10 friends you lose when you start traveling

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1. The type that genuinely does not give AF

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you’re telling them something super exciting that happened to you, and their response is a fake smile and change of subject? I have, a lot, and it’s awkward and annoying AF.

I can understand if some people are genuinely just not interested in traveling, and I’m ok with that, we can talk about cheese and unicorns for all I care. But when your “good friend” has no idea what the hell you even do for a living, it’s time to wake up and realize that 0 shits are given.

The more I travel, the more people I meet who are genuinely interested in my life, and in turn, that makes me realize that certain people genuinely are not.

2. The type that only wants to talk about themselves

Although there’s a good chance I’ve just returned from scaling a mountain or hiking through the jungle to a hidden rainforest, the chance that I’ll just start telling someone about it without them asking is pretty slim. That’s because traveling has taught me to be a listener, and to learn about other people before I go just bombarding them with stories about my life.

That may seem a little contradictory since if I’m listening, obviously the other person is talking, but the type of friend I’m talking about here is the one who is literally just talking at you about themselves instead of having a conversation with you.

3. The type that only knows how to gossip

I’ve read enough negative comments, emails, and articles about myself to know how shitty it feels to be gossiped about. I also give 0 shits because I think my traveling life is awesome, and I know that people who have nothing better to do than say negative things about other people usually have underlying issues, or nothing eventful in their own lives to talk about.

Personally, I just don’t really want to hear about how “F*cked up it is that Kelly went out and raged all night then came home to find Billy in bed with a guy.” That’s none of my business, nor do I want it to be, and I think it’s weird that you (and by ‘you’ I mean ‘gossiping friend’) find excitement in blabbing about other people’s problems.

Traveling has expanded my mind to the size of a freaking hot air balloon, and has made me grasp the concept that negativity sucks, and that people who only know how to constantly talk badly about other people are not the type of people I want to be around.

4. The bragging and jealous type

Despite how many times I ask NOT to be included in a group text, I have one “friend” who will always still add me in so that I’m forced to read about the “epic party” she’s invited to, or the “insane night” she had. This person also knows that I don’t go out, don’t give care about parties, and that there’s a good chance I’m out of the country where I get charged per incoming text.

I put “bragging and jealous” as one category because I know the reason why she always name drops and brags is because she’s always jealous of what other people are doing. Jealousy is the worst quality you can have, because all it leads to is negative thoughts, feelings, and actions. That being said, I had to block her number just so she couldn’t loop me into a group text (that I can’t “opt out” of because there’s always one person without an iPhone).

5. The unsupportive type

Traveling requires a lot of courage, effort, and risk-taking. That sort of behavior is understandable coming from a random person who is pissed that they aren’t traveling too, but when it comes from a friend, it just plain sucks.

From, “Well how are you even going to afford that?” to “Well when are you going to get like, a real job?” I’ve heard so many hurtful and unsupportive things from friends that really made me question if they were even friends at all.

6. The type that is always “busy”

Although I’m out of the country a lot, there’s not many times when I’m home that I’ll turn down making plans with a friend, even if I already have existing plans that I’d need to work around. When I’m home, I make a huge effort to see my friends as much as possible since I know I don’t have long in town, which is why it’s annoying AF when certain friends always seem to be “too busy.”

I understand work, I understand being locked down in a relationship (well, not really), but I don’t understand how I am capable of flexing my schedule around to always make plans, and some people just always have an excuse…like they “need to do laundry”, or they “have a dinner.”

That’s nice. I have a flight to another country and won’t be back for a month, but maybe you won’t be so busy when I get back. I usually don’t even bother making plans with people who are always “busy”; traveling has made me learn that I should spend my time wisely, and with friends who actually care about spending time with me.

7. The type that has a time limit

I won’t deny that people have a shitty ass attention span these days, but it almost seems like with certain people, if you’re gone for too long, they just completely forget you exist. These are usually the “party” friends, the ones who only hit you up when they want to go out or get an invite to an event.

If you aren’t there to be their wingman or help them out, they’ll find someone who is and forget you exist. Since I travel for weeks at a time, it’s VERY easy to see who these types of friends are.

8. The convenient type

Despite where I am in the world, I will always respond to a friend in need, or do what I can to help them. But unfortunately, what I’ve come to realize is that when there’s something I need, some friends always seem to disappear or be unavailable.

Traveling made me into a person who will always help someone else no matter how inconvenient it is for me, but it also made it very easy to see the friends who only do things when it’s convenient for them. And those people are just not convenient to have in my life anymore.

9. The untrustworthy type

If you can’t trust a friend, then clearly they’re not really your friend. I always fail at this because I’m a sucker who tries to always have faith in people, but there are definitely a few people who have screwed me over one too many times.

I actually had a “friend” who got so irritated by an in-depth travel conversation I was having with a random guy at a bar that she told him I’d “never be interested in him if he couldn’t afford to take me traveling” when I got up to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately her shallow assumption of his salary, and blatant display of awful friendship, just led him to call her out in front of me. That was fun.

10. The all-around toxic type

Any friend, acquaintance, or colleague that adds more stress to your life than happiness is a toxic person who you probably should run far away from. I experience a lot of stress from traveling, so to be around someone who is constantly negative just isn’t worth having in my life.

Friends should add to your life, just like traveling does, and if they aren’t, then they are only going to take away from it, and seriously, you don’t have any precious time to waste.

3. Leveling up

Once you have gotten your “Golden Owl”, your work is not done yet! The ultimate goal for serious users on Duolingo is to hit level 25 in your language.

This is the highest level possible and takes a LOT of work to get there.

The level is determined by the amount of XP that you have in that language. Duolingo used to show your levels on your profile, but now only shows the amount of XP you have.

“Leveling Up” in Duolingo is a huge motivating factor for me (and many learners) so that is why the next section is one of my favorites!

Head to this post for a more in-depth look at levels and what you can use them for!

So you're lost in the wilderness – these tips could save your life

‘All things being equal, you should be hiking at daybreak.’ Photograph: Ed Freeman/Getty Images

‘All things being equal, you should be hiking at daybreak.’ Photograph: Ed Freeman/Getty Images

Celebrated adventure writer Mark Jenkins on what it takes to survive if ever you find yourself lost in the wild – and it all starts with a map and compass

Last modified on Tue 26 Jul 2016 16.33 BST

T he recent discovery of the body of Geraldine Largay, a 66-year-old backpacker who got lost on the Appalachian Trail in Maine and survived 26 days before succumbing to exposure and starvation, marks the beginning of another summer season of hikers losing their way and sometimes paying for it with their lives.

You might think that with the remarkable popularity of TV survival shows, everyone would already know all they need to know to live through getting lost. Alas, the eternal quest for higher ratings means these shows foolishly focus on the bizarre, the ridiculous and the idiotic. Why would you spend days constructing a laughable structure that can’t even keep out the rain? What happened to the regular old raincoat?

I once spent a week with a survivalist for a story. He showed me how to build a bow-and-drill – an ancient Native American device – to light a fire. Really? What’s wrong with a lighter? On another assignment, a survivalist taught me what plants were edible and how to skin a rabbit. C’mon. What hiker doesn’t have a handful of energy bars in their backpack?

People who get lost and die in the wilderness often have all they need in their backpack to survive. These items are commonly called the “10 essentials”: pocketknife, matches/lighter, map and compass, headlamp, sunglasses/sunscreen, raincoat, extra clothes, food, water (and purification), first aid kit (with whistle).

To this list, you can also add new tech essentials: a GPS tracking device, a GPS app for your cellphone, a personal locator beacon or a satellite phone. Most of these require considerable field time practice before taking them into the woods.

