Travis Sampson says he knew his fate was on the line when he got bumped to rival tribe Yasur. But "I didn't want to lay down and just lose," he says, so he tried making hand signals to a friend on the Lopevi side – rubbing his new tribe mates the wrong way and ultimately getting voted off Vanuatu 6-1 on last Thursday's Survivor: Vanuatu – Islands of Fire. "Hey," Sampson, 33, tells PEOPLE, "Richard Hatch said it best: When your back's against the wall like that, try to stir some things up. That's what I did."
Now back home in Blountville, Tenn., the loss-prevention specialist (and former professional wrestler) tells PEOPLE how he's readjusted to life on the mainland and wants to meet Bob Barker.
What was the first thing you ate when you left the island?First thing I got was spaghetti. After that, I just took everything in stride. I lost 25 lbs. on the show. Since the show, I've lost an additional 10 lbs., so I'm weighing 195 right now and feeling great.
Was the experience what you expected it to be?It was more demanding than I thought it would be. The hunger: Yeah, you can put up with it. The missing the family: You know it's gonna happen, but you don't realize how much.
What's new since leaving?
I'm back with work and with my family. (After the show) some of the contestants want to pursue acting careers or movie careers, modeling, whatnot – but me? I just want to continue what I'm doing. I work coaching at the boys club, and if I can use this (fame) as a tool to reach kids, teach them the dangers of drugs and work with DARE or MADD or something like that, that's what I want to do. I just want to do something positive.
What was up with the Bob Barker T-shirt?
I wore it (on the show) because it was a constant reminder of my granddad. I have fond memories of sitting down and watching The Price Is Right with him. He's passed away now. ... If I ever have the opportunity to meet Bob Barker, I'm just gonna shake his hand and say, "You know, you bring joy to people who are on the show, but you'll never know the joy you brought to people who watched the show."
How was it to see yourself on television?
My boys, they'd seen me on TV wrestling, but there's a difference between Dad being on TV and Dad being on Survivor. My boys were on cloud nine. "Dad's on Survivor! Dad's on Survivor!" And, they really took it hard when I got voted out, but it's like I tell them when they play football: "If you lose something, learn from it and turn it into a positive."
On Newsstands Now
- Amy Robach: 'I'm Lucky to Be Alive'
- Paul Walker: Inside His Tragic Death
- Julia Roberts: Choosing Family Over Hollywood
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine