With the gentle craziness of lockdown 2.0 slowly taking ahold, a lot of us are turning to travel shows to ignite our wanderlust and none is more inspiring than the BBC's Race Across the World .
Over the past 2 years a number of adventuring couples have been given the chance to race across 1000s of miles , crossing a number of locations rarely touched by Western tourists.
We caught up with Alex Speck-Zolte , half of the father son duo from series 1 . Starting from London they raced across Europe and Asia to Singapore over the course of 50 days . There were 3 main rules of the race - no flights allowed, no smart phones / cards and mod cons and on a budget of £ 1300 ! The winning team gets a prize of £ 20,000 between them!
What made you apply to Race Across the World & who's idea was it to travel with your Dad?
I didn't actually apply for the show, my Dad (Darron) saw an advert on Facebook from Studio Lambert asking for people apply to apply for a new travel show. It said "race to the Far East to be apart of an amazing adventure". So my Dad applied he had a phone call saying it's going to be duos is there anyone he can think of. After mentioning me, a week later I got a call from the studio.
What was your initial feeling when you were given the task at Greenwich & handed over your phone?
After told we were going to have an early start in the morning, we had a car waiting for us outside the hotel. With no clue as to where we were going, it was still pitch black and it wasn't until lunch time we knew where we were.
We had to give over our phones and were told wouldn't have them back until the end of the race, which was worrying at first but then it just felt normal over time, during the journey, not having one. We still didn't know where we were heading, until we opened the letter which told us our destination. Our genuine reaction was filmed - its was the first time we found out that we were going to attempt to go travel to Singapore from London with no phone, no credit card and just over £ 1,300!
What were your thoughts on that first leg to Delphi, especially after that gruelling coach journey to Germany?
If I'm honest the first leg was a tough one for me. At first I didn't know what I signed up for I didn't realize how tough it was going to be. The journey from London to Düsseldorf wasn't that bad because we was traveling at night and saved on accommodation - which became one of our main tactics during the race.
Is there anything that you wish had been captured on camera? What happened behind the scenes that you wish had been shown?
From the first series there was only 6 - 1 hour long - episodes out of 50 days, between 4-5 teams, so there's going to be a lot not shown. There were tons of scenes which I wish had been broadcast, like Dad and I traveling through Georgia with Josh and Felix (another team) on the coach which would go round blind bends on a mountain top road, trying to overtake cars! It was crazy! There was also a moment where Dad and I had to share a single bed in a 5 * hotel in Chengdu, China, after the flower job. There was loads which hit the editing room floor ... I'd love to see an 'unseen bits' episode.
What was your highlight of the trip?
I have tons of highlights from my trip ... it's hard to choose a single one. But I think the main one being finally making it to Singapore, with the money we had left I didn't think it would be possible! But also working at an elephant sanctuary - that was incredible. Working at the sugarcane stand in Vietnam that was an amazing experience and of course, staying at the beautiful places we did at the checkpoints.
What was the lowlight of the experience?
Of course with adventures there are always going to be down points. For me, the worst part of the journey was being stuck on the Caspian Sea for 5 days! It was a really old styled boat the food was absolutely terrible, it was all sloppy and it just didn't taste right. We even started to run out of water in the 4th night! It was the best feeling getting off the boat and reaching Kazakhstan. If it wasn't for my Dad, Shameema, Natalie, Josh, Felix, Tony and Elaine (the other racers) I don't know if I would have carried on.
You were a close second in the Race, when you reached Singapore, what was your feeling?
The gap was further than shown on TV, the editing made it look a lot closer but, in the end, we were 2 hours behind of Tony and Elaine (the eventual winning team), but I was just relieved we actually made it, with the money we had left I really wasn't sure if we was going to make it to the end.
What traveling have you done since?
Since getting back in December 2018, I have only been away once and that was this year in August with my Dad to Sardinia. You can check out the video on the trip on my YouTube channel.
Video credit: Alex Speck-Zolte
What are your future traveling plans? Would you like to do another trip with your Dad?
I currently don't have any traveling plans, the same as a lot of people right now. But I'm hoping to get away a couple of places in 2021 - depending on Brexit and Coronavirus. But I definitely want to go somewhere in Europe by myself for the first time! But yeah, I'd love to do another trip with my Dad.
COVID-19 has affected everyone in 2020. For those wanting to make 2021 extra adventurous, what tips, tricks and money saving hacks would you have for anyone wanting to head out on an adventure like yours?
COVID-19 has affected a lot of people's travel plans for 2020, here's hoping things are better in 2021. I would recommend to get away at some point and experience somewhere new. If people were wanting to save money, I'd recommend staying away from the more popular tourist destinations because, in our experience, they are more expensive. Also, speak to local people, find out where they eat and stay to get more of an inside knowledge of the place. And my biggest tip would be speak to strangers for help if you need it, if it wasn't for the kindness of strangers we would have never made it to Singapore!
And finally, because we have to mention it, how has COVID affected you and your plans?
COVID-19 has affected me as I was working at a pub when lockdown hit, so I lost my job. I'm really hoping things are much better next year so I can travel to a few different places. I miss traveling a lot, there's just no better feeling.
Thanks to Alex for taking the time to chat to us. If you want to keep up with his (and sometimes his Dad's) adventures you can follow Alex on Instagram and subscribe to his YouTube channel . Alex uploads a new video each Sunday.