Two years ago, I hiked up the highest mountain in Utah, Kings Peak, and was astonished to find a pack of Boy Scouts scrambling to the summit. They were in basketball shorts, T-shirts and sneakers. The scout master was an overwhelmed Mormon dad who offered that every fourth or fifth kid had a pack with water and food. So much for the scout’s motto: be prepared.

‘Take pictures, lots of them.’ Here, the Waiohine Pinnacles in the Tararua Mountains and Forest Park, New Zealand. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

Not getting lost starts long before getting to the trailhead. You should not only have the 10 essentials with you, but know how to use them.

Being able to “read” contours on a map – what is a mountain, what is a valley, contour lines point upstream crossing creeks and point downhill crossing ridges – and recognize these features in the landscape around you is perhaps the most valuable skill, and not surprisingly, the biggest deficit among novice hikers (I once did an informal survey of hikers in Rocky Mountain national park and found that less than 50% actually knew how to use a map and compass).

Before heading out, leave a detailed description of where you’re going and when you expect to be back with a close friend or relative. This will require you to take a close look at your map and actually have a plan.

Identify landmarks, potential hazards (stream crossings, snowfields) and distances. Leaving a photocopy of the map with your actual route drawn on it could be invaluable if something untoward happens.

Go ahead and bring your cellphone, fully charged, with emergency contacts already on it – but don’t for a minute think your phone will save you if you screw up. Check the point weather forecast for exactly where you’re going. If it’s expected to be raining, snowing or blowing, think twice. Finally, if you can find someone fit and fun, go with a partner.

Get an alpine start. All things being equal, you should be hiking at daybreak. Everything is easier and safer with more time and more sunlight. Besides, in the mountains, afternoon thunderheads are common and dangerous – think lightning and hypothermia. Before leaving the trailhead, hide a spare set of keys somewhere on the vehicle and tell your partner where they are.

On the trail, you should be regularly matching landmarks on the map – peaks, river crossings, signs – with their three-dimensional counterparts in the real world. And keep track of time. Mark on your map how long it takes to climb up to a saddle or through a ravine. Note conditions and incline. On one mini-expedition to New Zealand, I climbed six peaks in seven days. On every peak I documented how long it took to go how far, vertical gain, aspect, snow conditions, wind and precipitation. These details gave me enough information to solo the final peak, Mt Cook, in four hours.

Take pictures, lots of them. You’ll be pleased you did when you get back home, and, if you do get lost, they provide essential information for finding your way back.

Being able to ‘read’ contours on a map and recognize these features in the landscape around you is perhaps the most valuable skill. Photograph: Alamy

Peer behind you regularly to know what the landscape looks like going the other way. If you’re on a faint trail, you might leave tiny reminders of your passing, like a small limb in an unlikely place.

If you think you’ve done everything right and you still end up lost, well, welcome to the club. If you hike a lot, you’ll occasionally get turned around. I’ve been lost in Tibet and in the Sahel outside Timbuktu, in the Himalayas of Bhutan, and in the mountains not 30 miles from my home.

Every putative expert, graphic survival book and lame TV program will tell you that you should not panic. Yeah, right. Unless you get lost and find your way out frequently, being lost will not feel comfortable. You might well begin to panic. The trick is to let your panic pass.

There is a useful acronym for what to do when you’re lost: STOP.

S is to simply stop. Frantically moving faster will only get you more lost. Sit, and breathe from your belly (short quick breaths only increase the symptoms of anxiety – lightheadedness, trembling, confusion). Drink and eat. With any luck, your amygdala (the almond-size flight-or-fight controller in your head) will calm down and your cerebral cortex (responsible for rational thinking) will take over again.

T stands for think. Ask yourself some basic questions. Which direction were you going? What was the last landmark you recognized? How long ago was that? How far have you come since? Hiking on a trail with a pack, most people travel only about two miles per hour. Where was the last time you knew where you were?

