(New Republic) Five years ago, Senator Jeff Flake, then a member of the House of Representatives, went to a deserted island in the Marshall chain. Flake had long yearned to answer the call of the wild—not the desert of his Arizona youth, but a different sort. "Everything from Shackleton to Drift, I think I've read them all," Senator Flake told me over the phone recently. "And I just always wondered if I could survive if I was marooned on an island by myself." Flake spent seven days on the island with a catalogue’s worth of REI gear. He survived to write about it afterwards in the Style section of The Washington Post.
Flake didn't stick around long enough to befriend any sports equipment, a la Castaway, but the experience was so lonely he found himself counting the hermit crabs that wandered through his camp. When he returned to the island during the Senate’s August recess, he brought his colleague Martin Heinrich—and the entire camera crew of the Discovery Channel’s survivalist dating show Naked and Afraid. The senators kept their clothes on and filmed their own one-hour reality program. The premise is that Flake, a libertarian Republican from Arizona, and Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, spend six days and six nights working together to survive. Discovery