No place like home for Geraldine's Survivor contestant
After seven crazy weeks in Nicaragua, Survivor contestant Shannon Quinn's first port of call was her home town - Geraldine.
TVNZ's first series of the long-running American reality show was filmed in Nicaragua, and is being screened on TVNZ2 on Sunday nights.
The show pits two teams of eight competitors against each other in a series of challenges, and each episode someone is voted off until there is only one left.
While Quinn's departure from the game screened on Sunday night, she actually arrived back in New Zealand mid-September last year.
"I got to go home and just hang out in Geraldine for a couple of weeks first of all when I came back, and spend time with my family, and sort of get over the craziness of it," Quinn said.
Geraldine born and raised, Quinn said her mum and two younger sisters still live in the South Canterbury town.
It has been five years since she left to study in Auckland, where she now lives and works as a zoo keeper.
Having watched many seasons of the American Survivor, Quinn said she was the "biggest fan" of the show and always dreamt of taking part.
"I really wanted to test myself."
The show was a lot harder than she anticipated it would be, but for a lot of different reasons.
One unexpected challenge was the boredom.
"Unless there was a challenge on, we actually had absolutely nothing to do."
Within days of arriving, the team had explored the nearby area for sources of food.
"There was no way to pass the time and it was really, really long days."
She said the hunger was also tough.
"I was preparing myself to be hungry but I didn't really think about how much it was going to affect my strength."
The contestants rationed their supply of rice and beans, "it was enough to get by but we dropped weight so quickly".
So they bolstered it with hermit crabs, which Quinn said tasted like "poo", and sea snails which she said were really nice.
One thing Quinn took from the experience was the discovery of just how strong she could be, something she said she realised through doing better in endurance challenges than she expected to.
"Also, living rough, just on the beach with not a lot of necessities ... All of the technology is not something you need day to day."
It was nice not always having a phone in her hand, she said.
"Every single night we would either sit around the fire or we would go sit on the beach and watch the sun go down and actually have good conversations."
Being a zoo keeper, Quinn loved all of the wildlife she encountered including howler monkeys, scorpions, snakes and tarantulas.
"I was loving it, it was such an interesting country to go to."
If given the chance, she would "100 per cent" do it again, but would change her strategy a bit.
"My strategy was quite a harsh one, but on American Survivor they sort of seem to respect that game play. New Zealanders are really, really against it.
"I would think more about the people I was playing with."
Since arriving back in Auckland, she had kept in touch with quite a few fellow contestants, and noted everyone was on good terms.
"It's nice that we're out of the show and back to real life ... at the time you're living it, it's so hard to separate it ... and see it as a game.
"We do catch up and have a few drinks and sort of de-brief about how it's going."