Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Born to Explore

The World Piece by Wiese––Best-selling author and TV show host Richard Wiese



What do you do if you’ve already traveled the world, climbed legendary peaks, been the youngest-ever president of the renowned Explorers Club (think Sir Edmund Hilary, Jacques Piccard, and Buzz Aldrin), filmed a romantic scene with Brooke Shields (Endless Love), been named one of “The 25 Hottest Bachelors” by People one year (2003), only to be dubbed one of “10 Tough Bastards” by Esquire the next?

Well, when you’re Richard Wiese, you write a best-selling book Born to Explore: How to be a Backyard Adventurer, and then you turn it into an award-winning television series called Born to Explore With Richard Wiese. 

Are you tired yet? You may be, but Weston resident Richard Wiese isn’t. This boyishly handsome explorer looks at least a decade and a half younger than his 57 years. He is charismatic, brainy, energetic, funny, curious, and fiercely engaged with the world and the people who live in it. Though he ranks very high with female fans of all ages, he has officially retired his “hot bachelor” status. Married to Nicci Young since 2007, he is father to their children, Sophia, eight, and twins Ricky and Alex, six. 

Wiese’s father, Richard Wiese Sr., was no slouch in the adventuring department either. He is credited with being the first pilot to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean, and flew PanAm jets back when kids dreamed of becoming commercial airline pilots. Thanks to his father’s job, Richard Jr., a self-described “Pan-Am kid,” had the opportunity to travel to a lot of far-flung places.

As a boy, Wiese thirsted for adventure, even climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 11—the first of many summits he’s scaled. As he has grown older, his love for adventure remains unabated but has mellowed with age and experience. “When I was younger I wanted to be first to the top of a mountain, whereas now I’m just as happy to hike with one of the locals and learn about his or her life.”

Wiese’s quest to highlight global cultures in a positive, authentic, and entertaining way led to the evolution of his popular television travel series Born to Explore six years ago. “I had recently become a father when I started the show and it changed my perspective of how I view communities and how I view happiness. No matter what religion or culture people belong to, they want to express themselves, see their children succeed, be happy, and to be understood.” 

The program, which aired on ABC for five years, and will launch on PBS in January 2017, is a pleasing balance between natural and cultural elements that will captivate any traveler, armchair or otherwise. “We provide a curated view of the world,” says Wiese with pride. “We do trips of a lifetime.”

Wiese gravitates to underdog stories about people who overcome great odds to achieve success. He has met hundreds of intriguing people from across the globe.

But certain people stand out. “There was a professional fisherwoman—Eugenia Ogaz—we met in Horcón, Chile,” recalls Wiese. “She didn’t speak English but through an interpreter we learned that she had never taken any time off, except the day she gave birth to her son.” Wiese lets that startling fact sink in. “She never complained, had a wonderful sense of humor and, felt that overall, she had a pretty good life.” 

Another interview subject he admires is Mrs. Zikali, a teacher at Nkomo Primary School in the village of Mduku in South Africa. “At 15 she was promised in marriage to an older man so she ran away to another village. The closest school was six miles away. When it rained crocodiles appeared in the street but there was a large shade tree in town so she started teaching school under that tree. Eventually, she had 250 Zulu students, so she took the smartest fourth grader and had him teach third grade. Now, a proper school has been built along with an orphanage. If Mrs. Z were a man in she’d be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.” 

Wiese reflects for a moment and then adds, “Africa is special for me because I admire the creativity of the African people and their spirit. They create so much from so little. You throw out a can and they’ll pick it up and create a piece of art, a musical instrument, or something else that’s useful.”

Meeting people like Eugenia and Mrs. Z has had a profound impact on Wiese who says he now has a very clear understanding “of the difference between want and need. I now know that I could be happy no matter what the circumstances.”

One the most enjoyable episodes to shoot featured fossil hunting in New York City. “It hadn’t been done before,” says Wiese with obvious  pleasure. He also got to go on a unique urban adventure. 

“I drove the Mitzvah tank (a type of synagogue on wheels) with Hasidic Jews in Crown Heights; foraged for edibles in Central Park; made mozzarella on Arthur Avenue; went out on the job with a sanitation worker on Staten Island; and spoke with a 100-year-old woman in Breezy Point whose house had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. She was moving into her new home that day.”

Other highlights include being led by an Inuit guide to observe polar bears at ground level in northern Nunavut, and traveling to Borneo where he made meaningful eye contact with an orangutan mother and her new baby (“You never do that with gorillas.”) The popular television host is also an adventurous eater and will willingly sample any regional foods that are offered to him. But low on the list is Kæstur hákarl, rotten, fermented and dried shark that is a national dish of Iceland. “Once was enough!” he declares with a shudder.

Despite his many accomplishments, Richard Wiese can be surprisingly self-effacing. “In a somewhat insecure way, I’m surprised at how many people have liked the show, and at how many people have written in to tell us how it has touched them,” he says with a shy smile.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Ten Minutes with Ceci Maher

Director of Person-to-Person (P2P)––providing for those in need

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2018

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A Grammy Award-winning son of the legendary Bob Marley, Stephen continues his father’s legacy with forward-thinking reggae. In addition to his critically acclaimed, award-winning solo albums,...

Cost: $56

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for a FREE lecture! Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. However, the fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Learn strategies for preventing falls and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Health Tully Health Center
32 Strawberry Hill Court
1st Floor Auditorium
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: HSS Sports Rehab
Telephone: 203-705-2933
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Wednesday, November 14th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate an apple with candy to make it look like a turkey! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, November 17th from 12:00 - 3:00 PM for kids K+. Plan on staying with your children and having fun together.   This year’s annual STEAMFEST will feature Mad Science’s special...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Parenting is never easy, but raising children with learning and attention disorders presents unique difficulties. This conference will help parents focus on developing their children's...

Cost: 50

Where:
Winston Preparatory School
57 West Rocks Rd.
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


Sponsor: Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities
Telephone: 203 682-1664
Contact Name: Alison Brown
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On Saturday November 17 at 6 p.m. join a wonderful team of astronomers and view planets, stars, and constellations. Note: Families are invited to a special preview in the Learning Center...

Cost: $4/New Pond Farm member ($16 max/family), $6/non-member ($24 max/family)

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags