The Great Global Bucket List: Interview with Robin Esrock

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The ultimate bucket list with Robin Esrock

We sat down with the bestselling travel author and National Geographic/OLN TV host Robin Esrock to talk all things travel and his latest project The Great Global Bucket List. 

Rad Season: Hi Robin, tell us a bit about yourself

Robin: I’m a somewhat normal bloke who makes a rather abnormal living writing for major newspapers and magazines around the world, hosting a 40-part National Geographic TV series, and penning bestselling books about unique, bucket list experiences.

How did you get into travel writing?

I was run down by a car on the way to my increasingly soul crushing desk job. I hobbled away with a broken kneecap, a $20K insurance settlement, and the painful reminder to start ticking off my bucket list. I quit my job and went travelling, blogging about my journey, which led to columns and articles and a TV show and books. Sometimes life is just an accident waiting to happen.

You’ve been to over 100 countries which of those would you love to go back to and why?

All of them, truthfully. I’ve only managed to tick off the tip of the proverbial metaphor, so to speak, even those I’ve returned to on multiple occasions. Every journey will be different, and the more you look the more you find.

The Philippines

Are there any particular festivals around the world that stand out?

The Katharagama Festival in Sri Lanka was incredible. Hundreds of thousands of people celebrating three major religions in peace, fire, and spectacle. Mardi Gras is in my book, as is Carnaval in Rio, and the Fringe Fest in Edinburgh. The media continues to miss the point of Burning Man in Nevada, which belongs on everybody’s bucket list.

What’s your favorite town for adventure activities?

Whistler, the largest ski resort in North America Can’t beat the ski season, but the mountain biking, ziplining, climbing and hiking in summer is exceptional too.

Which thrill-seeking activities stand out?

In my book I tick off cage diving with crocodiles, the world’s highest bungee jump in Macau, spelunking beneath the streets of Budapest, the terrifying cliffside plank path in China, sandboarding down an active volcano in Nicaragua, paragliding in Turkey, camping on the ice in Antarctica, racing horses in Mongolia, ordering the number 2 from a toilet themed restaurant in Taiwan….

Camp on Ice in Antarctica – Photo by Jeff Topham

What brought on the inspiration for writing your latest book The Great Global Bucket List?

There’s so much bad news in the world. The media love war and economic crisis and political corruption and celebrity divorces. There’s hardly any room for the good news, a platform for inspiring activities, destinations, characters and stories. This book is an antidote to the over-the-top fearmongering in our 24/7 news cycle age.

The truth is the world is beautiful, friendly and welcoming. I wanted to write a book that would appeal to all ages and interests, inspiring ideas, laughs and unusual trivia.

Any major travel plans at the moment, where next?

I’m coming to Australia next week to run in the Melbourne Marathon, and give a free talk about the Bucket List at World Expeditions in Sydney, 6pm on October 20.

What else would still like to experience?

I’d love to travel the Silk Road, which has such a vast history and sees very little tourist traffic. And I’d love to take my kids on some exotic adventures. I think they’d go nuts for Southeast Asia.

Any advice for those travelling for the first time and those that are seasoned travellers?

I did a TEDx talk about some of the greater truths I’ve picked up on my travels. It includes the importance of the people that surround you, smiling, being patient and open-minded, trusting your instinct, and truly believing that wherever you are is where you’re supposed to be. Before you pack anything, pack the right state of mind.

Burial Cave in Cook Islands

Robin has visited over 100 countries in search of the world’s best experiences. His latest book, The Great Global Bucket List (Affirm Publishing) is a personal journey to unique adventures, fascinating history, cultural spectacles, inspiring natural wonders, and unforgettable characters – proving modern travel is so much more than just over-trafficked tourist attractions.

For more information head to:

Twitter: @robinesrock
FB: Global Bucket List
Blog: Robin Esrock

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Oli Russell-Cowan

The concept for Rad Season came about when I was trekking around Latin America. I found it difficult to find cool events and festivals going on that were a bit different and had an element of adventure and general radness to them. I knew that there was always something rad worth going to somewhere in the world, but there was no single platform bringing them together for like-minded people. With over 15 years experience in international business development, spanning multiple industries including action sports, events, media, digital, ICT, travel and tourism, I decided to combine them all with Rad Season.


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