I was running out to lunch when I saw Phil Keoghan, host of The Amazing Race, walk past me with the travel show staff. Just a regular guy with his carry-on. He was stopped by the local news to answer a few questions so I stood behind to listen. He said “Philly is a place of passion” and that the Amazing Race “shows that travel is safe” and “there is a lot of the world to see”. All so true.
When I returned from Reading Terminal (across the street from the Convention Center) every seat was full so I had to stand way in the back to listen to Phil’s inspirational talk. Taking a read of his audience, he asked “How many had visited New Zealand, his birthplace”, I was surprised (and proud) by the number of hands raised along with mine. Then he mentioned his favorite sport of cricket – “How many people know about cricket?” -my hand again went up and, in this case, I was the lone person with a raised hand! Even Phil was surprised by this “just one hand, really?” (Sorry Phil, this is Eagles territory)
The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race….how many of us have dreamed of participating in it? Thought “I could do that” Well, I have always thought it would be fun (except the whole eating live bugs, crunchy bugs on sticks and other “good for you protein” sources) but I’d be out of the race the minute I hit a food challenge (bye-bye a million dollars!). Last year I ran my own unexpected race to JFK with my niece – that was enough insight to know that racing around the world in 21 days is crazy difficult (12 shows in 21 days!), the fact that it’s all coach flying is just insane! I’ve been fascinated by the show since it started and after Phil’s talk, I’m now convinced that CBS needs to do a behind the scenes show of Phil’s race from city to city. He spoke of barely making it to the mat himself a few times (being stuck at Immigration, sleeping in an airport, etc.). He is definitely not living the 5 star life on the road as he showed a photo of himself washing his hair in the gas station parking lot with curious onlookers as well as a bit of fun with the airport baggage carousel.
And then he shared his stories of when his driver got lost based on the directions to turn at the elephant in the road (well of course the elephant walked away) and they pulled up to the pit stop just as another team was arriving so he had to run up to the mat, quickly say “hi” to the local greeter and welcome “team number one”. I feel like I want to go back to that episode to see how he handled it since the viewer doesn’t get the back story of his travels.
Face Your Fears by Going Toward Them
Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, his family moved to Antigua when he was young so he had to learn to assimilate. While Phil talked about some of the Amazing Race tidbits, his focus was to tell us about his life and how he has lived every moment to the fullest. At a young age, he had a near death experience which changed his life and prompted him to make his first “list for life” of crazy thrill seeking things to do. A list of things to do, a bucket list of sorts to take advantage of every opportunity presented – no opportunity wasted! This is the title of his new book “No Opportunity Wasted” meant to share his experiences and propel the reader to move forward with their own lists of things to do/see/experience. To face your fears by going toward them. In the “Don’t do this at Home” category in my opinion is the when he went swimming in the Bosphorus in Turkey from Asia to Europe (aka Istanbul), a distance of one mile but he drifted more than three miles before he was rescued (if you’ve been to Istanbul you know that there are a lot of ships in the water to worry about). A more doable yet still crazy option (because he could) – obtaining his Reindeer Racing license which involved skiing 30 mph in a loop and not falling down.
Do Things Different Is What I’m About
He shared stories of days being a reporter and feeding sharks on live tv underwater (back when his accent was so much stronger). He talked about golfing from one side of Scotland to the other in over 12k shots and ending at St. Andrew’s in a kilt with his friend and family. Of hiking up 3,000 feet an active volcano in Stromboli with a local 5 star chef to make dinner for he and his wife while the volcano erupted in the background right on cue with the video! The less active but still adventurous story involved a couple at a nudist colony asking him to attend the ceremony which he did. When the happy couple wanted to cast their butts in plaster, they invited Phil to do the same (he called it his maximus gluteus) and brought it home to his wife. His wife has a great sense of humor and is using it as a salad bowl! Funny stories from his life. Stories that are capturing the joy of the world and opportunities around him.
My Time to Dream Crazy
“Use your Imagination as Currency” is a great way to think about life. I bought his book (let’s be honest, I wanted to meet him so I bought the book) and had a few quick words with him. Now as I embark on a new chapter of my life, I’ll see what kind of lists I start to make for myself and with others. I’m looking forward to seeing where my opportunities and new connections take me. It probably won’t be the Amazing Race but meeting Phil was pretty cool start to my new adventure. Phil is definitely “doing things differently” and why not? NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) is his motto and I think it should be ours too!