O is for observe. Look around you: can you see any landmarks? Can you recognize a craggy mountain top or arcing valley? Try to find what you see around you on the map. Get out your camera, go back through the pictures and do the same thing. Think about time. How long have you been hiking? How do you feel? How long before sunset? What is the weather doing? What is the weather predicted to do? Is there natural shelter nearby? Is there dry fuel for a fire?

P means plan. Don’t move until you have a plan. (If and when you do move, do so methodically and observantly.) If you whistle, might someone hear you? Do you have enough daylight to try to retrace your route? Should you consider building a fire because it is almost dark?

And finally – can you make a call? Can you text? If you do get through, can you tell anyone where you are?

Geraldine Largay sent multiple text messages, none of which went through. Having a cellphone doesn’t, and shouldn’t, mean you’ll be saved. You should first try to save yourself. One of the oft-stated reasons for going into the wilderness is to have the opportunity to be more self-reliant. Getting lost is one of those opportunities.

Except in canyon country, walking downhill, especially in forests and mountains, will often get you out. It won’t be easy, and it will involve considerable bushwhacking, but eventually you’ll hit a trail or old logging road. This is particularly true in the eastern US, where it is essentially impossible to ever be more than 10 miles from a road. (The most remote place in the lower 48 states, near the south-east corner of Yellowstone national park, is still only 23 miles from a road. When I was there, we saw a dozen wolves, two grizzlies, and no humans.) Even if you’re only moving at a crawl, keep going downhill and after, say, 10-20 hours, you’ll reach some form of civilization.

Hiking in New Mexico: access to water will be paramount. Photograph: Prisma Bildagentur AG/Alamy

So let’s say your cellphone has no coverage and you don’t know how to use a map and compass and you didn’t take any pictures and you’re a little panicky – your average lost person. What to do? Or in the immortal lyrics of the Clash, “should I stay or should I go?” Depends.

If you still have lots of daylight, it is often worth trying to retrace your path. Try to locate your footprints, or rocks that moved when you stepped on them – anything that’s a sign of your passing. Leave obvious landmarks (little stone cairns, piles of branches) all along your return path. If you do manage to get back to the trail and know where you are, hightail it out and back to your car. Even if it means moving in the dark – wear your headlamp. The last thing you want is a search and rescue mission to begin – that always puts other lives at risk.

If you don’t hit a trail, and find yourself even more lost and confused, just start heading downhill.

If it’s nearing night, stay. First, get warm. Put on your extra layers. If you’re wearing a cotton T-shirt, you’ll be warmer taking it off and having a synthetic fleece against your skin. Try to find a natural shelter that might afford some protection from wind and rain. Collect fuel and start a small fire, enough to keep you warm but unlikely to get out of hand. Eat your granola bar. If you don’t have any food left, don’t worry about it: the human body can go weeks without food. Food is the least of your concerns. Water, on the other hand, is critical: depending on conditions, humans can live only three to six days without water. But don’t go searching for water in the dark. Sit there, stay warm, and suffer through the night.

One very difficult condition is cold rain. A fire won’t be possible and hypothermia is a life-threatening possibility. If this is the case, zip up your raincoat, attempt to get inside a cave or a makeshift shelter, and jog steadily in place.

In the morning, reassess. If you think you might be able to retrace your steps back to a known location, try it, leaving breadcrumbs along the way. If this is not possible, whistle your ass off, hang all your bright clothes on tree limbs, build an SOS of rocks or branches in a clearing, use a mirror to bounce the sunlight in multiple directions, move to the top of a hill to get cellphone service.

If you do all these things, chances aren’t bad that you’ll be found. But after several days of waiting, don’t let your energy get so low that you can’t make a real effort to get out on your own.

Thousands of hikers get lost every year and manage to find their way out (usually with a great story about narrowly escaping disaster). A few navigational skills and the right equipment are useful, but common sense and equanimity are paramount. The truth is, getting lost doesn’t kill anybody. You don’t die from not knowing where you are – you die from bad decisions.

