Catch, Cook and CanTeen with Adventure Aaron
Catch, Cook and CanTeen with Adventure Aaron
He’s got more than 40 different countries under his travelling belt, but for “Adventure Aaron”, there is something so special about New Zealand that when Catch and Cook! with Adventure Aaron first came into being, the idea that the initial series should be anywhere other than here never crossed his mind.
Fresh from the filming of the second series of “Alive!” with Adventure Aaron, in Spain, Florida-based Aaron Carotta started off the six week film shoot of the length of New Zealand in Northland this week, and will finish up right down south at the end of February. During the trip he’ll be experiencing the very best New Zealand has to offer in terms of adventure, coupling that with the catching or procuring of local delicacies in different regions and then having a Master Class with chef greats ranging from Peta Matthias to hilarious cartoonist Darryl Crimp, being shown how to get the very best of the dish of the day.
But that won’t be all. In addition to this, Aaron has taken on board CanTeen, raising funds for this charity which helps teenagers diagnosed with cancer and their families.
“We have set up a page on CanTeen’s website and on Facebook’s Adventure Aaron page and CanTeen members, these are people diagnosed with cancer, have the opportunity to put down why they’d like to come with me on our episode that is being filmed in Nelson,” he says.
The winners, who will be flown to Nelson, will get to experience seal diving, kayaking and the option to go tandem skydiving, as well as being on set while Aaron films Catch and Cook! The ideas being that one winner will be chosen by the amount of votes they get from friends and family and others, while the other will be chosen by Aaron himself.
“Life is about being lived to the fullest extent and for these kids, it’s an opportunity to be able to experience just some of the world-class adventures out there within their own country,” he says. “From an adventure perspective, New Zealand is right up there at the top of the list.”
The choice to raise both awareness and funds for cancer patients is something that is close to Aaron’s heart and had its beginnings through a life changing event when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. After a year of learning to reprioritise life, Aaron began a blog in which he explored the philosophy of living life to its fullest extent, not only travelling around the world and experiencing the unique adventures, cultures and histories of every nation he visited, but also putting them all onto a blog; Adventure Aaron.
The blog was a success, with thousands of followers and in 2009, Aaron was contracted by a television producer to go the next step and put together a series documenting his travels and adventures – and how anyone on any budget could experience them the same way. The series was scheduled to show to an estimated 86 million Americans in May 2010.
The series started out as a six episode set, featuring South America, New Zealand, Fiji, Morocco, Holland and Portugal and within a year, the request was there to turn it in to a 13 episode series. By the time 2011 had rolled around, Alive! With Aaron Carotta was into its second series and showing to 120 million in the United States, India, Russia and parts of Europe.
He has also managed a mini-series on travelling the world without luggage, is an expert on the new term for travel hacking and has been instrumental in working with many of the world’s leading travel writers, using a number as his guests on a variety of episodes, including such luminaries as the Professional Hobo in Nora Dunn, Rolf Potts and Tim Ferriss.
Aaron hasn’t stopped with this however. As a cancer survivor – and one whose team is made up mostly of other survivors – Aaron is undertaking an ambitious project mid this year in which he will attempt to break a record by kayaking the entire length of the Intracoastal Waterway on the east coast of the United States, in a solo kayak. The journey will begin in the Florida Keys and end in Maine, for an estimated, 3,300 miles. The current record is 2010 miles, held by Helen Skelton, in the Amazon Delta. This will be followed, all going to plan, with a special expedition across Australia with Blokart on their amazing sails on wheels.
These trips are part of his new “bucket list“; a new series featuring things he wants to achieve on his travels around the world. It is also his way to raise both money for, and heighten public awareness of, cancer.
"It’s more about providing motivation to those with a similar disease, that you can put your mind to anything. It’s also a great way to continue providing awareness to cancer," he says.
"You can’t get a good idea for another country unless you really dedicate time to exploring all that it has to offer. Life is fast, trust me, things can happen to you, that will change your life in a matter of minutes. It’s time to slow things down and truly understand the meaning of everything the world has to offer."
"I have seen the world and New Zealand has certainly left its mark - so much so that this is my fourth trip back in just two years.”
Aaron’s itinerary (weather depending) for the first week is as follows:
Episode 1: Jan 8-12 Northland, spear fishing etc with Dive Tutukaka, dunebuggy riding to meet the chef challenge with SandTrails. Chef is Brenton Low, with Master Class to be held at Deco restaurant.
Episode 2: January 12-15: Auckland, Explore NZ (catch is weather dependent, with final decision to be made on Thursday) coming in on sailing boat, as well as, The Food Store, with chef Mark Southon.
Episode 4: January 16- 18: Arrival into the Bay of Plenty via Blokart and Gyrate, with meet the chef challenge at Papamoa – chef Charles Royal’s Master Class to be held at Matahui Lodge.
Episode 5: January 19-21: Hamilton & Waikato. Black water rafting and catching elusive eel at the world-famous Waitomo Caves. Foraging for watercress and a crash course in catching NZ trout and the Master Class with local chef and MasterChef NZ contestant, Cameron Petley.