there in the first place,” she said thoughtfully.
“I think that’s definitely going to be something that I’ll incorporate in my future books, and I’m working on some things that I hope might take shape,” she said contemplatively.
“It’s just such a beautiful country up there, and all of that I think will find itself in some way, shape or form in my future work, for sure.”