This year we are celebrating ten years of filming for Places We Go, and of course like anything, a lot has changed in that time! We have been on many adventures both literally and figuratively, but our core values remain the same and that is to share the places we go and the people we meet with you, in the hope of bringing the world a little closer.
We want to bring you a little closer to us this year, which is why we are turning the tables on our team and asking us all the questions! This month the spotlight is on Clint, who, like all of us, is a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to making Places We Go! Get to know him a little better with this Q&A…
Hi Clint! To start with, PWG followers would have seen you in quite a few different locations this year! From Canada, to the NT, Margaret River and the Whitsundays… Tell us a little about your year and the highlights so far!
Our year has been a whirlwind, as has the last decade of filming on the road! I am not sure if it’s because we seem to try and cram so much into our lives that time is going so fast, or if time is really speeding up; the older I get it really does feel faster.
Between travelling across Western Canada and much of Australia this year and all enjoying the new addition to our family (our son Harrison is 16 months old), I think Jen, the kids and I will find ourselves just plonking on a beach somewhere this Christmas and not moving!
On the travel front, there were so many highlights it’s impossible to single them out. Western Canada was breathtaking, to say the least. I was lucky enough to jump on board the Rocky Mountaineer train journey that took us from Vancouver into the Rockies; a trip I’d always had on my bucket list. While the entire trip was jaw dropping, I can sincerely say it was the people that I met along the way that really added that something special; so many memories. What a country.
Talking of people, for anyone reading this that doesn’t usually follow us, our show is always focused around the people that we meet on our travels, and this year we’re focusing on celebrating great Australian road trips. Up in Katherine in the NT I spent the day with Tom, a country singing cowboy from Katherine Outback Experience – seriously the guy is like a horse/dog/all-animals-in-general “whisperer”.
I had such a brilliant day hanging out with Tom and his fiancé Annabel, learning about their life on the land. There is just so much to see and do in Australia – it would take a lifetime to experience it all (but we’re giving it a crack).
We also made it up to the Whitsunday’s and did an incredible road trip along the coast there – it was our son Harry’s first ‘Places We Go’ trip and it was such a fantastic introduction. You can’t go past the tropical weather and palm trees of this part of Australia. To walk along Whitehaven Beach and go snorkelling with the family was an absolute delight.
Margaret River is another one of my favourite places in WA, with friendly locals and wonderful food and wine to be tasted. It was the first time I had eaten truffles and I was in heaven – the local people were so passionate about their region and the local produce it was intoxicating.
Big question – do you and Jen flip a coin to decide who is going where?!
Not quite but I think it would be easier if we did!
We both love being on the road, but it’s never that simple. Producing a TV show is actually a lot more work than it may seem when you’re sitting back on the couch (or online these days!) and with such a small team, we all have our roles to make it work. But you are right, I have been away a lot this year, maybe it means Jen is scheming up some big trip next year?! It’s a juggle. We also have our children to consider, sometimes we take them and other times one of us stays home.
Over the years, you have been on so many PWG adventures around the world. Tell us about your top 3 and why
An impossible question, and the one everyone always asks.
I’ve already mentioned Canada (above) so I get to pick three more now!
Antarctica is number one. Just incredible. Like no other destination on earth. The wildlife that comes right up to you, the giant icebergs that creak as they roll in the water, a silence that was accompanied by lapping of water, or the sound of a whale moving around our zodiacs. I felt completely insignificant. I find it a really hard place to put into words, but a good friend of mine described it as ‘emotional’ and I completely agree. It was emotional.
Trekking in Nepal is second for me. Trekking through the Annapurna mountains and meeting the locals along the way is an incredible experience – they were so welcoming so us travellers. I loved stopping off in the tiny villages for a lemon tea; children were always playing; the sound of the donkeys with their bells as they moved past us. I also loved visiting Chitwan National Park, and flying over Everest, which gave me a whole new appreciation of people I know who’ve actually climbed it.
