Jillian Storey

Jillian Storey

Show handle: Intimate Internet Oversharer
Age: 20
Hometown: Creighton, SK
Studies: Nursing
Favourite website: Pinterest

Why did you want to be on Operation Unplugged?

Where I live (a small northern community) it's very hard for people to travel. I've always been a traveller, I love to travel, but I got stuck in a small town. Sometimes it felt like the town was suffocating me. Being on the show was an opportunity to go on the adventure of a lifetime, the perfect way to explore Canada and not worry about what's happening on Friday night. It was a really positive experience.

Did you find it really difficult?

At first. It was kind of a double-edged sword, I didn't have the normal stresses or pressure, but I left my family and friends. I had these 7 strangers who became my family. I bonded with them so fast but still missed people from back home.

What was the hardest part of being on the show?

Because I worked at a mine, I was used to dealing with high-stress, physical situations so I found the more emotional situations harder to deal with. I wasn't scared of anything physical, but not being able to share these experiences with people right away and the anxiety of not knowing what's going to happen next was hard.

It was a really different experience. I get ready every morning and do my hair and makeup, so I had to get used to having no clean underwear or food in a fridge, and dealing with stinky socks.

What did you like the most about being on the show?

I learned to be fully present in a situation and focus on things. Before the show—I'm a really private person—I was a bit more closed off. The show forced me to open up and trust other people.

I also loved sailing. It caused so much adrenaline and we worked together as a team. It was great.

And the the scenery and the people we met! We were always meeting other tourists and hearing their stories.

What's your favourite park?

Bruce Peninsula. Hands down. Before the show I was looking at destination islands like Jamaica and then we went to Bruce Peninsula and the water looked like the kind you'd see in Jamaica. I didn't know places like that existed in Canada. I would have never thought to travel to Ontario and Quebec.  In Canada, we have flatlands to mountains—anything you can imagine.

Have you carried activities from the show into your everyday life?

Writing. We were forced to write and it was suggested by one of my castrates to continue writing when I got home. It helps me get things off my chest.

And being more present. Where I live, we have the Northern lights and because we see them all the time we tend to ignore them and just go inside. When you're away from it all, you learn to take in your own scenery more so that it's less like a wallpaper and more like something you can interact with.

What would be your advice for others who are too plugged-in?

Pick up and do it. I'm a nursing student and my classmates say they want to travel and see things, but they don't get out and do it. You do need to use tech in nursing and people are starting to lose the ability to relate to other people and we need that.

It doesn't matter if you've never hiked before or if you're out of shape—there's always excuses to not do things. Everywhere we went there was something for someone to do. The longer you wait the more you're going to miss.

Operation Unplugged premieres Tuesday February 21 at 9 p.m. EST on Travel + Escape.