BY BERNICE FOX
There’s no place like home for Eugene Levy whether it’s his house here in Pacific Palisades or the place he maintains in Toronto.
So, the honorary mayor of Pacific Palisades did not jump at the chance to explore unusual hotels and out-of-the-way spots around the world for a new TV series.
Levy said “I knew myself. I’m thinking, ‘Why me?’”
“Number one, because I don’t hate traveling, I just don’t love traveling. And I’m not a curious person. I have no great sense of adventure. I think these are attributes you actually need to host a travel show. So, I said ‘no.’”
There’s a good chance the producers wanted Levy for their travel show because of the contrast they could imagine of round-the-world hotels and locales compared with the little Rosebud Motel in the Emmy-winning Schitt’s Creek where Levy’s character and his TV family lived for several seasons.
Levy’s “no” became “yes” when producers changed the show to fit his reluctance to travel, naming the Apple TV+ series The Reluctant Traveler.
The adventures began once he said “yes.”
Driving a dog sled in Finland. Ice fishing in the Arctic. Hiking in the jungle at night in Costa Rica. And getting way up close and personal with animals in South Africa. And more.
Most of these would be once-in-a-lifetime experiences for Levy. And never more than that.
“Would I go on a night hike in Costa Rica again? I don’t think I need to do that. Would I go ice fishing in the Arctic? No, don’t think I need to do that. I didn’t truly, in my gut, love what I was doing, but I’m glad I did it so I can say, ‘Yeah, I’ve been ice fishing in the Arctic.’”
He had times that brought a smile to his face, too. Most fun for Levy was the dog sledding.
“Probably never would have done it, driving a dog sled, learning how to handle a dog sled, you know? Learning to use your feet, the weight on your feet for turning, for stopping, for slowing down. That was an exhilarating experience.”
South Africa turned out to be a positive experience for Levy which he did not expect because he said he is “not an outdoorsy kind of person. Didn’t really love the idea of going on safari. Making a trip that far just to see these animals that I’d already seen on TV? I know what they look like. Do I need to see them roaming around, you know, in a big field out there somewhere? No.
“But, you know, getting to Kruger National Park in South Africa, the shocking thing to me was I all of a sudden grew an affinity for not only the landscape of this country, but the creatures that were in the landscape.”
And the people he met at every stop made an impact on Levy.
“I really do love, loved the conversations that I had with all these people in all these different locations. Those were the most memorable. That’s what I took home in my memory bank for the most part.”
So, when asked by Circling the News if after making the series he would still describe himself as a reluctant traveler, Levy said “I think, to be honest, I’m still a reluctant traveler quite honestly, to be truthful. I think it wouldn’t necessarily be a capital R, but the fact that I’m trying things and open to experiences on the show, I think is good for me.”
CTN also asked Levy if he was comparing any of the locations he visited while filming The Reluctant Traveler with his home and life in Pacific Palisades.
He said “I actually wasn’t. I never actually, you know, compared these locations necessarily to my hometown.
“But, you know, listen, so it’s a lovely little town, and if I were traveling to little towns across the world that had the same charm as the Palisades, that would be a lovely, little travel experience for me. Not necessarily as maybe as exciting for the audience, but you know, for me personally, sure. Bring it on.”
All eight episodes of The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy are available starting Friday, February 24 on Apple TV+.