Published: 27 September 2023

Eight people walking, with the desert on the right and snowy mountains on the left

Broadcaster Alex Beresford and his dad, Noel; singer Mel Blatt and her mum, Helene; McFly drummer Harry Judd and his mum, Emma and British Racing Driver and pundit Billy Monger and his sister, Bonny, are embarking on their travels in the highly anticipated Celebrity Race Across the World.

Starting in Marrakech, Morocco, the most north-western country in Africa, and ending in Tromsø, Norway, known as the Arctic capital, the epic journey will span 24 countries and over 10,000 km. The route will see the pairs race through every landscape and culture that this part of the world has to offer: from the great North African city of Marrakech, through the seaside ports and beaches of the Mediterranean, to unrivalled historic and cosmopolitan cities, the mighty Alps, unexplored Central Europe, the fairy-tale Baltic States, and snowy Scandinavia.

In this six-part celebrity version of the much-loved series, the four celebrities and their racing partners will race to a finish line that’s thousands of miles away – without the use of air travel or any trappings of modern-day life. Stripped of all mod-cons and all luxuries they will have to rely on their skills, cunning, ingenuity, and hard work in order to succeed. Without the use of credit cards, smartphones or access to the internet and with just the cash equivalent of completing the route to their final destination by air, they will have to earn extra money along the way as well as call upon the kindness of strangers to help them progress. This incredible journey will give a unique insight into the celebrities and their relationships with their travelling companions.

Celebrity Race Across The World, a 6×60′ series for BBC One and BBC iPlayer will debut later this year. Lucy Shepherd, Tim Harcourt, Jo Harcourt-Smith and Mark Saben are the Executive Producers for Studio Lambert. Lucy Curtis is the Series Producer, Maria Kennedy is Line Producer and Kezia Walker is the Production Executive. The series was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events, and the Commissioning Editor is Michael Jochnowitz. It is distributed by All3Media International.


Alex Beresford and dad Noel

Alex Beresford and dad Noel posing with big red backpacks
Alex Beresford and dad Noel (Image: Studio Lambert Ltd/Pete Dadds)

Why did you want to take part in the series?

Alex: I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to do something that we’ve never done before. Neither of us have ever backpacked, so it’s a new experience. And, also, just to see some amazing places! Across continents and across countries, and you’re getting to see everything at ground level, so it’s completely different to just flying over – getting to immerse yourself in different cultures and communities. And then there’s also the excitement of not knowing where we’re actually going or how we’re going to get there, every day is up in the air and can either all fall apart or can all come together and hopefully it comes together so we can win! That’s why we signed up, right?!

Noel: Yes Sir! I’m into exploring new things, so this seemed like a good opportunity to see all the different cultures and how other people live and see how we get on, because we haven’t spent a lot of time together over the last year and a half.

Alex: Yes, during Covid, being separate and not being able to see each other for a good period of time. I’m living in London and dad is living in Bristol, so we do get to see each but not really for proper quality time, sometimes it’s very brief, so this is uninterrupted time and I don’t know when we’ll get that again.

Was the time that you’ll get to spend together one of the things about taking part that really appealed to you?

Alex: Yes, definitely. You spend so much time with your parents as kids and then there’s a massive chunk of your life where you’re building your own life and you’re separate, even though you’re still in contact and still often together. So, this is an opportunity to spend some good quality time with one of your parents.

Would you say that you’re quite adventurous?

Alex: I’d say we are both very adventurous, well I say that and we haven’t actually backpacked before… But we’re both up for experiencing life and new experiences! I guess I’m a chip off the old block, as they say, my dad is very outgoing, I’m very outgoing, so it made sense to do it with him.

What kind of travellers are you? Do you like your creature comforts, five-star hotels?

Alex: Ordering room service, having a nice time, taking a dip in the pool, I guess that’s what we’ve been used to. Backpacking hasn’t previously really appealed to me, to be honest with you, only because I’d always be thinking about ‘where are we going to stay?’, ‘how am I going to wash?’ all of those kinds of things. I am quite fussy I guess. I can be fussy, which is probably why I never wanted to do it before. But, at my age now, I think to myself, this is the right time. I’m up for a new experience and I’d like to challenge myself in different ways.

