We had the honor of sitting down with Alex Boylan to discuss his latest project Around The World For Free. Here’s what he had to say:
Can you tell me a little bit about the Around The World For Free project is going to work?
It’s a daily online interactive show. So, on the 18th I leave live on the Early Show, and I set off trying to circum navigate the globe. What happens is every day we will wake up and video update. It’ll be the first thing we do in the morning, and at that point and time it’s more of this is what has happened in the past twenty-four hours, this is where we are trying to get to, this is where we give a shout out to the audience who have helped out, and just my update to the audience. Once a week there will be a recap show as well on the site.
Now if you go to site that’s where people can write there own profile just like MySpace or any of these social networking sites. You can send me a message that I can get any where on the globe and say hey Alex, you know, you’re in Peru and my grandfather lives right down there and if you work in a coffee plantation for a day, you can get a free place to stay and to show you the town or what have you. So that’s where that interaction will take place.
What attracted you to this project originally?
You know, it’s, it’s this project was originally an evolution. It started, I’d say probably like two years ago, it was a conversation that I was having with a friend. I was actually living in Florida, and someone said, “Oh it’s easy for you to travel. You won this major race and you won some money.”
It never dawned on me, I have been blessed my whole life to travel. Way before the race I used to travel a lot more before I ever got into entertainment, and so I remember saying right there, I could start off with no money and make it around the world and that’s where it was like, I remember saying, that would make a really great idea for a show.
Blah, blah, blah, two, year, a year or so goes on, I am working on a surf documentary going on and documenting these, these travel shows. We were working a show in, El Salvador, and what we would do when we were done shooting for the day. When the crew was resting, we would take just one camera and we would go off and shoot these little segments. See we were just doing it for fun and we were looking at the footage at the end, and it was some of the best footage we’d get, because it just, when you don’t have such a large crew around you, we could just get access into these peoples’ homes in the barrios in El Salvador.
It was, it was really riveting and we were just like wow, and that came up again, we started talking about it, he’s like, you know, let’s do it. Right around that time I was in L.A., and Burt Roberts was getting done, one of the producers on the show, was finishing up a show on Fox and we were finishing up our documentary we where doing and we all started talking. At that point and time MySpace was becoming big and all the social networking sites, and we put two and two together. Instead of this just being a big show or documentary perhaps, it will, we turned into hey what if this were an interactive show with the audience involved. There was a hook, and I just decided to go. I said hey let’s do it.
Cool! Now how many people are going to be in the entire group traveling with you? I know you had mentioned it was going to be a bit smaller.
Right. There is one other person who’s going to be, that’s going to be Zsolt Luka. One other person is going to be documenting on the road. And the reason why that is I mean there is the production back home, you know, taking care of a lot of just the production that needs to be done. But, we feel that to do an honest shot at like getting places and access to places and traveling that, you know, we couldn’t do with a big crew.
Now is there anything your worried about when, when traveling? Any certain obstacles or anything?
Yeah, a lot of obstacles. A lot of things. I think it’s going to be right out of the gate it’s going to be very tough. This is such an innovative project, it’s really the first time an audience is like literally the producer of a show, they are really controlling from day to day. So before the audience really catches on to that I think it’s going to be a little bumpy ride, because we are going to have to just use my own resources without having any money trying to get from point A to point B. I think right out of the gates we’re going to head south, um, and try to get out of the country as soon we can. But we are going to go through Miami, try to go to the Caribbean, and to South America, is what we’ve been thinking, and that’s really, probably going to be one of the toughest obstacles. We are going to try to make it through the Caribbean right in the middle of hurricane season. So that’s going to be tough, going on an island.
Now, how do you communicate with people that don’t speak English?
Well not really. I mean the good thing is that Zsolt speaks five languages. I speak, well I should say two. I mean I speak Portuguese pretty well, I used to live in Brazil. I can get by on Spanish, and I took a little German in college. I used to live in Germany. I feel confident I’ve done a lot of work and travel a lot in South America and Central America, so I feel pretty confident in myself in Spanish to get around, but I’m I going to go out like have a full on conversation in Spanish, no. That’s for sure going to be an obstacle, but I feel the more you get out there you realize, there’s always people typically in English. It is the international language that people speak.
Now what’s your planned destination to end all of this at?
We are going to finish on the Early Show as well, so we’re starting in New York City and finish in New York City.
Does traveling like you did with The Amazing Race and like you are going to do with this project, change your views on the world or mankind at all?
Absolutely, I mean that’s really one of the main reasons why we are doing this project is that everyone involved from the producers to myself, have a huge passion for travel. I think that was one of the main pushes, really the, the big things that was made us say let’s go a head and do this. That we all feel like there is, you know, really a misconception of the world today that the people have on this world view. There are a lot of bad things going on with the war, but there are a lot of good things happening too. And so, we hope that this is like a humbling bridge, and like connecting the people and showing people what it’s really like out there in the world today. We hope that we are going to discover, you know, these corners of the earth and, and people and places that have never been shown before.
Now with Amazing Race did you find that people were nicer than you expected them to be in different parts of the world?
Absolutely. Like I said, I have been blessed to travel. With the Amazing Race, I used to live in Brazil, I’ve lived in Europe, I’ve lived in the Caribbean and so fortunately I already had that view, but The Amazing Race, it’s amazing, just gave me more of that. But, absolutely, I think that people are great around the world. I mean, a lot of times people say the toughest place is going to be the United States, because people are so busy. It’s amazing what happens when you go to these countries, some of the poorest places on earth people are the most generous. And they, it will be interesting. I really can’t say that the, the platform that we’re doing the show on, it’s going to play itself out. It’s going to be very interesting to see how it happens, but what I think that it’s going to be surprising how open, and friendly people are around the world.
Now if you had to pick one moment from all your travels that was the most memorable, what would you say it would be?
Of real travel, I mean it’s tough for me to put The Amazing Race in there because it’s just this big show and everything is produced and so obviously winning that was a pretty epic moment in my life, but really there was a point in, that we were shooting in El Salvador, this documentary and like I said it was the story I was just talking about actually, and we left the crew and just Zsolt and I got together, and we drove right into the most dangerous of El Salvador, right up into the Barrios and it was unbelievable. All these kids came out and started to ask me to come in there home, and literally we walked into these people’s homes, and there was nothing to these people’s homes. They were just inviting us in and showing us around like and you know there was like wood fires and it was pretty wild. So that would have to be the biggest moment that left an impression on me.
How would you say your life is different since winning The Amazing Race?
My life changed a lot in the since that what really got me, what opened my eyes to the world of entertainment. And my life before that was in international business, and I was more in the corporate kind of world. Ever since then I have been, you know, hosting shows and producing things. So for sure it opened my eyes to this the great world of media, and what a great medium that is to have to show people what is going through your head. So that’s probably it. I mean The Amazing Race just opened a lot of doors. When it comes to reality TV this was like five years ago that I did that, so there was not much out there.
There was, I think there was like one or two Survivors there, was one The Amazing Race, it wasn’t a lot of reality out there, so it was somewhat of a big deal back then. Production companies called me up and was like hey, would you like to do this. So, it for sure opened a ton of doors for me.
Do you see yourself staying in the entertainment industry?
Oh, yeah, I’m hooked. Ever since The Amazing Race I haven’t been doing anything else. Absolutely.
Do you think after having completed this project and, of course, after having done The Amazing Race that it is going to be difficult for you to stay in just one spot?
That’s a great question. My whole life has been difficult to stay in one spot. So, I, I do agree with the philosophy that the more you see the more you realize you really haven’t seen anything. At least that’s been true for me. The more I travel, the more I want to go see more. I think it must make you want to go see another culture and experience some more stuff and that this world we live in is a big world and there’s a lot of stuff out there. I don’t know where my mind set’s going to be at when we’ve done this whole thing, but I say yes. They’re going to want me to go keep exploring and keep showcasing this.
Interview By: Emma Loggins