A Mount Gilead oncology nurse and mother of two was not afraid of surviving in the Nicaragua wild for two weeks in January.
Kristin Young’s adventures were shown Sunday night during Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid” reality show.
“It was the hardest challenge I had in my life,” Young said. “It was harder than running a marathon.”
Young, who was 32 at the time of the show, was selected to appear on the show as part of a fan challenge, which took her and Paolo Di Girolamo II of Massachusetts through a remote area of the Chocoyero-El Brujo Natural Reserve, in the southwestern part of Managua, Nicaragua.
Once she arrived there, she had no clothes or food and traveled with Di Girolamo II and a camera crew.
The show, currently in its fourth season, typically has people go on a 21-day challenge where they are left in the wild naked with only a burlap sack and one tool. The strangers need to quickly introduce themselves and work together.
On the fan challenge show, Young and Paolo Di Girolamo II, who was 26 at the time of the taping, were part of a social media campaign and contest called “#ShowUsWhatYouGot,” which was voted on by fans of the show.
Young said she was excited to get the call to appear on the program.
“I work nights so I was asleep when they called,” she said. “I was excited when they called, but fell back asleep and had to call them back when I woke to make sure it wasn’t a dream.”
Young said she liked working with Di Girolamo II on the show.
“I felt very lucky,” she said. “We had some communication issues, but we were able to talk them out. He was a good partner.”
The show was filled with challenges, both physical and mental.
“I prepared myself knowing I was going to be missing family and knowing I wasn’t going to eat,” said Young, who lost about 15 pounds.
But she said missing family was harder than she realized.
Young said she almost “tapped out” and left the show seven days into the challenge.
“I cried a lot that day,” she said.
The physical challenge involved the lack of food.
“People act different when they are starving,” Young said. “Some days, we didn’t eat at all.”
And when they did eat, the food was quite different.
“We ate grasshoppers, snakes and termites,” Young said.
Her husband, Chris, said a difficult thing for him was being worried about his wife’s well-being.
“We only got an email after the first week, so no news was good news,” he said. “I was extremely proud of her. I had no doubts she was able to do this.”
The family watched this show at a friend’s house with about 20 people.
“I was super nervous before the show, but overall thought they did a great job presenting it,” Kristin Young said.
Young said being naked on the show wasn’t as bad as she originally feared.
“I was very nervous beforehand,” she said. “It was very strange to be naked in the woods.”
Young added that being naked on the program with another man wasn’t an issue.
“My husband trusts me,” she said. “Never in my mind was it a problem.”
“I trust her with my life,” Chris added.
Young says she learned a lot from her experience.
“It definitely made me a lot more self-assured and independent,” she said.
Chris Pugh is on Twitter at @pughcivitas and can be reached at 330-705-5956.