Noel: As Alex said, we’ve never done anything like this. The closest I’ve been to something like this is probably sleeping outside after a night out on the drink! So, it’s going to be interesting!

Alex: I think also, our lives, well not so much dad’s because he’s retired now, but our lives are so busy that when I think holiday, I think two weeks, it’s got to be in a sunny destination, I want guaranteed good weather, you want to guarantee it’s going to be exactly what you need because you’re escaping the rat race back home. But, what’s different with this is we’re not escaping the rat race, we’re actually in a race! I don’t know exactly what to expect and I’m happy to go with the flow, but I imagine that at times it is going to be quite testing isn’t it? It’s going to be uncomfortable, there’s going to be some dead time where you want to move but you can’t move, and it’s a race so I can’t imagine how relaxing it’s going to be. However, it’s a one-off experience, obviously it’s a race from start to finish but at the same time we want a great experience, we want to also be able to stop off and go and see some great things.

Noel: I’m also interested to meet the other competitors.

Alex: Yes, we also want to be able to size everybody up and see who our competition is!

How competitive are you both? Are you in it to win it?

Noel: We are very competitive, but we’re here to enjoy it and see things, different cultures, how people live, explore all the nice things we come across. It’s not just head down get to the finish line.

Alex: We want to be looking up, we don’t want to be looking down. You’ve got to find that fine balance of wanting to win, but to get to the end and win having not seen anything would actually be a loss.

How do you feel about travelling without a mobile phone or credit cards?

Alex: I’m really struggling with that. I keep going to put my hand in my pocket because I think my phone is there, and then it’s not. So, I think my dad will probably cope better than me because although he’s used to being on his phone, it’s the young ones really isn’t it who are used to being on their phones, having them attached to their hands. So, I am going to struggle, although I am hoping that something that will come out of this experience is me being able to put down my phone because I am on it all the time. I also want to call home desperately, it’s part of my routine. My watch is still on English time and I’m thinking, my son has just got home, and I’d like to give him a call to see how his day was and I can’t do that, and that’s quite heart breaking.

Noel: Yes, I was thinking the same thing, so I brought some puzzle books.

Alex: I didn’t bring anything like that! So, I might need to borrow one so I can do something! I also do have an old school iPod that I managed to borrow from a friend so that will keep me entertained.

What are you imagining your biggest challenges might be during the trip?

Noel: Money!

Alex: This trip is about sacrifices; you have to sacrifice at every stage to make your money last. You have to really think about your choices and, also, there will be some gambles, so I’m worried about the gambles that we take – will they be the right gambles? Will they be the wrong gambles?

Noel: We could make a bad choice but with the other series that I’ve watched, it’s about the recovery.

Alex: Yes, that’s the thing, this race will be won on choices. You need to make the right choices; I’ve done my research as well with previous series and I’ve seen that it’s an open race until the end.

Noel: If we make a bad choice, we’ll want to make sure we don’t make it again, and I’ve also seen people recover from those bad choices.

Alex: That’s the good thing as well, there’s room for mistakes throughout this whole process. If you make a mistake, and you get left behind, it might give you the opportunity to go and do something that you wouldn’t have necessarily got to do if you had got on that bus that you wanted to get on. So, it’s about weighing up the pros and cons of every choice.

It sounds like you have thoroughly watched the previous series of Race Across the World, did you pick up any tips from them?

Alex: I think you have to, you have to get yourself into it. In terms of tips, it was the choices thing. From watching the previous series, I’ve had thoughts at the start of ‘they’re definitely going to win,’ and then they didn’t win. And that’s the beauty of it, that we’re all on an equal playing field.

Have you got a strategy going into the race?

Alex: I don’t think you can have a strategy for this, other than spend your money wisely. That’s probably the biggest strategy, so that we can actually stay in the competition, because it would be heart breaking to have to leave because we run out of money.

