Ryan Aiken of Ellicott City was the first competitor voted off Survivor: The Amazon, which was revealed during the show's premiere Thursday night.
In this edition of the series, the participants are divided into two teams with men in one "tribe" and women in the other. The women's group successfully navigated an obstacle course, while chained together, before the men did. So, the men had to eject one person.
"Whether you are the first or the last one off, it's still a life-changing experience," said Aiken in a telephone interview last week.
He was in South America for the show for 39 days and said he felt a close bond with the other contestants. "The only people who can understand are the people who were there," he said.
Aiken, 24, a model and actor who graduated from Mount Hebron High School, had difficulty during the obstacle course. Some competitors also questioned his work ethic.
"I think I came across really well," he said. "It was a close vote ... it could have gone either way."
As he was voted off the show in Thursday's episode, Aiken said, "I have learned a lot, and most importantly, I have learned a lot about myself."
Dave Johnson, a rocket scientist who grew up in Ellicott City and lives in California, is also on the Amazon edition of the show.