February 14, 2009

For a million dollars, would you go on an amazing race?

Most of my friends love to travel and actively get out and about, even those with children which is impressive. Some of my friends are the backpack type of traveler. They like to fly on the cheap, stay in hostels or camps and go to more remote and physically challenging locations. On the other side, there are friends who fly a minimum of business class for any flight over three hours, they have minimum requirements for their lodging needs and their destinations are typically major cities, guided tours or island resorts.

Since this year it has been difficult for me to get on a plane for some reason, my personal travel excursions have been from reading the travels of insightful bloggers. Explorers like Cate a caffeinated traveler currently in Malaysia, and Gary who hasn't stopped moving since 2007. I think he is in Egypt now. I also consume lots of books, National Geographic and Rick Steves, besides all things Public Broadcasting (PBS).

Amazing Race
A guilty pleasure of mine, besides too much coffee, is watching a program called The Amazing Race. It is quite popular and has won several television awards for a number of years now. The premise is that 11 teams of two travel 40,000 miles in about 3 weeks. There are challenges along the way and for many they have little experience traveling or traveling together.

The excitement and drama come from the video of their time that is recorded and edited by the production staff. Just watching this I can only imagine what it would be like to - race - around the world like that. At least one team was filmed saying the same, in that they were in cab commenting on the new country they were racing through and how much they would like to return to explore it at their leisure.

Race or Walk
And this is why I find the show a guilty pleasure. It is fascinating to watch people, especially Americans given how few travel outside the country, and to know that these people agreed to have everything filmed. Laughter and tears. Also, up for discussion is the whole notion of racing or rushing through countries. My friends and I have joked about the tours in newspapers that are advertised as SEE 10 COUNTRIES IN 7 DAYS, and our complete rejection of that sort of travel.

The slow excursion is my personal favorite, with a minimum of a week in any new city. My "purist" friends avoid cities all together and head for the countryside. They go anywhere and get any vaccination shot listed on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website. My interest here is to find out more from readers, especially in today's climate:
  • If you had never been outside your own country, would you enter a contest like this?
  • Do you like moving through a country quickly?
  • Is money $1,000,000 enough of a draw to travel this way for you?
  • Who would you go on this race with?
  • Should I be ashamed of myself and stop watching programs like this since it can feed horrible stereotypes of Americans?
Tell me what you think. Here are the previous pair who won. And in case you can't guess, Season 14 of the Amazing Race will be starting on Sunday - February 15 at 8:00pm ET/PT on CBS.

1 comment:

  1. I have always been told by my friends that I should be doing this kind of race, but I see them doing things that would give me a complete stress meltdown. Is 1 million dollars enough? Keep watching the programme, it's better than Treasure Island. Maybe next year you will get a team together and enter. I tend to move through a country quite quickly because of time restraints.


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