What was your last big trip?
My wife and I went to New Zealand and stayed at Treetops Lodge, just outside of Rotorua, in this fantastic wooded never-never land. The great thing about New Zealand is that you‘re so far from home that you‘re nearly out of touch. Our daughter called from California to say there was a leak in our hallway. I told her, “We‘re seven thousand miles away. Put a pan under it!”
Where are you off to next?
This month I‘m doing a fair amount of travel for work—Philadelphia for a speech, New York for the Daytime Emmys, D.C. for the National Geographic Bee. This summer we‘re taking a cruise on Seabourn‘s Pride from London to St. Petersburg. After that, we‘re probably off to Budapest and Prague.
How do you travel?
As a family, we‘re really low-maintenance. We never check our baggage, even if we‘re going on a safari in Africa for two weeks. The last time we were there, we took only two roll-on bags: one for the kids—Matthew just turned 14, Emily is 11—and one for us. People marvel at our packing skills.
What is one of the most memorable things you‘ve seen on vacation?
The sun rising over the Himalayas is hard to beat. I joke with friends of mine, and say, “Look at that corner where the wall meets the ceiling. That‘s you standing in front of the Rocky Mountains with its 12,000-foot peaks. Now look up to the top of the second story. That‘s the Himalayas. That‘s the difference.” I mean, you‘re standing there surrounded by 25,000-foot-tall peaks. And it‘s mind-boggling. You just realize how insignificant you are in God‘s creation.
Do you have any favorite souvenirs?
I‘ve never been big on souvenirs. In the past, I wouldn‘t even bring a camera. I figured that when the memories started to fade, if it had been a pleasant experience I‘d go back. But I do have a small malachite carving from Victoria Falls. They have these arts and crafts markets, and one of the local merchants saw my Jeopardy! baseball cap and said, “I want that cap.” So we traded. Now somewhere near Victoria Falls, this guy has my hat.
What do you love most about travel?
The act of flying itself is great, because you get time to unwind and get into a new frame of mind. You‘re not bothered, you‘re sitting there, they‘re feeding you, you have daylight all the way. You‘re going to a different world—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. If you work it out right, it can be just marvelous.
How does your life on your horse farm differ from your life as host of Jeopardy!?
There are some places you visit on earth where you are immediately taken by the clarity of the sky, the clear air. My farm up near Paso Robles, California is like that. You get there and, it‘s just flat-out gorgeous. There‘s no smog, smoke, or unpleasant odor—it‘s just pure.
Do you go back to Canada often?
I get back to Toronto a couple of times a year. I love to just walk around up there. It‘s such a marvelous city for pedestrian sightseers. On occasion I get back to Vancouver. On a beautiful day in the spring or summer, you‘re hard-pressed to find a place as beautiful as Vancouver. It‘s just fantastic, but on a January morning when it‘s overcast, sleeting, wet, and dreary... talk about depressing.