Casting Secrets, Surprising Rules & Travel Trouble: The Amazing Race Facts That Might Surprise You

Sonja Flemming/CBS

"The world is waiting for you. Good luck. Travel safe. Go!"

The Amazing Race's 32nd season concludes tonight, Dec. 16. The race featured former NFL pros DeAngelo Williams and Gary Barnidge, Olympic hurdlers Kellie Brinkley and LaVonne Idlette, plus a father-son duo, several pairs of siblings and a gay couple.

The 11 teams kicked off the competition at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and continued participating in mental and physical challenges in Trinidad and Tobago, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Brazil and more.

After 19 years, 32 seasons and a record 10 Emmy wins for Outstanding Reality TV Competition Series, this race is still amazing, with almost unparalleled scheduling, filming issues and ambition, having filmed in over 89 countries with a crew of over 70 people on the ground.

Over the years, series co-creators and spouses Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster and fan-favorite host Phil Keoghan have revealed some behind-the-scenes tidbits about show, including the unexpected travel issues competitors face, just how many people work on TAR, and how Keoghan almost ended up hosting another iconic reality TV competition series:

Origin Story: Most people have a horror story about traveling with their friends, including Doganieri, who came up with the idea for TAR in 1999 after her husband van Munster returned dissatisfied with what was currently being offered up in the TV world after a major conference.

Working as an advertising executive with Ogilvy & Mather at the time, she then pitched the idea to van Munster when he challenged her to come up with an idea for a TV show in five minutes.

She then recalled backpacking through Europe with her college roommate and best friend after they graduated and the drama that went down during their adventures.

"Halfway through the trip, we just got tired of each other and had a huge blowout," she told Awards Daily. "We took the day off from each other and later got back together. Everything was fine after that."

But the experience clearly left a mark, one she relayed to her husband, who had previously worked on Cops.

"I said to Bertram, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could have two people know each other do some sort of trip around the world, a race where they would be competing against other people doing the same thing?'"

The Title: When the husband-wife producing team originally pitched the show, they didn't have a name yet.

"We had many, many titles," Doganieri said, including Around the World in 80 Days, before going on to reveal an executive at CBS came up with The Amazing Race. "We loved it. Everything's amazing about it."

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Hosting Duties: Before Keoghan was picked as the show's host, he actually was one of the frontrunners to land another major job at CBS: Survivor. Of course, that gig ultimately went to Jeff Probst, another one of TV's most beloved reality TV hosts.

"It was at a time when not a lot of foreigners were given an opportunity to do something like that," Keoghan told New Zealand's The Listener in 2005. "One of the reasons I was told that I didn't get the job was that I was a New Zealander."

One year later though, he was picked for The Amazing Race, with Keoghan saying, "They gave me a shot, but they asked me to Americanize my voice."

Before landing TAR in 2001, Keoghan was known for his hosting duties in New Zealand, including Spot On and That's Fairly Interesting, and he was known for his strange and sometimes dangerous adventures on Travel Channel's Phil Keoghan's Adventure Crazy.

The Casting Process: Want to be on the show? Just be yourself, according to Doganieri.

"When we're sitting in auditioning, we can tell straight away if somebody is trying to be something that they're not, trying to anticipate what we want or not being completely honest about who they are," she told UpRoxx.

Still, there are some personality traits that are more attractive to the casting team.

"We always cast for Type-A personalities, super-competitive people. It's always nice if they have a sense of humor, because you have to have a sense of humor to be on the road for so long. And it's also for people who have interesting personalities with each other. It can't just be, 'We're best friends and we have a good time,'" she explained. "People who tend to have relationships that are so perfect and easy-going aren't the best TV sometimes. We have to see, underlying, that there's a little drama there, a little spark."

