Sunday, July 13, 2014

Anything to declafe?

Simon Yin; Going beyond the surface of some of Asia’s best-known countries and unearthing extreme rituals and challenges – Simon Yin shows us how to work a country, the ‘extreme traveller’ way.

Executive summary by darmansjah

You must be quite the jetsetter as part of your job, which part of the world do you always like to return to? I like to return to wherever ‘home’ is, and for me now, that’s Hong Kong. Being all over the world gives me a sense of scatteredness. Is that a word? Anyway, it always feeds my soul to be home and grounded again.

Which destination surprised you the most? Malaysia. We did the Philippines first, and as you know, Philippines is a place of frenetic energy and crazy pace. When we got to the next location (Malaysia), I was expecting to go in, guns blazing. But Malaysia was like, “slow down, son, we don things just a little differently around these areas”. Each country has its own pace, rhythm and when I got hold of that – that’s when I started to enjoy the journey.

Which was the hardest extreme stunt to muster up courage to do? The water buffalo racing in Bali was outright crazy. We arrived to a nice tranquil setting of water buffalos grazing and fraternising, but the moment the wooden chariots were strapped in, it turned 180 degrees. In the chaos of the race, I suddenly found out I was next. I didn’t have any training and had only been a spectator up to that point. I had a split-second decision to make: do I get on the chariot pulled by beasts up to 60mph without training, or do I chicken out? Well, make sure to tune in to Hidden Cities Extreme to find out!

Do you have specific memories of a trip that ended up as inspiration for your productions or shows you host? My shows choose me, and I think what was unique about HCE was that I felt as if my entire childhood or life, had prepared me to host this how. When talks first began, HCE producers asked if I’ve ever done rock climbing , horseback riding, deep se fishing, rappelling and so on – and I was surprised that my answer were always ‘yes’. I thank my mum for that; she always let me explore what I wanted, which let me to the unique and varied experiences that have prepared me for all things extreme!

What subjects do you like to capture most when travelling? I like to capture moments that last for one split second such as local village kids playing with tarantuals, or the sun back lighting a coconut tree.
What is your dream trip? I’d like to go to the moon one day, or at least outer space. You know what they say, the final frontier and all.

Name three destinations which you feel are underrated for travel? My home town, Atlanta, GA! There is nothing better than Southern hospitality. All I have to say is – smothered, covered and chunked. If you don’t know what I mean, then you owe it to yourself to get down to the Dirty South! Second, staycations are underrated. You don’t always have to go thousands of miles to get away from it all! The third place is so underrated, that I can’t even write down where it is…

Do you still send postcards? I do, but I send digital postcards is that cheating?

What is your favourite souvenir? I like little figurines and/or stickers, preferably something local and handmade. Except for wood darvings you find in every other store, which they claim t obe hand carved – but the nhow do they all end up looking exactly the same?

Could you share with us a personal favourite travel snapshot? This a shot of the crew for the Malaysia episode, and I think it captures the essence of the experience perfectly. The entire team, from birth of the show to final product, has been amazing. I’ve seen a couple of episodes now, and I must admit that the format and everything about HCE is fresh, exciting and lots of fun. There is something for everyone, from the history buffs to the adventure junkies-we’ve got your covered!

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