It’s no secret that Survivor takes its toll on the castaways, both mentally and physically. But in a recent interview, the show’s youngest contestant ever revealed just how hard it was to return to everyday life and how long it took him to recover from being on the show.
Will Wahl Said It Took Him a Year and a Half to Fully Recover
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Will Wahl of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X talked about how crazy it was to go from being on the show to coming home and going to prom. If you’ll recall, Wahl was a high school student who had turned 18 already when he filmed his season in the spring of 2016. He missed several months of school and returned just in time for prom and graduation, which he said was a mind-blowing juxtaposition.
“Oh, let me tell you, it was a trip! One day I’m starving on an island with cameras shoved in my face, and the next… I’m at senior prom taking pictures and pretending like everything was normal. But it wasn’t normal, not at all,” said Wahl. “I was practically crawling out of my skin for months upon my return. At one point I wanted to defer my college acceptance, grab a plane ticket, and run away. I didn’t know where, but I just had to travel.”
He also said that the best way he could describe it is to say that returning home felt like he was in a dream.
“My family, my friends, my teachers, none of them felt real to me. I was honestly expecting to wake up in a bamboo shelter to the smell of the ocean and a campfire. It took me several weeks to realize that wasn’t going to happen. And then it probably took me about a year and a half before I was fully myself again.”
But he doesn’t regret going on the show at all. In fact, he said he would have agreed to return to the show immediately after he got voted off if they had asked.
“I would have said yes if they asked me 20 minutes after I got voted off the last time. But now I feel that I am in the best physical, mental, and emotional state in my life. If I ever got the opportunity to go back, I know I can pull out the ‘W’ this time,” said Wahl.
Even if He Played Now, He’d Still Be One of the Youngest Players
Despite having played almost five years ago, Wahl was so young that if he went back on soon, he’d still be one of the youngest contestants. Since his time on the show, however, he has graduated from college, spent a summer living overseas and is now in law school.
“Over the past couple of years, I attended and graduated from The Ohio State University (go Bucks!). I lived in Sydney, Australia over one summer and had the chance to travel up and down the Eastern Australian Coast. And before quarantine, I had my dream internship working in state government in Ohio. I even got an Alaskan Klee Kai puppy! But it all comes full circle as I find myself surviving a whole new challenge, my first year of law school at Wake Forest University. And, so far, it has been just as rewarding and memorable as my time on Survivor,” said Wahl.
If you’re wondering when Survivor will return, there is talk about the production team filming three seasons this spring so that they can air one in the summer of 2021, one in the fall, and then one in the spring of 2022, but there is no word yet on if they can make that happen. Probst has said they are exploring options outside of Fiji, which is where the show has filmed since season 33, but there is no official word yet on when production will start back up.