While the show started scouting for contestants in later seasons, they still accept auditions, with the show's former casting director Lynne Spillman once telling Variety they are just looking for "the best teams and diverse relationships. Meaning, not all married couples or brothers, etc. We try to find something for everyone (in the audience)."

Casting Requirements: Usually, it's preferred the team members have known each other for at least one year before applying, and have a "relatable" relationship. Oh, and you both have to be 21 by the start of the race.

Once you are picked, you are mostly on your own when it comes to packing what clothes to bring with you, though the show tells you what you can't bring: your own money (cash or credit card), cameras or any sort of useful tools, like maps, translation books, travel guides, any electronics, GPS, etc. (Selfie cams were introduced in season 26, BTW, and the show did an all social media star outing for season 28.)

And after race officially kicks off, the general rule is the team members can't be more than 20 feet apart from each other at all times.

Travel Woes: Because they can't bring their own money, the teams are given credit cards from the production company to book their travel. And at the beginning of each leg, they are given a sum of money to cover their expenses aside from airline tickets, like food, lodging or any unexpected repair costs, among other things. If you don't use all of your stipend on that leg, the remaining money rolls over. But it you burn through it before getting to the next leg, you can can attempt to earn more money as long as they abide by local laws, borrowing from other teams or asking locals for some cash (just not at airports in the U.S.) is OK. (There's also a rumor about a small emergency fund that the assigned crew carries and breaks out only in extreme circumstances.)

Getting two tickets on a last-minute flight (no booking in advance and no business or first class, by the way!) is hard enough for the average person, but the teams actually have to secure four, as they cannot travel without the two-person crew.

"The teams are responsible for purchasing tickets for their crew and if they don't have enough tickets for themselves, and their crew, then they can't go," Keoghan revealed in a Reddit AMA.

How Much Contestants Make: Nope, it's not just the winners who can finish the race with some prize money in their pockets.

The winning team of CBS' globe-trotting competition takes home $1 million. According to fan-site TARflies, the second place team wins $25,000 and the third place team gets $10,000. And each team earns money, with the first eliminated pair going home with $1,500.

Welcome to "Sequesterville": Once a team is eliminated, they are sequestered at a resort until the end of filming in order to prevent spoilers.

"They keep you sequestered. You can't go home three days after you leave because then everyone knows you didn't win," season 21 competitor Mark "Abba" Abbattista explained to The A.V. Club. "They bring people to a sequestered location after they get eliminated and they stay together."

While they're technically in hiding, the contestants are usually given a stipend and can go on supervised outings.

Plus, it makes it easier to transport everyone to the final pit for the big finish at the end of the race.

Planning Process: While TAR may sometimes feel spontaneous and daring, it is meticulously plotted out behind-the-scenes months in advance.

"In every season, before we leave, the creative is 100 percent locked. It's actually locked a few weeks in advance before we leave," Doganieri told UpRoxx. "Everything is planned out. All the Non-Elimination Legs are planned out. All the Fast-Forwards. Everything is planned out and locked before we leave. All the clues have been written right now. All the host scripts have been written. CBS and the legal team have signed on everything at this point."

In an interview with Awards Daily, Doganieri and van Munster revealed casting is the first step, before they "start looking at a map and thinking about the route we would like to do." Then the locations must be cleared by the Safety and Security team.

When it comes to choosing the locations, van Munster offered a pretty practical tool in the decision-making process: "The logic comes from where do the plans fly and with what frequency." (One place they turned down? Qatar.)

Plan B: The only time the show changes their plan is "by a force of nature," Doganieri explained to UpRoxx. "We're checking weather reports every day. Many times if there's a location that we lose because of weather, there is backup plan. We have a lot of Plan B's in place that we know like, 'OK. If that river's gonna flood, there's another river over here that we know we can use.'"

Filming Is Fast and Furious: After months of preparation, the actual filming of a season is comparably short: 12 episodes in just 21-25 days, with over 2,000 people working on the show overall. Given the breakneck pace of the show, there isn't a lot of downtime, though the contestants and crew remain in close quarters.

