“Boston Rob” Mariano interview: Around The World In 80 Ways, Oct. 2

Sometimes getting there is half the fun. Now, it’s an epic challenge.

HISTORY brings a special non-competition adventure featuring a stone-cold Southerner and a hard-nosed Yankee, and together they use American ingenuity to create ingenious ways of traveling the world.

All coming your way on HISTORY on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 10 p.m.

Why take any old car when you can get where you’re going by rickshaw or hovercraft? For two real-life adrenaline junkies charged with circumnavigating the globe using every conceivable mode of transportation, it’s not the destination that counts, but the journey itself.

That’s the challenge for Robert “Boston Rob” Mariano (Survivor, The Amazing Race) and Dennis Anderson (creator of the monster truck Gravedigger), hosts of the upcoming new 10-part series which premieres Sunday, Oct. 2 at 10 p.m., and is created by Thom Beers and his Original Productions team.


Whether rushing down Victoria Falls in a barrel or hang gliding over Rio, Rob and Dennis have to employ 80 different forms of transportation without repeating any vehicle. It’s an extreme expedition that will take the hosts not only across the miles, but through time as they explore the history behind the many ways people have gotten around throughout the ages.

This buddy adventure takes Rob and Dennis through Brazil, Peru, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Dubai, India, Thailand, and the United States. Sometimes they must join forces, while at other times they work against each other. At times they even have to invent and build their own means of transport. Although Around the World in 80 Ways is not a competition, these two can’t resist turning everything into a good-natured dare of their own. In their playbook, nothing is off limits when humiliating consequences await the loser.

Boston Rob’s partner in crime is four-time Monster Jam world champion Dennis Anderson is the creator and driver of Gravedigger, the world’s most recognized monster truck brand in the history of the sport.

“Boston Rob” Mariano made his first television appearance on Survivor: Marquesas in 2002. Mariano is a four-time Survivor contestant and 2011 Survivor: Redemption Island winner as well as a two-time competitor, along with his wife Amber Brkich, on The Amazing Race. He has hosted several television events and shows and starred in a regular segment for the CBS Early Show. An avid sportsman, Mariano is Boston-born and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University.

Monsters and Critics spoke to “Boston Rob” Mariano yesterday, half of the duo starring in History’s new ten-part series called “Around the World in 80 Ways,” which premieres Sunday, October 2, 10:00 pm Eastern Time.

Monsters and Critics:  At the TCAs and I loved the story that Dennis talked about all the different challenges for him physically. And I was wondering if you could talk about the most amusing challenge that you witnessed your partner have to undertake?

Rob Mariano:  One? Just one? Every single day was a challenge for him, which is what made it great. Unfortunately he’s not on the line to defend himself. So I don’t want to be too hard on him.

But I think just the fact that he hasn’t really travelled internationally, he’s a complete fish out of water, everything was brand new. I mean, he’s fallen into all the tourist traps. As soon as the first place – the first destination we went to was in Lima, Peru, and he’d fallen into all the tourist traps right out of the airport, you know, buying all the gifts and everything.

He loved the food – to try the different foods in different countries. The street food, which if you’ve traveled to India, if you’ve been there in the past, you know you don’t eat the food off the side of the road. It’s going to make you so sick. But that didn’t stop him.

So it was kind of — I don’t want to say I took pleasure in it, but there were times where – when he was doing whatever it was that he was doing that I knew he shouldn’t have been doing — it was kind of like a silent payback. I wouldn’t let him in on all the secrets to traveling. (I’ll just have to) figure out – I’ll let him learn it on his own.

M&C:  Your natural differences — you being a Yankee, him being a southerner — did you guys kind of pull together as Americans when you were over there?

Rob Mariano:  I think at times we worked at together and at other times we were probably too much to take for each other. You know, we spent 10-1/2 weeks doing this show 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, like literally every minute of every day.

If you spend that much time with anybody you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. I don’t care who it is. I don’t spend that much time with my own wife.

So that combined with our natural differences I think it made for a roller coaster of a relationship. We built each other up just to break each other down again and it was more of a love-hate relationship.

M&C:  What was the worst aspect of this for you as far as experience?

Rob Mariano:  You know, the being gone for me was just missing home and missing the family because this was 10-1/2 weeks. This was almost twice as long as any of the other shows that I had done before — the Survivors, the Amazing Race (and that stuff).

Fortunately I was able to stay connected and stay in touch with my family by phone and internet and video calling and all that stuff, which we had done a lot to deal with Survivor. But even still, you know, I have two young kids at home. So that was probably one of the biggest challenges for me.

And I think the end as well — I mean there was a point probably about three weeks into it where I think he wanted to pack it up and stand this one out. And I think he was homesick. He’s never been away from home for any extended period of time and it looked almost surmountable. We were having some trouble with where we were going, our destinations. And so I think for both of us that was the biggest challenge, was being away from home.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.