’BACKPACKING INSPIRED MY HIT SHOW’
‘The Amazing Race’ co-creator on how her travels sparked the TV show, now in its 31st season
HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAVEL?
I travel quite a bit both for work and for fun. For work I travel about 60 days a year and I try to fit in a few vacations here and there during the year, mixing it up between beaches and snow.
DESCRIBE THE FIRST HOLIDAY YOU REMEMBER AS A CHILD.
A road trip from New York to Virginia with my parents and my sister to visit Colonial Williamsburg. It’s a living-history museum that takes you back to when America was born. You get to step back in time and see how life was in the 18th century.
AND YOUR FIRST TRIP ABROAD.
In 1990. I had just graduated from university and went backpacking with my roommate through Europe. I remember the rush of excitement when we landed in Spain. We had many fun adventures on the trains, staying in hostels and making friends along the way. It changed the way I viewed the world. Everything I had read about and seen in photographs came to life and started a lifelong love of travel. It was the inspiration for The Amazing Race.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT, REMOTE OR ADVENTUROUS DESTINATION YOU HAVE EVER BEEN TO?
The Sahara desert in Tunisia. We filmed the first season of the show there and one of our teams got lost in the desert. This was before cellphones worked globally and we relied on satellite phones. We went out with our security team to look for them. Luckily they found their own way to the next location. It was nerve-wracking.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CITY?
New York City. I am a little biased because I was born there, but even after travelling to more than 85 countries, I still love the energy and the abundance of things to do.
DO YOU PREFER ROUGHING IT OR LUXURY WHEN TRAVELLING?
I like a little bit of both. Sometimes the location defines the set-up. If I want luxury, there is a gorgeous boutique hotel on the water in Lake Como called Tremezzo. We rented a van and drove up the coast of California and camped on a beach called El Capitan, just north of Santa Barbara. We switched off all the electronics and enjoyed a roaring fire on the beach at sunset.
YOUR BEST PIECE OF TRAVEL ADVICE?
Pack light and leave room in your suitcase to pick up local treasures. Always be friendly to everyone and you will be treated the same.
WHAT ELEMENTS MAKE UP YOUR PERFECT HOLIDAY?
Being with loved ones, sharing great food, new adventures, meeting new friends and creating new memories.
NAME ONE PLACE YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE SOME DAY.
TRAIN IN SPAIN The funicular railway on Montserrat mountain, near the city of Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain.
LAP OF LUXURY A colourful evening on Lake Como, Italy.