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Scott Wilson on travel experiences & favorite places

Photo Credit: Christian Loader/ via Eat Drink Travel Magazine

Traveler and TV personality Scott Wilson has traveled to some unique and far-off places in the world. Wilson is best known for the adventure travel series “Departures” which chronicles his journey with his fellow Canadian friends.

Wilson talked about some scary moments while traveling during the filming of “Departures.” He also spoke about being in a plane crash while he shooting his other series “Descending” which documents underwater and diving adventures.

He also shared some areas of the world that he wants to visit next and looks back on some of his favorite places he has traveled.

“Departures” can now be watched on Amazon Prime for anyone who wants to relive or explore the series. Check out the final part of Scott Wilson’s interview below.

You did some nerve-wracking things while filming Departures. What was an experience that stands out while traveling?

One that really resonates still, was in India – being caught out in the massive lightning storm in the middle of tsunami season while being on a Sea-Doo in the ocean. Seeing the shoreline disappear into the storm and the light dying and lightning striking around you so close the hair is standing on end before the lightning strike because you can be a potential catch point. That was one of those “this could be the end” moments.

During the filming of “Descending,” I was in a plane crash in an ultralight and crashed directly into the ocean in a very remote part of Indonesia with nobody around. That was pretty frightening.  Plummeting straight into the earth looking directly at the ocean. You think the pilot is going to pull up any second now and then boom! Hitting the water and realizing you are in the ocean. Thinking you are in the airplane underwater, sinking and I have to get out.

Getting out of that, coming to the surface, seeing blood pooling from your face onto the ocean and wondering how bad it really is and clamoring onto a broken pontoon that was all that was left from the airplane and waiting for rescue. That was a pretty frightening moment. We use these things to push ourselves instead of keeping us back. That was a moment that I could say I never want to get on a small airplane again. I used that as a catalyst to come home and start my pilot’s license. Within a year, I achieved my pilot’s license. The mentality is if I am going to be in a small airplane again, I will be in control. I won’t leave it to someone else.

Everyone survived. I probably should have had some serious stitches but other than that no broken bones. With a limited first aid kit, you have available on an island off the coast of Indonesia, you kind of throw some gauze and iodine at everything that’s bleeding and move on. The show must go on.

Is there any place at the top of your list you haven’t gone to?

The easy answer is anywhere I haven’t been, is where I want to go next. There are a few places that have eluded me that I really want to get to. Iran is one [country] that is really at the top of my list. I have heard such marvelous things about Iran. There is such diverse geography there to see. Obviously, it can be challenging to get in and travel freely and see freely, but I want to see it with my own eyes and experience it. I feel like it would be a real eye-opener.

Turkey is a place, that similarly, has a lot of geographic diversity and culturally is such an amazing balance point between this transition from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. I think it would be quite fascinating. The Stans, all of central Asia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan. All of the Central Asian realms have eluded me and I really want to see them.

Did you have a favorite travel destination and why?

I don’t think there was a favorite. I’m sure it’s like that for anyone else who travels extensively. Who you were when you started traveling years ago is a different person than who you are now.

One of my first trips outside North America wasn’t until I was 21 years old was to Zimbabwe. Obviously, it blew me away to be in a developing nation in sub-Saharan Africa, blown away in every sense. It was a culture shock in a good way, in a really inspirational way.

That was one of the many seeds planted that led to “Departures” and this onward career of travel programming. Every place I go has favorite moments and special places in my heart because of people or moments or an experience.

The ones that resonate the most are the ones I never thought I would get to in my life like Antarctica, North Korea and of course, Libya. I made it a point, running through my head to not forget this and let it sink in, don’t forget this because it’s a special moment.

That’s not to say going to France isn’t a special moment or going to California isn’t a special moment. There are many of those, but those are places you can get back to if you wanted to. When you are faced with places that come with a huge price tag or are quite tough to get to, then you try to make them count if you can.

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