Where the experts holiday: Matt Earle and Josh Hall, stars of Blade NZ

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Pals Josh Hall and Matt Earle recently rollerbladed the length of New Zealand, filming their adventure  for a new travel TV series. Here the skating pair share their travel highs and lows with Just About Travel readers

What do you like to do on holiday?
We think the best thing about travelling is doing things the locals do, and really getting immersed in their culture. You experience so much more when you meet the local people, eat the regional cuisine – and rollerblade the iconic spots.

Where did you last go?
Matt went to Vietnam where he rode bikes and ate pho while Josh went to India where he visited the Taj Mahal and got diarrhea.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
We have some countries on our to-do list. We would love to head to Sri Lanka as it sounds amazing and it looks like there’s some excellent blade terrain there. We have had our work cut out for us filming Blade NZ for The Travel Channel recently, so we’re looking forward to the next adventure!

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
Josh: It’s hard to name just one, however I love going to places that are completely different to where I’ve grown up as I feel these provide experiences that stick with you. Tangier in Morocco was a cool experience – I loved the food, the people and the endless stunning coastline. It was fun getting lost in such a crazy place.
Matt: My favourite is Mexico, as I loved the food and became insanely addicted to tacos and hot sauce.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
There are just too many places, however a couple of spots seem to come up when we are brainstorming ideas for future adventures. The USA sounds like a goldmine for meeting interesting people and seeing really diverse places, so that’s somewhere we’d like to visit at some stage in the near future. We’d like to see if some of the stereotypes hold true, and challenge ourselves to eat their portions!

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
New Zealand is sort of promoted as being a high-octane, adrenaline fueled wonderland, and while you can definitely do that sort of stuff here, it isn’t really what the locals do on a regular basis. Our advice for people travelling here would be to ignore those expensive activities and seek out the real New Zealand: we have some amazing walks, stunning beaches and down to earth locals. There’s also a severe lack of rollerblades in the travel guides, which is just ridiculous. Definitely watch our new show on the Travel Channel and see what we get up to on Blaze NZ!

How do you plan your holiday?
Speaking to people you know who have travelled to the destination themselves is always the best option, especially if they’ve been there recently. We’re not big readers of travel guides, however they can be useful for finding ideas. At the end of the day, the most exciting option is to just throw yourself in the deep end and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out, you usually come away with a good story. Or you end up losing your passport.

How often do you go away?
We’re always creating and filming new projects, most which allow us to travel around, so we’re lucky to get away quite a bit. That being said, there’s always room for more travel and hopefully we’ll be heading abroad even more over the next few years. Who knows, maybe we can Blade South Africa or something. Keep an eye on the Travel Channel, you never know!

Who do you travel with?
A small crew usually seems to work out the best, as you still have company with you however there aren’t too many people making decisions. One thing that is vital is finding people who you can actually travel stress-free with, which unfortunately sometimes can’t be figured out in advance! The best qualities in a good travel partner are patience, humour and a sense of adventure.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Tourism is a huge industry for New Zealand, which is great as it encourages people to visit our country and experience all it has to offer. That being said, as the industry continues to grow, it’s important that we’re keeping an eye on making sure the infrastructure can cope. A pressing issue is the influx of driver’s on our roads, which is just another reason why people should seriously consider travelling via rollerblades.

The first two episodes of Blade NZ which saw Matt and Josh set off on the journey of a lifetime, armed with just their camera, rollerblades and camping gear, aired on the Travel Channel  (Sky Channel 249, Virgin channel 292, Freeview channel 42, Freesat channel 150) on 5 May 2017. Catch episodes three and four on the 12 May and episode five on 19 May.

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