“My first thought? Absolutely unbelievable. Not in a million years did I imagine I’d be flying to Atacama Desert in Chile with my partner Vanessa to film an episode for a TV travel show!”
NSW’s Glenn Pickett won our search for a real traveller to film an episode of Places We Go in Chile. We had a chat with Glenn on the eve of his national TV debut about the attractions in Chile he experienced and being in front of the camera…
“I’ve never been one for centre stage and I can tell you now that as our departure day approached I was getting a little nervous. We were at Sydney Airport, ready to go. I didn’t know what to expect. What would Clint be like? What were they expecting from someone who’s never been in front of a camera? After a few minutes of chatting, my concerns vanished and I knew this was going to be an awesome trip.”
You had some time to learn the ropes from Clint. What was the best advice you took for filming your episode in Chile?
“Clint is really relaxed and always had a big smile on his face. You could see he was having fun and encouraged me to do the same. At the end of the day you just have to be yourself and don’t take it too seriously.”
How did you feel travelling to the Atacama Desert, knowing the job ahead of you?
“We had some time to settle into Chile and watch Clint work so by my turn I understood what was expected. Of course I was a little nervous beforehand (and wondered if I would actually have anything interesting to say!) but as it turns out Atacama is such a unique, beautiful place there was absolutely no shortage of things to talk about – the charm of the people, the culture and the stunning landscapes. It’s a place on earth that is like no other, if you can’t look good on TV here then there’s got to be something wrong!”
Lights, camera, action! Tell us about the first time the camera’s red light came on for you?
“It was a scene with both myself and Vanessa arriving at our hotel. Being on camera together made it a little easier as there was someone to bounce comments off. I remember feeling a little awkward and very conscious of the camera at first but by the end of the next day there were times I almost forgot the camera was rolling. I think the key is what Clint would say ‘just be yourself and have fun…but don’t stuff up!’ His easygoing nature really helped me relax and enjoy the experience.”
You filmed in the Atacama Desert – what can we expect to see when your episode airs?
“Atacama was the last stop in our Chile adventure so we’d spent time visiting cities, hiking mountains and cruising glacier lakes. In Atacama, the landscape was completely different. This is my new favourite place on earth!
There was San Pedro, a buzzy little village that felt like a frontier town with loads of little nooks and crannies waiting to be explored. Our guide Roberto had such enthusiasm for his country and that rubbed off on us. Everything we did with him was fantastic. The bike ride through Devil’s Gorge and his knowledge of local history was just fascinating. At some points the gorge narrowed to less than a metre wide and we had to pick our bikes up to get over fallen rocks!
I also witnessed one of my most spectacular sunsets ever. The sun was setting in the west (as it does!) but to the east violent dark storm clouds churned. And we were standing there, between these contrasting landscapes, on this brilliant white salt flat that went as far as the eye could see. The colours were just amazing.”
What were the locals in Chile like?
“We met so many lively locals and that’s one of the charms of this region. People were always up for a chat to find out where we were from and what we were up to. We spent most of our time with Roberto – he’s a great guy. He grew up in Patagonia but had an obvious connection with the desert. Even on his days off he preferred to work! He mentioned he wanted to come to Australia to study and I hope he does – it would be great to see him again and show him around my city.”
Vanessa appears on camera with you too – how did she go?
“I think she did a great job! Vanessa and I have done a lot travel and in fact traveling was our life the last two and half years as we explored different parts of the world on a motorcycle. Now being back in Sydney, the last few months have made travel seem a world away but going on this filming trip has certainly rekindled our spirit for adventure.”
You’ve had a go at the dream job – was life on the road with a camera and crew what you thought it would be? And would you do it again?
“It was pretty hectic. The days were very long and fighting tiredness was a constant battle. But I absolutely loved it. Each day was completely different, something that over that last few years we had become very accustomed to, so we felt completely at home. Clint and [cameraman] Russell are both awesome guys and the laughs we shared will be some of the fondest memories of my time in Chile. Would I do it again…what do you reckon?
I can’t wait to share my experience in this spectacular part of the world when the episode airs – I know I’m looking forward to seeing it all again and I really hope everyone else enjoys it too!”