Around the World In 30-Something Days
'Amazing Race' Host Is Ultimate Globe-Trotter

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Since 2001, "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan, 41, has traveled the circumference of the world 80 times, has been to more than 100 countries, has been held by Ukrainian immigration overnight because he didn't have the right papers and washed his hair on the side of the road in China. Keoghan (pronounced KOH-gahn), a New Zealand native who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter, begins his 13th season with "Race" tonight on CBS.

-- Nancy Palm

How many frequent-flier miles do you have?

I have three accounts with about half a million each. But I use my miles all the time. As fast as I fill them up, I'm using them.

What's in your carry-on bag?

I always travel with earplugs, an eye mask, noise-canceling headphones and my iPod. I always travel with my computer, a good book, a journal, some Sudoku and movies. . . . I really enjoy traveling because of the opportunity to escape communication. . . . I'm dreading that there may come a time when people are going to be allowed to use cellphones on planes. I think it's absolutely insane.

How do you think you'd do as one of the racers?

I have absolutely no desire to race around the world for a million dollars. It's not on my list of things to do before I die. . . . I enjoy watching these racers go around the world because I think it's unique for them. I like watching what they do and their reactions. I don't really want to subject myself to being under a microscope for 30-something days.

One of the things "The Amazing Race" is known for is its pretty challenging detours and roadblocks. Are these activities selected because of a certain fear a racer may have?

There have certainly been times -- because we know going into the race what people are afraid of -- where they end up facing those fears. But to me the best challenges are not necessarily things like bungee-jumping but the more indigenous challenges. Milking a camel, for instance. Pretty much all us can go bungee jumping somewhere. It's more predictable than finding out what happens when you take a bunch of Americans to Africa and ask them to milk a camel. That's so out there and so different that to me, the reactions, the television moments, are inherently more interesting.

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