Metal Life Exclusive Interview With Explorer Josh Gates, Host Of “Expedition Unknown”
1) Is there anything that you have changed in the show between season one and two?
Season 2 of “Expedition Unknown” is BIGGER. We’re traveling farther, exploring deeper, and going truly off-the-map to explore the greatest legends on earth. From the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal to Africa’s Kalahari desert, this season is filled with huge adventures. Even the stories are bigger. For our season premiere, we’re tackling King Arthur. This is one of the greatest stories in the world, but the question is: was he real, or just a myth? We’ll be undertaking an epic journey across England, Wales, and Scotland, and what we find may change how you think of this legendary king.
2) With all of the travel and research you need to devote to the show, how many hours of you and your crew’s time do you need to invest into each episode?
Each episode takes about 10 days to shoot. Sometimes longer if the expedition calls for it. This season, we’re traveling deep into Mongolia’s backcountry to search for the long-lost tomb of Genghis Khan. For that trip, we needed nearly two weeks just to get to the location and back!
3) What would you say is the greatest challenge in shooting shows like Expedition Unknown and Destination Truth?
Marrying all of the needs of a television show with the realities of expedition-style travel. We’ve attached cameras to robotic underwater vehicles, safari jeeps, and even a treasure hunting dog! Right now we’re in the wilds of Africa, trying to keep all the dust and sand from destroying our gear. It’s a huge challenge, but capturing the adventure is hugely rewarding.
4) Even though you have been in over 90 countries, have you ever been discouraged or blocked from filming in a particular country by government officials?
Every location has its own challenges. Some places are easy to film, others require a huge amount of negotiating, permits, and paperwork. This season we’ll be searching for the truth behind Blackbeard’s treasure, and we were thrilled to be granted permission to film the remains of his sunken flagship, which are being excavated off the North Carolina coast. We were also granted incredibly rare access to film in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Israel, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. These aren’t places you can just waltz into with a film crew, so I’m incredibly excited to share them with our viewers!
5) Have you ever stopped filming an episode of Expedition Unknown because it became too dangerous or too much to handle?
Thankfully, no – though we have had a few close calls. Our diving in the muddy Yangon River in Myanmar was probably the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done in my life. This season, we’ll be trekking into some of the most remote territory on earth in search of mysterious caves in Nepal and diving in shark infested waters in the East China Sea to explore the “Japanese Atlantis.” If you don’t hear back from us…send help.
7) Back in your college days, did you ever think or hope that you would be doing what you are today?
Back in my college days, I was just trying to get a girlfriend. If you’d told me I’d be running around the planet looking for lost civilizations, buried treasure, and vanished explorers, I would have told you to put the bong down.
8) How many days a year are you away from home? How do you handle the time away?
This year, I’ll be abroad for more than 200 days. For that entire time, I live out of one bag and don’t get to see my family or friends back at home. I’m certainly not complaining, since I think “Expedition Unknown” is the opportunity of a lifetime, but like any job, it can be difficult. Mostly I focus on the work and the day at hand. If I look too far ahead, it’s easy to get homesick.
9) Who would you cite as your biggest influences in adventuring and life in general?
My father, my grandfather…Oh, and Indiana Jones.
10) Where would you like to see yourself in, say, 5 years as far as your career is concerned?
In a plush leather chair by a crackling fire reading a good book. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll probably be in some sweltering market eating fried spiders for lunch.
Season 2 starts Oct 7th, here is a sneak peek:
Travel Channel’s witty explorer, Josh Gates, returns for a brand-new season of the hit series “Expedition Unknown” on Wednesday, October 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, seeking answers to some of the world’s most captivating unsolved stories and legends. Gates is on a mission to find the truth behind each iconic legend, digging through years of historical evidence, facts and myths. Leaving no stone unturned, his adventures take him around the globe as he immerses himself in the core locales linked to each tale. From excavating ruins in search of the real Robin Hood to sailing the high seas investigating Christopher Columbus and exploring Nepal’s “sky caves” for Shangri La, Gates’ archaeological background and ubiquitous sense of humor generate a new take on age-old stories. Season Two of “Expedition Unknown” is comprised of 19 hour-long episodes and one two-hour special, plus seven hour-long repack episodes.
“This season, we’re traveling further, digging deeper and getting into even crazier situations (don’t tell my mom),” says Gates. “From the forbidden mountains of outer Mongolia to the punishing deserts of western Africa, we’re going off the map investigating the greatest legends in history. I’m a big believer that the best travel experiences aren’t always easy, and they certainly aren’t predictable. I never know where the expedition is headed next or whom I’ll meet along the way. Every story is an adventure.”