Noel: Trying to work our way on the transport so we don’t have to pay!

Alex: Yes, we’ll serve drinks, we’ll do whatever we need to do in order to save money! But really, I don’t think you can have too much of a strategy, just because there are so many twists and turns. So, I think if you try and pick a way to do this, that could actually be your downfall. Instead, I think tackling your problems as they come up is the way to do this.

Have you packed anything for this trip that you just can’t live without?

Alex: Well, I like to look after my beard, so I shaved it down for the start, but I’m debating whether I’ll end up growing the beard out or not, so I’ve brought my beard pruning stuff with me. So, I’ve got my cutthroat blade, which I will use from time to time to tidy things up and still try and remain fairly respectable. But ask me in seven days’ time… I think it’s all going to go out the window!

Noel: I’ve got my puzzle books, but that’s about it really.

Alex: We packed really simply and that’s actually one thing that worries me. I don’t actually have any of my creature comforts or things that I like to do, so in the quiet time it’s going to be quite difficult. Even today, I was in my room on my own and I started to think, and I could feel myself getting a bit emotional about wanting to call home.

Would you say you cope well during a crisis? Are you calm under pressure?

Alex: I’d like to say that hypothetically we’d be good in a crisis, but lack of sleep, lack of food and all these other factors, could affect your state of mind and you could end up making a couple of bad choices. Who knows?

What do the rest of your family make of you two doing this trip together?

Noel: They’re right behind us!

Alex: Yes, all the way! They think it’s such a great opportunity, I know that lots of them are jealous because they’re not getting to do it! My wife is absolutely beside herself that she’s not here doing this, because this is something that she would love to do. We only got married recently so we’ve gone from just getting married, still going through the honeymoon period and then I’ve left her for a month! So, we better come back with a win!

Billy Monger and sister Bonny

Billy Monger & his sister, Bonny Monger with backpacks
Billy Monger & his sister, Bonny Monger (Image: Studio Lambert Ltd/Pete Dadds)

Why did you want to take part in Celebrity Race Across The World?

Billy: To be honest, when we got approached for it and it was suggested that I do it with Bonny, I wasn’t too sure Bon would be up for doing it. The one thing that did make me think that maybe she would be up for doing it was the fact that it was about travelling because we’ve spoken about going travelling before. So, I was a bit unsure myself, I’d not watched the series before, and then I spoke to Bon about it and she said it could be quite cool. So, we sat down and watched it and got more and more into it and then decided why not!

Bonny: And here we are!

So, have you always wanted to travel?

Bonny: Yeah, we’ve always spoken about travelling and going and doing something together, but we’ve never actually been organised enough to do it. With this, it’s not organised for us, and we have to do it ourselves so it’s kind of like being thrown in the deep end and you’ve just got to do it. I just thought, it will be fun, and it’s the one time where we’ll both actually have a month off where we can say let’s go and do something different, so it was kind of a no brainer, and we get to spend a bit of time together and have a laugh.

What kind of travellers are you? Do you like your creature comforts, five-star hotels or are you adventurous and up for backpacking?

Bonny: I’ve always wanted to backpack. I’ve never actually backpacked before but it’s exciting to do it. If we had been planning our own travels together it probably wouldn’t quite have been backpacking!

Billy: It wouldn’t be all five-star stuff either, but it would probably be a little bit different to what I imagine this is going to be like, in terms of doing everything on such a budget and staying in hostels and being tight on money for food. That probably wouldn’t have been such a thing if we’d gone travelling ourselves outside of this race – I like to think we probably would have eaten well! So, there’s a few things that will probably be a bit different to how we would have done it.

Bonny: Definitely.

Billy: But it’s exciting to try some new things as well!

How competitive are you both? Are you in it to win it?

Billy: I think so! More so now we’re closer to it, now we’re actually here at the start. We’ve been sat in our hotel room going through what languages we know and what could be useful, little tactics we think we could use, so we’re getting a little bit more competitive now we’re here.

Bonny: But we’ve only seen these four walls, so that’s probably going to go completely out of the window tomorrow when we actually get outside.

