By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
3:47 PM EDT, September 27, 2011
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Richard Wiese, field scientist and host of ABC's travel program "Born to Explore" (based on his 2009 book of the same name), literally was born to explore. His father was the first man to fly solo around the Pacific Ocean. At age 11, Wiese and his father climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and when he got older, Wiese led numerous expeditions there. Wiese, who has been to all seven continents, lives in Connecticut with his wife and three young children.
Q: What tidbit can you offer about your latest travels?
A: We did a really great story in Australia recently. Did you know that the largest herd of wild camels lives in Australia?
Q: What would people be surprised to hear about you?
A: I have a thing about my electric toothbrush. I remember brushing my teeth with it on the North Pole.
Q: What are your memories of traveling as a child?
A: My father was a pilot for Pan Am and later United, and he had a fantastic career. He afforded us a really interesting life of travel. I didn't realize things were out of the ordinary to go flying to all these places. In the summer, he'd ask, "Do you feel like coming to Germany with me tonight?" And I'd say, "OK." For a while I'd fly to the west coast of Africa for weekends. Travel always followed me. I flew in an era when I wore a jacket and tie on the plane. The whole airport experience these days has become such an unpleasant experience.
Q: What part of the United States would you recommend?
A: One of the best bargains in travel right now is the Florida Everglades. It's a really neat outdoor adventure and a great place for families.
Q: Have you taken any trips that were life changing?
A: Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica. I was in Iceland looking at the aurora borealis, and you can't help but be moved by that.
Q: Which country gets a bad rap as a vacation spot?
A: Iceland! It's a great travel destination and is a lot closer than most people think. It's only a five-hour flight from New York. And it's not as cold as everyone thinks it is.
Q: Where would you like to spend more time?
A: I've never been through Southeast Asia, and I'd like to go there.
Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A: I always take a thumb drive that I put all my credit card information on and passport pictures. So if I lose a passport, it's something that I can access easily and get all my info. Hand sanitizer, especially for adventure trips. I wear wool socks and underwear. It's anti-microbial. I just got an iPad, and that's pretty neat to use instead of a laptop. I also have this tiny travel scale to weigh my luggage so I know that I'm not over the limit. Converters are super-important too. And soft earplugs because there's always someone who snores like a 747.
For more from the reporter, visit jaehakim.com.
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