My Travelling Life

'Backpacking inspired my hit show, The Amazing Race'

Elise Doganieri, co-creator of 'The Amazing Race', recalls some of her most memorable trips - including the time she nearly lost some contestants in the Sahara Desert

24 June 2018 - 00:00 By Jo Kromberg

I travel quite a bit both for work and for fun. For work I travel about 60 days a year and I try to fit in a few vacations here and there during the year, mixing it up between beaches and snow.
The first holiday I remember was a road trip from New York to Virginia with my parents and sister to visit Colonial Williamsburg. It's a living-history museum that takes you back to when America was born. You get to step back in time and see how life was in the 18th century.
My first trip abroad was in 1990. I had just graduated from university and went backpacking with my roommate through Europe. I remember the rush of excitement when we landed in Spain. We had many fun adventures on the trains, staying in hostels and making friends along the way. It changed the way I viewed the world. Everything I had read about and seen in photographs came to life and started a lifelong love of travel. It was the inspiration for The Amazing Race.
The most remote place I’ve ever been was the Sahara Desert in Tunisia. We filmed the first season of the show there and one of our teams got lost in the desert. This was before cellphones worked globally and we relied on satellite phones. We went out with our security team to look for them. Luckily they found their own way to the next location. It was nerve-wracking.My favourite city is New York. I am a little biased because I was born there, but even after travelling to more than 85 countries, I still love the energy and the abundance of things to do.
I like a little bit of both luxury and roughing it when I travel. Sometimes the location defines the set-up. If I want luxury, there is a gorgeous boutique hotel on the water in Lake Como called Tremezzo. We went there in 2016 for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and it was spectacular.I also like camping. Last summer we rented a van and drove up the coast of California and camped on a beach called El Capitan, just north of Santa Barbara. We switched off all the electronics and enjoyed a roaring fire on the beach at sunset.
My best travel advice is to pack light and leave room in your suitcase to pick up local treasures. Always be friendly to everyone and you will be treated the same.
My idea of a perfect holidays involves being with loved ones, sharing great food, new adventures, meeting new friends and creating new memories.
I’d love to go to Israel.

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