Billy: Yeah, we’ve come up with all these elaborate plans and then we’re going to end up in the complete wrong direction to what we think we will and what we’ve planned will be completely useless!

Do either of you speak any other languages?

Billy: No…

Bonny: Well, we’ve just discovered Billy can speak a little bit of French!

Billy: I did GCSE French at school and I was alright but I’ve not used the language since, so it’s just completely gone from my memory. But now we’re actually out here and we’re thinking in that sort of way, I’ve remembered a couple of phrases that could be useful. So, there might be a tiny, tiny bit of broken French!

Bonny: We were just trying to work out how to say ‘sister’, but he can only say ‘dad’, so he’s just going to be saying ‘my name is Billy, and this is my dad,’ so that’s probably going to get us some funny looks!

What other skills to you think you’ll be able to bring to the race?

Billy: Well, when I was going through the bits of broken French that I may or may not know, Bonny started doing her charades, and what she’s going to try and do to visually explain to people what we’re trying to say. And I think it’s a hidden talent, so I’m looking forward to seeing that action!

Bonny: I don’t really know what strengths we bring to the table, but we’re both hard workers! So, when it gets to the point where we get to do some work, we’ll take that in our stride and have a bit of fun with it and try and make the most out of it.

How do you feel about travelling without a mobile phone or credit cards?

Billy: It’s going to be really weird. Even just today, leaving the UK and flying across, me and Bon kept tapping our pockets thinking we’d lost our phones, completely forgetting that they’re now gone completely. I feel like it’s worse when we’re in our hotel room before the start of it, because we’re sat here and we haven’t got much to do, so you’d normally just go on your phone, but maybe when we get going, and we’re busy thinking about getting across the world…

Bonny: I think we’ll soon forget about phones, but it is hard because you rely on them so much, and just to get out your card and tap it for a bottle of water or something, whereas you actually have to think.

How do you think you’ll do with the budgeting?

Billy: I don’t know to be honest… I might struggle with the budgeting; I do think I’m going to have to look after the purse strings a little bit!

Bonny: Earlier Billy said, ‘maybe we should get a taxi as soon as we start and get on our way’ and I said, ‘no, that’s going to be too expensive,’ and I think that’s the only time I’ve ever said that! Because if I’m in London, I’d just say let’s get in a taxi and not even think about it, or just jump on a bus, so I do think maybe it’s starting to sink in.

Billy: I think because we’re competitive, we will just naturally realise that we have to be good with that, so I think it will help us out a bit that we’re a bit competitive.

What do the rest of your family make of you two doing this trip together?

Billy: Most of them are laughing at us and saying, ‘are you sure?’ I don’t think we’ve instilled a lot of confidence in our friends and family that this is something we’re going to excel at. But I’m hoping we’re going to surprise people!

Do you think you’ll be able to sustain your close relationship during the race?

Bonny: Well, we’ve been locked in this room together for three hours now and we haven’t had an argument yet, so we’re off to a good start!

Billy: So far so good! It’s getting on potentially 10-hour long buses and stuff, and being in high-pressure situations as well, as I think there’s going to be a few of them along the way isn’t there, maybe where Bonny wants to get a bus and I want to get a train, decisions like that that we’ve got to make along the way. I’m hoping we don’t fall out at any point! There might just be a bit of back and forth.

Bonny: A bit of snapping at each other maybe if we’re both tired and hungry.

Billy: So far, I think we’re in a good starting position – we’re not angry at each other from the get-go!

What do you think your biggest challenges might be along the way?

Bonny: I think finding the modes of transport, I don’t know whether there’s a train network or a rail network here or what the buses are like, so it’s going to be figuring all that out and getting to grips with what the travel is like here – what the most popular modes of transport are, and what’s the cheapest. As soon as we get our head around that I think we’ll be able to get on with it a bit more, but it’s going be the slow start, I think.

Have you packed anything for this trip that you just can’t live without?

Billy: This one is for you, Bon… You know what you’ve got.

Bonny: I’m a bit of a fake tan queen because I’m so pale. I’m translucent! I can’t do with being pale! But I think I’m doing okay, bearing in mind that last time I went on holiday I went for 10 days, and my suitcase was 36 kilograms! This time round my rucksack is only 16 kilograms, so I think I’m doing really well!

Billy: Funnily enough when I thought about the things I needed for travelling fake tan wasn’t in the top 10!

Harry Judd and his mum Emma

Emma Judd & Harry Judd standing on a street, with backpacks
Harry Judd and mum Emma Judd (Image: Studio Lambert Ltd/Pete Dadds)

Why did you want to take part in Celebrity Race Across The World?

Harry: Well, it feels like a totally unique opportunity, particularly at our age and our stages of life. I’ve got three young children, so you can imagine me trying to pitch to my wife that I’m going off travelling for a month! I never travelled when I was younger, I travelled with the band, but I never properly did backpacking, and I always wanted to, and I think the same applies for my mum, she always wanted to but started a family when she was 22.

Emma: Yeah, I was young and one thing I think that I’ve missed in my life, not that I regret it, was actually backpacking and going off on an adventure like this. So, when Harry had the opportunity come along, I thought what could be better than going on an adventure with my son!

Would you say that you’re both quite adventurous people?

Emma: I think I am.

Harry: You are, but you haven’t been able to express that adventurousness.

Emma: No, because I’ve been very lucky and I had a family young, and various things have happened along the way. So, I’ve been caring for people or family or working, so I haven’t been able to do it, but now I’m not! And I’ve never minded, but I just thought, wow, why wouldn’t I want to do it! And the other thing for me, is that Harry left home at 17, totally unexpected and it totally blew me away. So, we just haven’t had time together on our own. He’s got his lovely family, lovely wife, so it’s always with other people, so precious time together with my son – what’s not to like?

Do you think you’re going to be good travelling companions together?

Harry: It’s hard to tell really. I think we’ve predicted that there’s potential that we might get on each other’s nerves, but the truth is, I’m a bit more like my dad, and I have witnessed them bickering a bit in the past so I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a little bicker! So, I think I’ve got to try and be aware that I do things my way, but mum would do things her way and we’ve got to meet in the middle somewhere. We definitely think differently, I’m a bit more intense I’d say.

Emma: I think with our strengths and weaknesses we make a good team.

Harry: I’m hoping so!

What skills do you think you each bring to the experience?

Emma: Well, I’m scatty… I like to think I’m very much, ‘let’s do it! Come on and let’s go!’

Harry: Positive energy and you just throw yourself into it.

Emma: That’s it, positive energy! I’m no good with directions, crap with money, that’s why I very much rely on him for those things. So, I think I can bring the caring side and also the ‘let’s get on with it’. I’m also thinking, because of being in nursing, I’ve been through all sorts, especially when I was younger and I was working night duties and doing very long hours, maybe I’m prepared for it? I don’t know.

Harry: I think mum will be much better getting on with it, I don’t think I’ll be as good as dealing with the discomfort or tiredness or things like that. I’ll definitely complain more…

What kind of traveller are you? Are you happy backpacking and roughing it or do you like your creature comforts and five-star hotels?

Harry: Something about this excites me, I’m hoping to see things and experience different cultures and I think we have to do it this way. I think it’s great, because I think any other time, even if I was travelling, I would probably travel in luxury, we’ll go here and stay in a nice hotel and then we’ll travel there and get a tour guide to take us.

Emma: His dad is just the same, so I’m really pleased to get out and get in there.

Harry: But we don’t want to predict too much because I could be moaning away in two weeks’ time!

Emma: And I’m selling myself as such a superhero and then I’ll collapse at the first hurdle!

How do you feel about travelling without a mobile phone or credit cards?

Harry: There’s something quite freeing about it and just not having to worry about it. We’re so attached to our phones – I’m awful. So, I think I I’m quite looking forward to just having to read a book and having to keep my head up. But at the same time, a phone is a very nice distraction, there are nice things to look at in your phone, and I’m going to miss speaking to my wife every day, that’s going to be a struggle.

Emma: I feel relieved that I don’t have to communicate! What a relief! Because my husband, for instance, last night he asked me ‘how many packs of toothpaste have you got,’ he loves a bit of detail! I love him dearly, but if I ring him he goes, ‘how do I do the cooking and what am I doing?’ and I just think ‘oh go away!’

Harry: Yes, like me, he wants detail. Even though he’s going to make the decision he wants to tell you about everything, he wants to know what you’re doing and why have you done it like that!

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve brought with you?

Harry: My drumsticks would probably be quite unusual to some people, and mum’s going to teach me some tapestry.

Emma: I’ve brought a kit for him especially, which is a Christmas stocking, because I’ve done tapestries for all the children – well I’m finishing Rocky’s actually on this trip – Christmas stockings which they hang up on the fireplace. Stitching is a very good thing for me to do, because I’m quite busy myself and I don’t really like watching telly and things so I’m doing the stitching. And I brought a kit for Harry so he can do one for his wife.

Harry: My family have also given me something each.

Emma: What have they given you?

Harry: Well, I don’t know yet, they’re in letters. I’ve got two letters from Lola, one letter from Kit, two letters from Izzy and I think a pack of photos that we can enjoy.

Emma: I’ve got keyrings, bits and pieces like that to remind me of each person, little memories.

Harry: One’s a keyring from the car garage dad goes to!

Emma: Yes, he’s not a great romantic either, so I said there’s reminders of our frequent trips to the garage!

What do the rest of the family make of you two doing this trip together?

Harry: Well, my wife is very supportive and amazing considering we’ve got three children and the fact that she struggles with anxiety, particularly separation anxiety, which she’s been pretty open about. So, she slightly thinks that it’s not really me that’s going through the challenge, it’s her – they should be making a TV show on how she can cope at home! So, she’s been amazing, because her instinct is to ask me not to go, but she’s really fighting her fear to allow me to go through this experience. So, it’s mixed emotions. But ultimately, we felt it was the right thing to do. And my children think it’s great that daddy is racing across the world. I think my youngest, the one-year-old, I’m very proud to say he very much loves his daddy, so I’m very sad about leaving him because I don’t want him to be thinking, where’s that man gone? And, anyway [to Emma], you’ve got your husband and your other two children!

Emma: Yes, I’ve got a daughter and another son and they’re very supportive, and very pleased. But my daughter is sad because her Thursday childcare is gone! And my son is very jealous of us! But I think it is a good experience to be away from each other, having a break!

Have you watched previous series of Race Across the World? And will you be taking any tips from them?

Harry: I was never very good at doing homework…

Emma: I’ve been doing a bit! But I can’t remember of course. But I’ve got the gist of it, I think. What it is, is you’ve just got to experience it.

How competitive are you both? Are you in it to win it?

Harry: Once that start gun goes off, we’ll give it our best go! But you’ve got to balance the competition between your own sanity and comfort, and I think you can be a more effective racer if you don’t go out all guns blazing. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

Emma: I don’t want the pressure.

Harry: I don’t want mum to feel any pressure, she’ll do her best and that’s all we can ask for, that’s what we aim for, we’ll just do our best!

Melanie Blatt and mum Helene

Helene Blatt & Mel Blatt standing on a street with backpacks
Melanie Blatt and mum Helene (Image: Studio Lambert Ltd/Pete Dadds)

Why did you decide to take part in the series?

Melanie: For the experience, to be out of my comfort zone, to do something that I wouldn’t necessarily choose to do on my own. I’m definitely up for challenges and pushing myself… And this is what mum does all the time!

Helene: I like to discover new things and have experiences and it’s one of my passions – travelling, having new experiences.

And have you inherited that adventurous side, Melanie?

Melanie: In a more luxury way! I love to travel, but I like to travel nicely!

How competitive are you?

Melanie: I think we’re quite competitive in our nature, but at the same time we definitely want to enjoy ourselves during this trip. So, we’ve got a bit of a mantra that we’re not going to run, so if somebody is running ahead of us, we’ll let them run!

