Armchair adventurers will get a kick out of this new show on Animal Planet, 100 Miles From Nowhere. As will sadists. Three men, Matt Galland, Danny Bryson and Blake Josephson travel to some of the world's remotest spots, trekking some 100 miles in just four days.
Their weekly mission sees them encounter inhospitable terrains, dangerous animals and treacherous weather - all while facing inhumane conditions (hunger, dehydration, and hypothermia, not to mention the temper tantrums). Why? Just because.
On the positive side, the trio get to witness some truly awe-inspiring scenery and have a chance to get closer to Nature than most of us dare or care to.
Here they talk about their experiences making the show.
How did you all prepare? How long did that take?
I've been running almost my whole life. Well, except for in the seventh grade. I was a slow "one miler" then and really didn't appreciate having a sweaty rest of the day at school. If they had us run the "20 miler," I'd probably enjoy the run a lot more and missing school as well. I usually run strictly in the mountains about 3,000 miles a year. I've been doing that pretty much for the past 15 years. I ran my first marathon when I was 15. I've run the Wasatch 100 in Utah, which is a trail race in the steepest mountains of Utah. I ran straight for just over 27 hours. It was fun for the first 25 miles. The last 75 a test of will and enduring pain. I enjoy pain, however - it's weakness leaving the body. Besides that, I've run a few 100ks, 50 milers... more marathons than I can count. I do a marathon a week usually during peak training. So, with 3,000 miles a year under my belt for the last decade and a half, I'd say I didn't have to train for the show. Now, carrying camera equipment and filming a show while doing these treks? That was tough as hell.
How do I pick locations?
Inspiration. We have visited the most jaw-dropping, gorgeous places on the planet. I get on Google Earth, and like an artist, let the creative juices flow. I look for diversity and something new. I look for some type of landscape that makes me wonder and curious - in essence, something that speaks to me. I don't approach our adventures from a scientific perspective. I have a PhD in geography, and that helps me appreciate and know what I'm seeing a lot of the time on these adventures. Instead, I approach these trips like a five-year-old would - pure intrigue and curiosity. At times, I may study the geologic strata on a cliff wall we encounter like the one we did in Belize, but more often than not, I prefer to just jump off it.
Bigger, better, farther and, of course, funnier! If I can't laugh along the way, I ain't going.
How has the experience tested your relationship?
We get on each other's nerves all the time. I complain too much (among many other things). Everyone has their issues, and when you spend this much time together you're bound to drive each other crazy. I think, for the most part, we've learned to look past each other's quirks and work together to get through our adventures safely. Matt seems to never need alone time, but I know Danny and I need space from time to time. We'll just go ahead or fall behind on the trail, so we can be alone for a few minutes. When it comes down to it, I know these guys have my back and I know they would do anything to get me out of a bad situation.
Ever thought about quitting?
I think about quitting every day when we are out filming. What we do is incredibly hard. It hurts physically, and it may be even harder mentalIy. I hate not being able to sleep in my own bed, shower, eat normal food or have wifi. I also miss my family badly. I've thought about quitting lots of difficult things, but I've never done it. It's not in me to quit. I'm very thankful for this opportunity to see new places and meet new people. I feel very lucky. This world has some beautiful and amazing places, and if I quit, I wouldn't get to see them all.
How do you know each other?
I've known Matt for a long time. I was friends with his little brother, and occasionally I would come into contact with his strange, eccentric, nudity-obsessed older brother [that's Matt]. I avoided Matt for years. I had heard rumors about what it meant to be friends with Matt. Eventually, one of our mutual friends got us together on an outing in a nearby mountain range. At first, I wondered why he had been invited, but by the end of the day, we were friends and we quickly bonded over a shared interest in all outdoor activities. I met Blake through Matt. He met Blake when he hired him to do the remodeling on his home. Blake was easy to get to know and befriend. His cynical take on life and questioning of Matt's over-the-top antics mirrored my own.
What has been your worst/best experience?
The worst experience of this show so far has been handling the camera. It's a terrible experience, which is relived on every episode. The camera is that ever-present friend who tags along on the trip or to the party to which they weren't invited. Whenever you're trying to get a look at a beautiful vista, up pops the camera to obscure your
view. Conversations are ruined when you look over to see the camera silently watching you, always judging you with its blinking red eye. At the same time, the camera is also that friend who makes the trips possible and the show happen.
The best experience has been accomplishing challenging things in beautiful places. In the Arizona episode, we did far more miles than we had anticipated. With each additional mile, we got to see more of the landscape. Then, when it was all over, we got the chance to look back and say, "I can't believe we did that!" When you can say that, you know it was still a great experience.
How did you first come up with the idea for the show?
David Garfinkle, Executive Producer, Renegade 83
We first saw Matt on YouTube. He is a geography professor at Brigham Young University, and he wanted to show his students his weekend trips. He would go with his own home video camera and would document himself doing his extreme running and crazy adventures.
Describe the process from getting the initial idea for the show to getting the greenlight to make it.
David Garfinkle, Executive Producer, Renegade 83
We found out through our research that Matt also runs with his two best friends Danny and Blake. We asked them to film each other and saw how special their relationship was. Then we came up with the idea of 100 miles in four days. Once we locked into the format, I pitched to Animal Planet with them specifically in mind. The rest, as they say, is history.
100 Miles From Nowhere starts April 5 on Animal Planet