"We're all in the same hotels," Abbatista revealed to The A.V. Club. "Actually, most of the times after the legs, we ate with the crew. It's kind of like you're traveling as a family."

In a Reddit AMA, Keoghan also opened up about the speedy schedule and how much time he actually gets to spend with the contestants.

"The show happens very quickly and time is always a challenge for us. Many people don't realize that we shoot all 12 episodes in just 21 days," he wrote. "If you factor in all the international travel and the other travel that we do to get from place to place, there's not a huge amount of time to be hanging out. That said, I do record in-depth interviews with the teams when they check-in and that's really the time I get to connect with them."

Phil's Pit Stop: Ever wonder what Keoghan is doing as he waits for the teams to arrive? He's working and trying to get the latest information on the race as it's happening to prepare.

"Apart from briefing the greeter about how the show works and shooting the intro's I need to do at the pit stop, 99% of my time is spent holding my phone and furiously writing down story notes about what's happening with the teams," he revealed in his AMA. "The information is coming from all those in production who learn anything new about what's going on. If we didn't have the ability to text on the show and sometimes make phone calls, it would be almost impossible for us to make the show. There are time where we are in such remote locations that I don't get information beforehand and in those cases, I have to debrief the teams on the mat to get to the bottom of what's happened. In addition, some production people have to physically bring me the information to me at the mat so I can administer the penalty."

Keoghan also spends a lot of time doing research for his scripts, wanting to make sure he is offering new information to viewers on the locations the show visits.

"We start researching the show months in advance and then I start working on my scripts about a month out. The key is to give the audience some takeaway about what we're going and the things we'll be doing," he wrote. "So I work hard on interesting factoids since I know people love learning about the world which watching the amazing race. I love that the show not only entertains but also informs."

As for what happens when one team is hours behind the rest? Keoghan remains ready for anything.

"There's always the chance that a team may come to the mat accidentally before they've completed the course so, once again, I stay at the mat no matter what," he said. "One time, I was at the mat in Poland season 11 for 19 hours straight."

Close Call: On TAR, Keoghan has never missed a pit stop, but he almost did in an early season when he found himself detained in Ukraine.

"I got held in immigration overnight," he told TMZ. "I didn't have the right papers apparently or so they thought. So they put me in a holding room overnight, meanwhile, the teams were racing and there were concerns I wouldn't make it to the mat. Thankfully, the U.S. ambassador was a huge Amazing race fan and she got me out."

He made it just in time to meet the teams at the mat. Phew.

The Meaning of Keoghan's Necklace: In case you've ever wondered if the necklace the host wears in every episode means anything, he revealed its unique origin during his Q&A.

"I have worn it on every season. It is an indigenous necklace from New Zealand which was given to me as a way of providing safety over water," he wrote. "It's origins come from the Maori people of New Zealand. It's actually a decorative fish hook. For the most part, they are carved out of bone or green stone."

In later seasons, Keoghan added another accessory by starting to wear hats, but it was because he needed the extra protection from the sun after having six facial sunspots removed.

"My dermatologist said, 'You've got to cover it up.' It's not all Race'" he told the New York Post. "I grew up in the Caribbean and I've had a lot of sun damage over the years. Now I try to be really careful."

Giving Back: For the producers, it was important for them to leave a positive mark on remote locations they've filmed in.

"We like to leave something behind that's good for a place that might've needed something," Doganieri said. "In Ethiopia, we put roofs on houses," and the show also has rebuilt schools in some of the places they've visited.

They even built a fishing village in Vietnam, which Van Munster said "they could never afford to do" if TAR hadn't filmed there.

Celebrity Appeal: New Kids on the Block's Jonathan Knight, professional athletes, Olympians and other celebrities have competed over the years, but the show has yet to do an all-celeb line-up.

