Castaway Ramona Gray documents the daily tribulations of island life in this exclusive excerpt from her journal


In between heaving and getting the heave-ho, Survivor‘s Ramona Gray chronicled her Pulau Tiga exploits. In part 1 of our excerpt, she details the physical hardship, the mental exhaustion, and the humiliation of Tribal Council.


Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.
Jimi Hendrix

[The Survivors are in Los Angeles.] It’s almost 1 p.m. and just about all of us are on a bus getting ready to go to CBS. So far, there are 7 women and 6 men (with three people left to go). EVERYONE is white except for this brother (he’s a cutie, too) and me. Seems like a pretty cool crew.

We’re here at CBS in the boardroom. It’s funny cuz we’re all sitting round this huge table looking at each other and unable to speak. Almost everyone is reading, writing, or listening to music. I’m trying to figure folks out by watching what they’re doing, their body language, nonverbals, anything I can get! But it’s not helping and we won’t be allowed to speak to each other [until the day we travel to Pulau Tiga]!! UGH!!


Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.
Mahatma Gandhi

We boarded our plane last, took our seats (I’m 33D — an aisle seat). I immediately got a hold of two Tylenol PM capsules and was out! I’m sure we’ve already crossed the International Date Line, but my watch says 11:47 a.m. (L.A. time). We’re currently passing over Japan and should be arriving in Taipei in a couple of hours. I feel pretty rested so I guess I can’t complain, but my back is hurting from constantly trying to sleep comfortably in this chair. We should get awards for just surviving the [vaccinations] and the trip!

We’re about 30 minutes from Taipei, where it is 5:24 a.m.! It’s weird to have lost a day…. The view from my window is gorgeous! The uninterrupted blue sea…then an island(s) surrounded by lt. blue-green water…it’s like paradise. I seem so far away from everything familiar and strangely enough, I’m OK with that — even looking forward to the unfamiliar. God is so deliberate in His work! I believe that I am where I need to be at this point in my life in order to fulfill my destiny…now, what that destiny is? I’m not certain. We’re about to land…


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

[Two days later]
I’m sitting in a headhunter’s village — nuff said! The total unrealness (not a word) of this is all building up and I haven’t even set foot on the island yet! The day was VERY HOT & VERY LONG! Very valuable, though, cuz [for two days] we learned about the island living — how to build shelter, what we can and cannot eat/touch (which is everything), and just a basic heads-up about the island. The sun was unforgiving and if this was anything like the island will be, it’s gonna be a very difficult time indeed! By 8 p.m., the crew had come around and taken all of our bags/clothes/EVERYTHING except what we were taking to the island! I was left with my outfit that I’m wearing, my hat, scarf, a bathing suit, extra underwear, rainjacket, my journal, sunglasses, and a pair of shorts. No deodorant, lotion, toothpaste/brush, Chap Stick, NOTHING! It’s cool though, cuz I’m ready…