Thirdly, I would say swimming with the Whale Sharks in Ningaloo Reef off the coast of Exmouth in WA. This completely blew my mind; a combination of anticipation, exhilaration, and sheer awe.
I will never forget the moment we spotted it (they use spotter planes). As soon as our boat got the call over the radio and there was this intense flurry of activity as we all scrambled to zip up our wetsuits. Seriously, before I even knew to feel a little worried about what we were about to do we were in the water. My breathing was so loud. I had no idea what I was doing. But then just put my head under to see where it might be, and it was literally next to me. I will never get over not only how enormous it was. It felt like it was the size of a high rise building, kind of storming through the water, yet so graceful at the same time. I have recommended this trip to all of my friends over and over!
Name a moment on your travels that has made your hair stand on end
Being chased by an elephant while filming in Kruger National Park, South Africa!
We were on foot with a tracker and a guide looking for the ‘Big Five’ – the African Elephant, Rhinoceros, Lion, Leopard and Buffalo….
I know what you’re thinking… this is pure madness and why would we put ourselves in this position….? I still ask myself that question to this day! But when you’re filming, you are so focused on the adventure, and besides we were with experienced tour guides. Right?
The morning had started slowly with sightings of insects, leopard paw prints in the sand and a plant that you could use if you ran out of toilet paper…. Useful information but not what we were after as far as capturing the wild animals in action for our TV show, if you know what I mean.
Our guide Yani saw a herd of elephants in the distance and as a group we decided nudge a little closer towards them for a look. Yani instructed we kind of tack ‘upwind’, like when you’re sailing, as elephants have an incredible sense of smell and we clearly didn’t want to disturb them.
We managed to make a little ground for a better look and set up to film.
As Yani whispered into camera, I grabbed the camera out of the bag to try and get a few pics aswell as TV footage. But as I looked around, all of a sudden every hair stood up on my body. I had a moment where I realised what we were doing. Here we were in the middle of the Kruger National Park on foot surrounded by the most dangerous animals on the planet, with just a couple of friendly guides.
I swear the blood drained out of my entire body.
My instinct was right.
All I remember is seeing an enormous elephant charging through the trees towards us, with its giant ears flapping ferociously. The next few moments felt like they were in slow motion. We ran with the tracker away from the elephant, while Yani calmly stepped towards it. What a nerve this man had!
The elephant calmed down, we left, and yes it was captured on film (well, as best we could)
Tell us what happens on location when the camera stops rolling?
Does the camera ever stop rolling? We’re usually filming from sun up to sun down, and often long after.
While we plan the things we film on our shoots, pretty much like anyone does for a holiday (things to do etc) we are always open to things changing. You never want to be so set in your ways that you miss a great story unfolding right in front of you.
Often when we do get to the end of the day, we’ll find ourselves plonked somewhere amazing filming the sun set, and if we’ve planned it well we’ll have a beer with us and take five minutes to marvel at where we are. Then we’re all so stuffed, we have pretty early nights, and get up the next day and do it all again. The very nature of a travel show, you just find yourself in remarkable places; and for us its usually something to do with mother nature!
You don’t just get to travel to amazing places and host Places We Go – what else do you do to bring it all alive?
There is a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work that goes into making the series from dreaming up where we’ll go, to getting our crew on the road and filming, then we roll into editing; website blogs and lots of fun competitions, social media, all sorts of videos for many different partners… the list goes on and on…
What is the best thing about making Places We Go?
Traveling to the most incredible places on the planet and meeting the passionate locals that bring the place alive. Our tagline has always been ‘It’s not just the places you go but the people you meet that capture our heart’. I’ve been blown away by the locals who generously share their love of their backyards on camera with us, and bring their patch of the world to life on our show. For me this is the magic, and what makes the show so special.
I could be here all day naming all the people I have met on my travels this year that really brought them alive. We will often talk about trips from years ago, and we’ll always be able to pluck a name out of nowhere. They stick with you. It’s often a person who runs a small travel experience. They are just so passionate when they share what they love about a place, or what they’re doing. It’s awesome. I love sharing their stories with the world, it’s the best.
