Insights on Travel from Costa Rica Expeditions’ Founder Michael Kaye and his Expert Friends.

The Race to Amazing.

The Amazing Race is the only television show that I dislike.  The reason that I do not dislike any other shows is that I have not watched any other shows enough to dislike them.  But I only had to watch the first half of one episode to amazing race to dislike it intensely.

For those of you who are as out of touch with U.S. popular culture as I am, the idea of the show is that couples race through many of the world most beautiful and interesting places. Before they can go on to the next place they have to complete some ridiculous task. Whoever gets to the finish faster wins.

Here’s a clip that I found online that will give you more than enough of an idea.

To sum up, The Amazing Race is to a worthwhile vacation what an all the hotdogs you can eat contest is to fine dining.

So the show I would like to see would be an anti Amazing Race. I’m calling it The Race to Amazing. The idea is that travelers would spend time in a beautiful interesting place where their experiences would be recorded on video.  The winner would be the person who has the most profound amazing experiences.

I don’t know how this could be brought about.  But if the idea resonates with you, please let me know and share your ideas about how it could be made into a reality.  After all they do call it a reality show.

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8 Comments and 2 Replies

  • At September 19, 2010
    9:59:04 pm
    Jennifer Fletcher said:

    Just read Chris Parrott’s comments.Ouch! But if Benny Hill & Brits behaving badly on the Costa Brava are the type of thing he means,as a fellow Brit I feel qualified to agree with him!

    I hardly ever watch TV.In the last 2years,I’ve watched “Emma” & Wallander”,the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, World Cup soccer,”Dog Town”& Paul McCartney at the White House.That’s it.

    I didn’t like Michael’s video clip at first – but then realized I’d really like to try catapulting melons…..
    However,I’d much prefer visiting Medieval castles than engaging in Medieval battles.

    Now – what would qualify as amazing ,profound experiences?Could be really great – or horrendous, when you think about it.

    • I love the hot dog analogy, but I have to admit that I submitted an application for the Amazing Race several years ago. My friend and I didn’t make it in, and ironically our friendship ended afterward even without a stressful around the world jaunt. Nonetheless, I was attracted to the show by the challenge of the unknown. Getting shipped off to mysterious locations rapidly and being left to rely on your own instincts and resolve seemed like a very appealing sort of adventure.

      If it makes you feel better, I hardly watched the show then, and haven’t since I applied. ;)

      As for the Race to Amazing, who’s to judge which impact is more “profound” than the next? Now that’s a challenge!

      Max

      • At September 17, 2010
        12:52:55 pm
        Patty said:

        Hi Michael, We LOVE the Amazing Race! It has its share of Ugly Americans abroad moments and can never give a full picture of its destinations, but it also offers some contestants their first opportunities to travel away from home, and many the chance to experience things they only dreamed of before. To see the wonder and astonishment in their eyes – that’s the sensation we’re all seeking when we travel. Over and over you see people’s judgments and stereotypes melt away. It also forges bonds within the pairs – parents and children, siblings, friends, spouses, work out their fears and frustrations with varying degrees of success. And people go outside their comfort zones in every way – confronting heights, water, heat, bugs, language and culture barriers – a great message for those sitting around at home. Our 9 year old loves it for the scenery, the competition, seeing people overcome their fears, and the examples of good vs poor sportsmanship. It makes her want to get up and go! Give it a try, Michael – there’s more there than meets the eye. :-)

        • At September 17, 2010
          3:34:16 pm
          Michael Kaye replied
          to Patty:

          Patty,
          I literally only watched it for a few minutes, got annoyed and stopped watching. On your say so I will certainly give it another try. It will be the first time in living memory that I ever made a snap judgement and been wrong, but you never know :-) . Can you tell when it is on and the station? Thanks.

        • At September 16, 2010
          5:45:12 am
          Elisa Dunn said:

          Great idea – but how do you sell it? It seems people only like to watch hardship & misery. That’s why I live in NYC & still don’t know what’s going on – I don’t even own a TV.

          • At September 16, 2010
            5:48:41 am
            Michael Kaye replied
            to Elisa Dunn:

            Elisa,
            I have no idea how to seller. Perhaps the it would be better to give it free to its very tiny audience. See Chris Parrot’s comment below.

          • At September 14, 2010
            6:09:55 pm
            Judy Fairchild said:

            Hi Michael,
            I enjoyed your post, and I agree that the show is to travel what all you can eat hot dogs are to dining. On the other hand, it’s a great teaching tool to play with kids. We watch it as a family sometimes. It’s easy to point out the behaviors that earn American tourists their reputation. It functions as a visual atlas, so long as you have a real atlas or globe nearby. It serves to point out what teamwork, and team sabotage actually looks like. We can point out that some experience with the language gives you an edge– both in the race and in the way people perceive you. When my 12 and 8 year old children stood up waiting to get off a plane when it was obvious that the rows we were sitting in were going to be a while, it gave me a chance to say, “chill, guys… this isn’t the amazing race. we’ll all get where we are going.”

            It looks like you are going to be stateside for a month this fall. We’d be happy to set you up with a southeastern eco-tour of our own. Let us know if you’ll be anywhere near Charleston!

            Thanks, Judy

            • At September 14, 2010
              1:11:11 pm
              Jay said:

              I like the Amazing Race. I think you are empathizing with the contestants too much. The show is for our enjoyment, not theirs. They have to do silly (hopefully entertaining) things for our benefit, not theirs. Their reward is being on tv and possibly winning a lot of money. It is not to visit interesting places, that is only a byproduct. It is definitely not a vacation for them. I like the show because it provides a glimpse of interesting places some of which I may have visited or may like to in the future.

              • At September 14, 2010
                11:07:26 am
                Louis Walsdorf said:

                Amazing race is my favorite show on tv. I am a traveler and like to see the places they go to. It is a competition that sometimes gets silly but as far as the other junk on tv, I think this one is good. I would love to become a contestant on the show and am waiting for the next time they have applicants. My only problem is I have a fear of heights and they make you do some scary stuff. I was a whimp in costa rica who would not go on the zipline! Costa Rica is still one of my favorite places.

                • At September 14, 2010
                  10:14:14 am
                  Chris Parrott said:

                  Well I have to come clean here Michael, you can thank UK television for these reality TV shows. If you think the clip you sent is the pits, you really don’t want to be subjected to the drivel we get over here. As they say here (maybe they say it there too) – no-one has ever gone bust by over-estimating the depths to which the bad taste of the British public can sink.