Despite hectic pace of 'Race,' Jeremy and Sandy learned importance of slowing down
Even though they didn’t win “The Amazing Race,” runners-up Jeremy Cline and Sandy Draghi say what they gained was so much more valuable.
The dating couple from California finished in second place on Sunday night’s Season 19 finale, behind engaged couple Ernie Halvorsen and Cindy Chiang, who took home the million dollar prize.
“We’re proud of ourselves. We’re happy with the way we ran the ‘Race.’ Yes of course money would be nice but the memories that we took away, the friendships that we made, and ultimately the journey that we had was our reward,” Sandy tells CTV.ca over the phone.
The couple struggled on the final leg in Atlanta, Ga., after receiving incorrect information about the location of their next clue, which instructed them to go to the former residence known as “The Dump.” It referred to the former home of “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell, but Jeremy and Sandy were incorrectly told by someone they asked for help to go to the site of a former Home Depot, which now housed a furniture store called The Dump.
They said they knew as soon as they got there it didn’t feel right.
“We took three minutes and sprinted down the aisles (and) looked like idiots, but we didn’t want to miss something at that point,” says Sandy.
The team say they had a difficult time finding someone who would help them decipher the clue, which was a stark contrast to other countries they visited.
“It definitely seemed like the people in other countries were more happy to help and a little easier going. The people in the U.S., it was kind of a surprise for us to see, but they all seemed like they were on their way, had to get to the next place and didn’t want to be involved, didn’t want to be on camera, multiple people just turned away and ignored us,” says Jeremy.
“Everybody here, we run around like crazy, there’s so much to do, and I feel like everyone here feels like there’s too little time. I’m definitely guilty of that (but) other countries, it’s just a slower pace and . . . they definitely were more offering of help,” adds Sandy.
They finally found a woman who let them use her smart phone to figure out their next location, but the delay proved to be too great and they later finished the “Race” in second place.
But the team says the lessons they learned from other cultures have not been forgotten.
“I think that’s probably one of the biggest messages that we brought home is that to slow down our life and simplify our life. Seeing what we saw in Africa, Indonesia, the simplicity of how some cultures live their life, Jeremy and I are envious of that to be honest and we did take a piece of that,” says Sandy.
Since returning to the U.S., Jeremy says he’s had two garage sales to clear out unnecessary clutter in his life.
“Trying to free up the things in our life, donating the things we didn’t even need, just clearing out our space and mentally preparing to travel more (and) be less connected to our jobs and careers,” says Jeremy.
Sandy and Jeremy, who were dating for about five months before going on the “Race,” say it also helped them figure out to communicate better and trust one another.
“Ultimately I know how hard Jeremy works and how bad he wants things, and just that he never gave up and supported me . . . it made us a lot closer and definitely deepened our connection,” Sandy says.
“A lot of couples can fall apart and crumble under that but we feel like it drew us closer together and it drew some of the other teams closer together (like) Bill and Cathi . . . they were one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of people in a relationship,” adds Jeremy.
Jeremy and Sandy say they even went to Bill and Cathi, who have been married for 41 years, for some relationship advice.
“First and foremost they put each other first and they have a huge respect for one another and they are never unkind. I think the main thing they said is if you’re always kind to one another, you’re always going to prevail and ultimately they did,” says Sandy. “They definitely left a huge mark on us.”
Sandy says they had no idea how much the whole experience would change them.
“I thought (we’d go) on this month-long vacation and be able to travel and see the world but we really had more of an emotional kind of change throughout it and not only the people we encountered in all of these countries, but also a lot of our cast mates really had a big impact on our lives,” says Sandy.
Jeremy and Sandy, who have just moved in with one another, now have plans to do more travelling – and help others.
“We’re looking to do as much as we can to kind of change up our focus of not thinking of ourselves so much and kind of thinking of others and helping in different ways,” says Jeremy.
“Our view on everything definitely has changed. I’m trying to slow down the best that I can with my career and take more time for pleasurable things and definitely Jeremy and I are trying our best to give back. We realize how fortunate we are and how much we do have here so we’re trying to give back in any way that we can,” says Sandy.
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!