In late February 2020, the first place team checked into the third pit stop—an undisclosed location in Glasgow, Scotland—on a race around the world. Eighteen months, a number of days and a few hours later, they, along with six other teams, left from a location in Zurich, Switzerland, after what was undoubtedly The Amazing Race‘s longest pit stop ever

“It was so weird because I’m standing there for the restart and it’s like no time had passed at all,” the Emmy-amassing series’ longtime host, Phil Keoghan, recalled to E! News of resuming work on season 33 (premiering on CBS Jan. 5 at 8 p.m.) after their lengthy COVID-induced pause. “And then you process what’s happened in that 19 months. And it’s so much.”

What started with weeks of second-guessing (“Now it’s easy to say, ‘Oh, it was the right decision,'” said Keoghan about being one of the first reality shows to pull the plug on filming. “But at the time, you can understand why some people were like, ‘Are you sure we need to do this?'”) bled into months of simply waiting and hoping as the entire world shut down. 

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