What kind of traveller would you say you are?

Melanie: I would say I enjoy luxury… But I do also like to experience the country that I’m in. I love wildlife and nature, so that’s always part of a holiday usually too.

What made you want to do this journey together?

Helene: Our relationship is good, but to be together, we’ve never done that just the two of us. So, I think that’s the main thing, to do something that’s just us!

Melanie: Definitely! I’m very aware that anything can happen at any point, so to have this quality time with my mum, it’s to be appreciated and it’s not a given and I’m lucky to even have a mum in the first place. But we’ve not spent one-on-one time, this kind of time together intensely and already before leaving we spent a week together and there were some annoyances – I’m not going to lie!

Helene: And vice-versa!

Melanie: Exactly! We annoy each other, and we’re both deaf so we’re talking to each other and not listening and not hearing so those are the kind of things where we’ll probably drive each other a bit mad! And she [Helene] is also very used to being the boss, and then I’m also very used to being the boss, which can sometimes cause a little bit of friction!

What do you think will be your greatest skills?

Melanie: I think we’re quite open and ready and happy to talk to people and get stuck in. We’re open minded and really up for it! Mum also is French, so she speaks French, plus Spanish and English – just about! So, she’s good with languages, and she’s good with geography, well… better than I am!

How do you feel about travelling without a mobile phone or credit cards?

Melanie: That’s really scary. I haven’t had my phone since about seven o’clock this morning and it’s been an issue! I’m addicted to my phone, it’s always in my hand. Even when I’m watching TV, I’m playing a game on it. You know? Even just not being able to check the time! So, it’s weird not just being able to check the time or google something, it’s going to be so interesting to see what it feels like to just not have a phone.

Did you do anything to prepare for the trip?

Melanie: I got a sunbed! And a McDonalds! Just in case I can’t have one for a month. Jokes aside, no! Maybe we’ll regret that one later, but no we haven’t done any preparation together.

Helene: There’s not much you can do to prepare anyway because we don’t know where we’re going, and we don’t know how much money we’ll have to spend so you can’t prepare really!

Have you taken any tips from watching previous series of RATW?

Helene: Yes! We’ve watched everything!

Melanie: I actually hadn’t watched it. But mum told me about it, because mum and dad actually applied to be on it – the regular version of the show – without even telling us! But as soon as we got a confirmation that we were definitely doing it, that’s when I chose to watch it and I was horrified! So yes, we have watched it and there are a few things that we are going to do, having seen the previous series.

What do the rest of your family make of you two doing this trip together?

Helene: I think they’re happy to get rid of us!

Melanie: They just can’t wait to watch it! That’s their main thing, they’re just like, this is going to be hilarious. Also, mum and dad haven’t been apart from each other since I was about 12, so it’s going to be weird for her not having dad around!

What essentials, that you couldn’t travel without, have you brought with you?

Melanie: Wet wipes! And fags…

Helene: My Swiss Army Knife and also my compass.

Would you say you cope well during a crisis? Are you calm under pressure?

Melanie: I’d like to think so. I know mum is, and I’d like to think I am, but I haven’t really been in these kind of situations before now! I can get stressed, and frustrated perhaps, so this is a very big test for who I am, because I’m normally a very calm person but like I’ve said I’ve not really been in any scary situations.

What’s been your best ever travel experience?

Helene: I think for me, it would be swimming with hammer head sharks in the Galapagos! It would also be the scariest, it was a big surprise but it was an experience which will probably never be repeated, so it was a lucky, lucky day!

Melanie: I’m really blessed that I’ve had so many amazing ones, I’ve been really lucky. But one which is definitely one of my most amazing, is when I went on the Orient Express from Bangkok to Singapore. It was for Save The Wild Tigers and on the last night on the train, I had two of my best friends there, and one of them and her fiancé DJ’d and did this great set with Wham! and all the best tunes, and we were on the back of the train, going fast through Kuala Lumpur and just the wind, and the tunes and everybody dancing, it was brilliant!

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