Celebrity Race Across The World contestants talk about their new six-part series in which they journey from Morocco to Norway. They must complete the 10,000km trip without the use of credit cards, smartphones or access to the internet and with just the cash equivalent of completing the route to their final destination by air. We caught up with the four teams in Morocco.
Weather presenter Alex Beresford and dad Noel
What kind of travellers are you? Do you like your creature comforts, five-star hotels?
Alex: Ordering room service, having a nice time, taking a dip in the pool, I guess that’s what we’ve been used to. Backpacking hasn’t previously really appealed to me, to be honest with you, only because I’d always be thinking about, ‘Where are we going to stay?’, ‘How am I going to wash?’ – all of those kinds of things. I am quite fussy I guess, which is probably why I never wanted to do it before.
Noel: The closest I’ve been to something like this is probably sleeping outside after a night out on the drink. So it’s going to be interesting.
How do you feel about travelling without a mobile phone or credit cards?
Alex: I’m really struggling with that. I keep going to put my hand in my pocket because I think my phone is there, and then it’s not. I also want to call home desperately. It’s part of my routine. My watch is still on English time and I’m thinking, ‘My son has just got home, and I’d like to give him a call to see how his day was’ and I can’t do that, and that’s quite heartbreaking.
All Saints singer Melanie Blatt and mum Helene
What do you think will be your greatest skills?
Melanie: I think we’re quite open and ready and happy to talk to people and get stuck in. We’re open-minded and really up for it. Mum also is French, so she speaks French, plus Spanish and English – just about. So she’s good with languages, and she’s good with geography, well… better than I am.
Did you do anything to prepare for the trip?
Melanie: I got a sunbed. And a McDonald’s. Just in case I can’t have one for a month. Jokes aside, no. Maybe we’ll regret that one later, but no we haven’t done any preparation together.
What essentials, that you couldn’t travel without, have you brought with you?
Melanie: Wet wipes. And fags…
Helene: My Swiss army knife and also my compass.
Double amputee and racing driver Billy Monger and his sister, Bonny Monger
What do the rest of your family make of you two doing this trip together?
Billy: Most of them are laughing at us and saying, ‘Are you sure?’. I don’t think we’ve instilled a lot of confidence in our friends and family that this is something we’re going to excel at. But I’m hoping we’re going to surprise people.
What do you think your biggest challenges might be along the way?
Bonny: I think finding the modes of transport. I don’t know whether there’s a train network or a rail network here or what the buses are like, so it’s going to be figuring all that out and getting to grips with what the travel is like here – what the most popular modes of transport are, and what’s the cheapest. It’s going be the slow start, I think.
Musician Harry Judd and his mum Emma
Why did you want to take part in Celebrity Race Across The World?
Harry: Well, it feels like a totally unique opportunity, particularly at our age and our stages of life. I’ve got three young children, so you can imagine me trying to pitch to my wife that I’m going off travelling for a month. I never travelled when I was younger. I travelled with the band (he was a drummer with McFly), but I never properly did backpacking, and I always wanted to, and I think the same applies for my mum. She always wanted to but started a family when she was 22.
What skills do you think you each bring to the experience?
Emma: Well, I’m scatty… I like to think I’m very much, ‘Let’s do it, come on and let’s go’.
Harry: Positive energy and you just throw yourself into it.
What is the most unusual thing you’ve brought with you?
Harry: My drumsticks would probably be quite unusual to some people and Mum’s going to teach me some tapestry.
Celebrity Race Across The World, TVNZ 1, Monday January 8