Over the years, Keoghan admitted to The Hollywood Reporter he's had fans pitch an all-celebrity season. But given the grueling filming schedule, he said, "I think a season with all celebrities might be a nightmare."

Some of the celebrity fans who've expressed interest?

"Neil Patrick Harris mentioned it once. Sarah Jessica Parker, I remember, mentioned it once. I know Ellen [DeGeneres] has mentioned it on her show before," he revealed. "There was a quote from her that if she was on The Amazing Race what she would do. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I know loves the show. Drew Barrymore I think was one. I saw Matthew McConaughey wearing an Amazing Race T-shirt in a magazine. I don't think we'd have trouble getting interest. I think we'd have trouble locking it in."

Reality Worlds Collide: while the upcoming season is made up of teams of all reality TV vets, with stars from TAR, Survivor and Big Brother, Keoghan once admitted he wasn't the biggest fan of bringing on stars from other franchises (like they did with Big Brother couples Jeff and Jordan, and Rachel and Brendon, and Survivor's Boston Rob and Amber, and Ethan and Jenna).

"On a personal level, I'm less of a fan of that than I am in bringing in some new person with a unique personality," he admitted to THR. "It's not to say it didn't work, but I'm just not as much of a fan of that cross-pollination. I think the shows are so different that to me it's a little confusing. That's my opinion is all."

Pre-SUR Life: Before she became one of the most popular Bravo reality stars thanks to Vanderpump Rules, Stassi Schroeder actually competed on The Amazing Race with her dad, stepmom and brother in 2005. They hold the honor of being the first and only team to ever be eliminated in their hometown.

"I didn't have a chance to think about if it was something I wanted to do," Stassi told ET of competing the show. "It was always just been something that I've done. And then I realized that I was kind of good at it."

She was 17, brunette and just as unapologetic as she is on the Bravo reality hit, saying, "I remember why we lost—because my family didn't listen to me. Because I'm always right! If they just would've listened to me!"

Overcoming Tragedy: The first season of The Amazing Race premiered on Sept. 5, 2001, less than one week before the tragic events of 9/11 would forever change the nation.

"The world had changed from one second to another, and we were doing a show about traveling overseas, about airplanes," van Munster told The New York Times in 2004. "At that point, I thought the show was over. I didn't think we had a chance."

In an interview with the Television Academy, he went on to say, "We had people who didn't want to go on a plane, who didn't want to go to a foreign country, we had several producers who didn't want to do it anymore. We had all these issues."

But van Munster said no one at CBS ever talked of canceling the show in the wake of the terrorist attack, with Doganieri explaining, "The nice thing is that we were able to continue doing the show and it did keep that element of people still needing to travel and the world is still good. In a way, maybe, our show helped keep a positive spin on things a bit in a time that was so devastating."

The Joy of Summer Took a Turn

Just a year earlier, in the summer of 2007, I had surprised Chuck with a wonderful party on the rooftop of a brand-new Manhattan restaurant on the occasion of his 60th birthday. It was truly a perfect day. The weather was perfect and some 40 friends joined us for food, drink and the best, best music.

I had organized everything and my son, Karim, stepped up and finalized the arrangements. On the evening of the event, my husband was so shocked by the surprise that he actually gasped as he saw familiar faces greeting him with birthday greetings and love.

Little did we know that this would be the final time most of these folks would see Chuck alive. Just some five months down the road we would have our lives turned upside down by a diagnosis of volcanic portions. I was glad that at least we had been able to have a great fete with closest friends and family before the tidal wave engulfed us.

Aging leaves less room for relationships that aren’t sincere or valuable.

So it’s only natural that while some friends drift away, others stay firmly by your side.

If you feel that your friend circle has shrunk over the years, there’s no reason to panic. This is something that happens to all of us as we grow older and make wiser decisions, including those about our friendships.

So, as you see, losing some friends during your lifetime isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just a result of knowing better what you want in life and becoming more picky with people.

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