I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking briefly with Josh Gates, host of Expedition Unknown at the Travel and Adventure Show in Atlanta in February. He is as friendly and accessible as he is on the show. We had a few minutes to chat before the speakers got started for their Saturday appearances.
Q: Where is the one place you still want to go?
J: A lot of places, I really want to go to Srilanka, my wife’s family is Serbian and I’ve never been there. There are a million places that I still want to go to. Funny thing is when I first started traveling, I thought on I’d start checking off all these places, and the list would get shorter and shorter, but it doesn’t work that way at all. When you travel to a place for the first time, like China or India, then you look at a map you go ‘hold on a second’ I’m only going to see the 1% of 1%, and I’ve got to go back to the South, the North or the West, so the list just gets longer.
C: Is there any place you’ve been that you want to go back to?
J: Lots of places, I love Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. I just love that part of the world.
C: How’s the heat there for you?
J: Too Hot! I don’t like the heat, but I love the people, the food, and the culture so much that if it weren’t for the sweltering heat, I’d probably move there. I just love being there. There’s something about it; it just appeals to me.
C: You get into a lot of small spaces, do you get claustrophobic?
J: I don’t usually get claustrophobic. I don’t love heights, and I do spend a lot of time dangling off ropes, but I don’t love heights. Closed spaces, I’m ok with. I’ve never really been claustrophobic. It doesn’t freak me out. Jumping out of a plane; terrifying.
C: Can you always plan for what happens on a show?
J: A lot of planning goes into a show, so there’s a lot of stuff you don’t see in the show. It really is just all the stuff that it takes to film the show, from permits and visas to the equipment. Things are getting smaller and smaller, but it’s still a battery game. We try to find electricity where we can, or we find generators and where we can’t we pack in enough, small candles and batteries get it done. That’s a big logistical challenge for the show.
C: You do a lot of ghost hunting. Do you believe in ghosts?
J: I describe myself as an open-minded skeptic. I open to new experiences but I’ve never had that definitive experience where I can just say, yes, this is real; I know it’s there. I’ve had things happen to me I can’t explain. We’ve all felt things, seen things and heard things we can’t quite explain, but I think there is a big jump from that to ghosts.
C: Do you think you’re going to find the Amber Room?
J: I don’t know. I have a funny feeling the Amber Room may be gone. There is a kind of trail where it went for a brief stint. It may have well been in this castle that was bombed to pieces by the Allies. And if it wasn’t, it may well have been broken down, distributed and disbursed. I’d love to be wrong, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
C: Is there anything now that you’re looking for now, that you are really excited about?
J: We’re just planning the new season now. A great season is airing now. The D-Day show makes me want to do more in the Pacific Theater. It’s underrepresented. We’d love to do that. There are a couple of big anniversaries this year, the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower, so might try to do something on the East Coast in the fall for that. We’re just thinking about that now. It’s the fun part of the year where we get to spin the globe and try to come up with a whole new set of stories.
C: What’s the one item you always take with you when you travel?
J: A moleskin journal. I always carry a moleskin journal and I try to write in it.
For more info on Josh and to see where he will be next, check out his website: