The best ways to get ‘Lost’

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - TRAVEL - By Jae-Ha Kim

Film­maker J.J. Kel­ley and jour­nal­ist Kinga Philipps have teamed up to put their ex­per­tise to use in “Lost in the Wild,” which airs Sun­days on Travel Chan­nel.

The re­al­ity ad­ven­ture series fol­lows the two as they head into re­mote ar­eas to in­ves­ti­gate miss­ing per­sons cases and try to help solve the mys­ter­ies.

An edited ver­sion of our con­ver­sa­tion fol­lows.

Q. Where is the wildest place you’ve vis­ited?

Kinga Philipps: Mana Pools Na­tional Park, Zim­babwe. It’s sim­ply ex­tra­or­di­nary. What makes Mana so spe­cial is that if you choose not to go on the or­ga­nized sa­fari route, which can be ex­pen­sive but to­tally worth it, you can also self-drive and camp — if you know what you’re do­ing, of course.

J.J. Kel­ley: The deep field in Antarc­tica. When you visit the frozen con­ti­nent, you see loads of amaz­ing wildlife like pen­guins and whales. How­ever, you only see life around the perime­ter. Once you get into the deep in­te­rior of the land mass, it’s a life­less, in­hos­pitable and end­lessly stark land­scape. Hu­mans are not meant to live in a tent at mi­nus 50 de­grees Fahren­heit, but I sure did for 25 days. It was both the wildest and most phys­i­cally de­mand­ing lo­ca­tion I’ve ever been.

Q. What is your fa­vorite va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion?

Kel­ley: Alaska. In a pre­vi­ous life, I spent years work­ing as a kayak guide in Alaska’s re­mote Ke­nai Fjords Na­tional Park. For me ev­ery­thing is just big­ger and more dra­matic in our most north­ern state. For any­one who loves ad­ven­ture, you can’t beat this place. The only prob­lem is that it spoils you. Once you see the vast­ness of Alaska, ev­ery­thing else feels a bit lack­lus­ter.

Q. What un­tapped des­ti­na­tion should peo­ple know about?

Philipps: I call it the other is­land men­tal­ity. Most places you go where there are is­lands, one will be the pop­u­lar on-ther­adar des­ti­na­tion and right next to it are oth­ers that are just as amaz­ing, if not bet­ter, which usu­ally have half the crowd and half the prices. Per­fect ex­am­ples would be Koh Rong San­loem (Cam­bo­dia), which is the ex­quis­ite and quiet al­ter­na­tive to next door Koh Rong, an all-night moon party des­ti­na­tion.

Q. What do you rec­om­mend to peo­ple who’d like to visit re­mote des­ti­na­tions but are wary of the un­known?

Kel­ley: Have a plan for how you can safely step out­side your com­fort zone. If you’re go­ing on a re­mote trek in Zim­babwe, bring a friend, tell a friend where you’re go­ing and when you’ll be back and have a plan for what they’ll do if you don’t sur­face at the agreed upon time. Al­ways have a pro­to­col for com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Get an in­ter­na­tional plan for your cell­phone. Have check-in times and stick to them. Do not get lazy with this. It

Qcould save your life. I’ve re­ceived my great­est ed­u­ca­tion from trav­el­ing to 111 coun­tries and I’d never dis­cour­age any­one from see­ing new hori­zons. I whole­heart­edly en­cour­age you. Just be smart about it.

Q. What’s the most im­por­tant thing you’ve learned from your trav­els?

Kel­ley: Stay cu­ri­ous — don’t travel around the world to text with your friend who lives in your home­town; don’t eat at the ho­tel; don’t stay within the tourist bub­ble. Ask ques­tions and im­merse your­self in your des­ti­na­tion. Oth­er­wise, why did you spend all that money to get around the world?

Q. What is your best va­ca­tion mem­ory?

Philipps: Liv­ing out of a van in Ice­land for nine days with my sis­ter as we toured the en­tire ring road and stopped in so many spec­tac­u­lar spots our heads were spin­ning.

Q. Where have you trav­eled to that most re­minded you of home?

Kel­ley: I’m from Min­nesota, and Nor­way is the one place that feels most like my home­land. The peo­ple are sweet, the food is a lit­tle bland but sat­is­fy­ing, and the cul­ture is one that cel­e­brates the cold in­stead of com­plain­ing about it.

TRAVEL CHAN­NEL

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