When you are not travelling for PWG, what kind of holiday do you like to take for yourself?
It’s funny, you’d think after a decade of filming a travel show (and writing a travel book!) we’d have holidays down pat. But we really don’t. It’s always a dilemma, as we always want to make sure we’re creating family memories (oh the pressure!!!).
I know we’re not alone with this, as everyone always wants to cut out the noise online and just be told where to go and what to do! (We are actually working on a project at the moment around this.. so stay tuned on that).
Anyway, that being said at the moment with such young kids (and being so busy) I love the simplicity of beach holidays with the family where we can just hang out and relax and play in the sun and surf and find cool stuff to do in a particular area.
I also love to exercise early, so these days that can mean taking a walk with our little Harry in the pram or going for a run. My other holiday indulgence is sneaking an hour where I can settle in with a good book. The rest of the day is usually spent exploring an area for some fun things to do, or just hanging about playing beach cricket, building sandcastles with the kids, before firing up the barby. Isn’t Australia the best?
Any destination on your bucket list that you have not yet been to?
Of course! Even after spending ten years on the road travelling across Australia there are still so many places I’d love to visit… Lorde Howe Island is one of them. Internationally, I’d love to travel through Morocco; I’d can see us taking the kids there.
Name one destination that you recommend PWG followers should put on their list
Freycinet National Park in Tasmania. It’s a seriously stunning part of the world. A great spot to go camping, or stay in a lodge, or one of the boutique hotels.
I love the simplicity of the place. Home to famous Wineglass Bay (voted one of the top ten beaches in the world) there’s lots of different walks, you can go for a paddle right up to the famous pink Hazards, and did I mention the seafood? You can eat oysters straight from the sea. Tassie is a cracker. (we always feel replenished when we are in the outdoors).
Tell us something about Jen that many of our followers might not know!
Many people reading this probably know this considering what she has accomplished with PWG but Jen is incredibly passionate about capturing and bringing the stories we film on the road to life, and will move heaven and earth to make it happen.
She feels a great sense of responsibility to share the stories we film, and wishes our time slot was much longer as, to her dismay, there is much that has to be left out…
If she could turn each story into an IMAX she would.
Jen hates flying. She was nearly killed in a chopper crash when we filmed Series 3 around Australia. I knew how important it was to her to finish the series when we took a helicopter flight a few weeks after the incident to view the Twelve Apostles. As she gripped my hand, tears were streaming down her face, but she just wanted to keep going, as though nothing had happened. I knew then that she wasn’t going to let anything or anyone stand in her way of bringing our show to life. I was blown away by her courage.
Other things people may not know about her is, she can kick a good drop punt but doesn’t like oysters, science fiction movies or being beaten at scrabble or poker.
And finally, do you think your kids Charli (9) and Harrison (1) will be a) travellers or b) footballers J
Is there a c) dancers? They both love music and dancing in our house! I swear we must drive our neighbours crazy with the music at 7am as the concerts start that early!
Charli loves her basketball and her cousin Emily is a very good footy player, so you just never know!
Harry is all about dancing, playing the piano and reading at the moment (although I’ve secretly tried getting him to kick a football here and there.. give me some time J)
Like all kids, they love travelling (Harry has only been on a few trips so far, but he really came alive, especially on a recent trip to a farm holiday park in Margaret River). Charli is totally seasoned. She’s been on the road since she was 3 months old, so whenever we’re getting ready to go away, she’s the first to have her bags packed, all in order (ready for our chaotic schedule no doubt). She often asks if we can go back to Broome to see the camels at sunset, or back up to Arnhem Land to see the big serpent (Aboriginal Rock Art); I think travel will always be in their blood; she’s already planning a trip to New York with her best friend when they are 18!!!
As with the footy side of things, if they both want to play footy I will be the first on the sidelines cheering for them, that’s for sure.
Do you have any questions of your own for Clint? Drop them in the comments below and he will reply directly!