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The Road Less Travelled – Series Synopsis
Premieres on Saturdays from 3 September at 21:00 (13×60’)
Jonathan Legg is back on The Road Less Travelled, seeking out exotic experiences all over the world. In this second series Jonathan takes a bike ride round Amsterdam, explores the art, architecture and history of the Taj Mahal, and searches for a mystical good luck charm in Jakarta. Plus, he follows in John Lennon’s footsteps in India, gets to grips with bajajs and geteks in Indonesia, and spars with a kickboxing legend in the Netherlands and a Muay Thai champion in Thailand. Join Jonathan as he puts the “beaten” into “off the beaten track”!
The Road Less Travelled – Schedule & Episode Synopsis
|THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
|Amsterdam to Morocco
|A leisurely bike ride around scenic Amsterdam comes to a violent conclusion at a gym where kickboxing legend Albert Kraus and MMA women’s champ Marloes Coenen challenge Jonathan to mano a mano.
|Jonathan explores the art, architecture and gripping history of the Taj Mahal Palace, where every notable figure, from President Clinton to John Lennon, has passed through.
|In the ‘Land of Smiles’, Jonathan has his smile wiped right off his face by the knees and elbows of a Muay Thai champ, but he regains his good will at the scenic and little understood festival of the river gods.
|Jonathan lands in the hectic capital city of Jakarta where he begins a search for a mystical good luck charm via the town’s eclectic transportation system, from bajajs to geteks.
|California is an absolute bonanza for sporting enthusiasts. Jonathan decides to take a week and see how many unusual, offbeat and extreme activities he can experience.
|Jonathan embarks on an extended tour through the Philippines. He hits the streets exploring the Colonial legacy in Spanish Intramuros, dodges around the hustle of Makati and ends up finding humanity in the slums of Tondo.
|Jonathan begins in Manila, seeking out divine protection and good luck charms on a visit to the Black Nazarene of Quiapo church.
|In a mall, Jonathan chances upon a unique dating campaign based around shoe selection.
|Grabbing a special kind of transportation, Jonathan goes on a unique journey through Hanoi, uncovering the city’s turbulent past and novelties of the present – including a massive, mystical creature lurking in the heart of town.
|In the world’s most populous city, Jonathan embarks on a quest to understand the new social dynamics of a modern society. Through robot conventions, high speed rail sushi restaurants, girl band geek fests, host clubs, and maid cafes the changing nature of relationships and connection is revealed in all its bizarre glory. But Tokyo’s relationship with its ghosts may be even more intriguing… our host peers deep down the well of the dead before emerging to find the secret core of the town’s most vibrant lives.
|During the Sengoku period Japan was the realm of warriors: Samurai, Ronin, Ninja. Jonathan looks to descend into the past by uncovering the little changed traditions of Bushido, training with ancient warfare’s most deadly weapons and learning the hush-hush art of deception. A trip to one coastline ends with a dark water plunge alongside a reclusive clan of female freedivers, pulling treasures from the deep under the protection of a generous goddess. A journey to the opposite coast literally picks up the pieces left behind in the terror of a 30 meter wave.
|Jonathan begins the journey from California with a rugged 4×4 cross of the Mojave desert, full of ghost towns and danger. Arriving in sin city, Las Vegas he looks around the corners to expose the hidden side of town: slick hustlers, pig farms, and underground dwellers. But a hunt for a legendary treasure pulls him again into the desert, with the assistance of salacious consorts he digs for something unexpected deep in the dunes
|India (Varanasi, Mayong, Delhi)
|Jonathan begins a quest to find an extreme type of holy man reputed to eat human flesh and commit other blatant acts of embracing taboos in a strange path to nirvana. He begins in the holy city of Varanasi: The Jerusalem of Asia. On its gritty, narrow cobblestone alleyways he encounters a variety of bizarre expressions of spirituality and devotion, from starving babas to burning corpses. The search continues in the village of mayong where ancient black magic practice is passed on in secrecy from generations past. A slight detour finds our host in Delhi where all things bovine are investigated. In a city where 50,000 cows roam free under the blanket of divinity, who is sheltering the injured and who is covertly slaughtering the unnoticed?
|India (Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya)
|The quest for the extreme holy men, the aghori, continues as a new one begins. In a country where anything can be found, Jonathan is unsurprising to find women indifferent roles and status, but the extremes are shockingly diverse and unexpected. In the countryside he joins a vigilante group with a celebrity leader that is pushing back against oppression with an innovative and aggressive approach. Sparks fly as the group descends on families accused of abuse. On the flip side of the coin, in the NE city of Shillong, Jonathan meets females so empowered that the men are clamouring for more rights. He tours the city with a strong Khasi woman and gets her unique take on the tribes matrimonial lifestyle, and then later joins the disgruntled guy for a testosterone boosting activity inspired by the poet Walt Whitman.
|Season 2 Special
|A season’s worth of recap! Host Jonathan Legg recounts his best moments from the second season of Road Less Travelled, revealing unique insights from the destinations and releasing never before seen footage. A demon possession theory is submitted, behind the scenes struggles are uncovered, and an epic floating fiasco is exposed. And if all that doesn’t give you a new perspective of RLT, the pole dancing surely will.
Jonathan Legg – Exclusive Q&A
|1.How many countries have you visited so far?
Probably 80 at this point, but I stopped counting after 60. I used to make numbers a real point in my younger travel days. I’d burn through the Baltic states in 10 days, or whirlwind through SE Asia grabbing stamps in my passport. But honestly i was just dipping my toes in the lands and cultures. Could I really say that I know Latvia because I was in Riga for 3 days? No. The true gift of travel is how it allows you to see the world through a whole new lens, breaking down your prejudices and opening your mind. Sightseeing will not accomplish this. You need to dig deep enough to understand the lifestyles and perspectives of the locals, and the history and landscape which shaped them.
|2. How and when did you become passionate about travel?
When I was a one-year-old baby my parents moved to Hong Kong where we stayed for three years, and then on to Manila (Philippines) where we lived for four. So I came to consciousness abroad. My first memories were in Asia. Then, at age 7 we moved to the suburbs of a small city in the American midwest. It was one of those places where everyone kept to themselves. That disparity of the teeming rich culture I’d come from really made me feel bottled up. I was never at peace with strip malls and tract housing. Convenience and security over experience and adventure. As soon as I could I blasted out of there like a rocket.
|3. How has travel affected you?
Coming out of high school in the midwest I was slightly racist, homophobic, and generally narrow minded. Now I’m one of the most open-minded guys you’ll meet. I’ve shared beautiful moments with Syrians (some of the most hospitable people on earth) and Russians (who were once framed as our enemy), I’ve partied with transgenders in Tokyo (who seemed on average more at peace with themselves than the typical “salaryman” who is completely following the cultural script), and I’ve spent time with people who have 5% of my wealth and 5,000% my wealth (and noticed that there is zero difference in happiness between the two. although the power differential is obviously dramatic.) Overall there is a very encouraging theme that emerges the more you travel: Most people want to be good. They want to connect. They want to experience and share beauty. It makes me very optimistic about our future as a species. We are indeed getting better at being kind to each other and tourism has played a part in this process.
|4. What are your top 3 destinations worldwide?
Oh wow.. that’s a very tough one. If the goal of travel is to open your mind and challenge your status quo, India will do that more than anywhere else. If you are looking for one place with amazing food, language like a song, and museum quality culture around every bend, go to Italy. If you want to learn how to live in the moment go to Brazil.
| 5. How many weeks in the year are you at home?
About 1/3 to 1/2 the year. However, even in Southern California the adventures don’t stop. Los Angeles is full of secrets, curiosities, and amazing events. Nearby the deserts and mountains always beckon.
|6. Will you ever get tired of traveling?
I miss my friends when I’m on the road a long time. People with whom I have a shared history who really understand me and all my foibles.
|7. Which destinations are still on your bucket list?
Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Arctic Circle, South Africa, Georgia, and Ethiopia to name a few of many.
|8. Which destinations would you never want to visit (Again)?
There is an area in India, which we filmed in season 3, where women essentially have zero rights. Probably upwards of 90% endure domestic abuse. Although there are some remarkable social workers and vigilantes who are there fighting to change this, I couldn’t remain any longer. When I left I had no interest to come back.
Here is a message I’d like to send to any men who live in cultures where women are subjected: You are less happy. This probably seems counterintuitive, because the patriarchal control thing was obviously designed for the benefit of men. But it doesn’t work. The more empowered women are in a culture the happier the men are. The more controlled and subjugated the women are, the less happy the men are.
|9. Which destination could you never get tired of?
I find myself returning often to Italy, Brazil, the Philippines. Love to go back to the Netherlands and the Caucus Mountains.