“When I was a kid people used to say the greatest job in this history of the world was to present a TV travel show,” says CNN host James Williams.
“I remember watching Getaway and The Great Outdoors.”
Now the young Aussie has his dream job, fronting In 24 Hours.
“It is a job unlike any other. There are very few of them so I know how incredibly lucky I am to be doing it. It is as amazing as it seems, but there are a few downsides. You’re permanently exhausted, and permanently away from family and friends.”
It’s a small price to pay for Melbourne-born Williams, originally a producer for CNN Business Traveller, travelling the world looking for unique experiences. After studying Law at Monash University he abandoned his pursuits for a media career.
“I wanted a job that would take me around the world and meet interesting people, so I moved to London because my family are originally British, and started working at SKY News in low-level producing and pretty quickly moved to CNN. I started doing travel shows for CNN and then moved on screen. It’s all gone quite quickly, really,” he says.
So far the show has featured New York, Hong Kong and Buenos Aires with a Sydney episode to air this week.
“The travel show focusses on the upper end of the travel market, which isn’t that common on television,” he explains.
“It is a luxury travel programme so that inherently implies it is attracted to an older demographic.
“News and cable channels generally skew older. So it’s melding old and new.
“It’s experiential, which means the host goes to experience a whole bunch of things. We aim to try and find experiences people haven’t been before and that have a rare access.”
The Sydney episode includes the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, a ride in a 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera, a visit to Symbio Wildlife Park, meeting Merivale CEO Justin Hemme, a surfing lesson from Stephanie Gilmore, meeting Chef Peter Gilmore and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Opera House.
These days Williams is based in New York, but the demands of the job mean life lived mostly out of a suitcase. Not that he is complaining.
“I spend about 70% of my life in hotels and occasionally go back to New York to do bit of washing and make sure the apartment isn’t on fire, repack my suitcase and go somewhere else,” he says.
“But you wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
Wednesday March 2 at 9:30pm on CNN.