Matt shared with TODAY.com his five favorite places around the world before setting off on his ninth trip in 2008. Read below for his list.
5. Bhutan, 2007
Bhutan was remarkable. The reason I like it and the reason I like some of these other locations is that I like to get off a plane somewhere and immediately know you’re somewhere exotic. I want the people to look different, I want the wardrobes to look different, I want the buildings to look different.
Flying in through the Himalaya Mountains to get into this little landing strip in Bhutan was one of the most harrowing landings I’ve ever had. And then you touch down, and the minute the plane door opens, and you look out over your surroundings and the people, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. And that lasted for me throughout the entire show.
4. Easter Island, 2005
Easter Island is a place I’d always wanted to go. When I was a kid, I saw a photography book on Easter Island with the moai, the statues that are all over that island, and I kind of marked it in my mental calendar that one day I would get there.
So having the chance to go there with Where in the World a few years back was thrilling, and it’s one of those places that’s on my list where I’d like to take my family back for a longer stay.
3. Swiss Alps, 2004
Zermatt, Switzerland, stands out in my mind, because we did an open to that show that I thought was a lot of fun and a hoot. I was strapped to another skier in a hang glider. We revealed our location and immediately started skiing and were taken up in this hang glider and floated around near the Matterhorn for a minute and a half, talking about the Alps.
Then this guy expertly touched the hang glider down right in front of a camera we had about a quarter of a mile down the slope.
I thought it was fun, and if we had 10 chances to get it right, we probably would have gotten it wrong nine times. So to hit the right one on live television was great.
2. Machu Picchu, 2001
Machu Picchu is a location that stands out because of the way that morning unfolded. First of all, Machu Picchu is one of the most spiritual places I’ve ever been, with an incredible array of stone buildings and structures on the side of this mountain.
We got there and shot all weekend. On the morning of our show, which was a Monday, up until six minutes before airtime, the place was completely fogged in. You could not see six feet in front of your face. So here we were, saying we’re in one of most stunning places in the world, and we’re not going to be able to show one ounce of it.
I stood there, six minutes before the show, preparing to say, “What a bust, folks, it’s nothing but fog.” About a minute and a half before 7 o’clock, all of a sudden a breeze blew, and the cameraman who was standing in front of me said, “Oh my God, look behind you.”
The fog cleared behind me, and there was Machu Picchu, sitting behind me in all of its glory, and it remained that way for the rest of the show. It was a miracle.
1. Mt. Everest, 1999
If I had to pick my five top locations out of the 60 or so we’ve done over the years, I think No. 1 would be Mt. Everest, simply because it’s the most exotic.
First of all, there’s no way in the world I would ever get to the banks of Mt. Everest and get to base camp if not for this series. It’s not something I would do on my summer vacation. It’s just not me.
So to be there at 13,000 feet to begin and do the show from a little town called Lukla, and then to go up in a helicopter to base camp and see what it was like from the air — that was thrilling and something that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.