Crew View: Jim Peck Close

Jim Peck

Big Ten Network executive producer and director of University Photography and Videography, Communications and Brand Strategy

Executive producer and host: Wolong and Guangzhou, China; Merida, Mexico; San José, Costa Rica; Campinas, Brazil; Lilongwe, Malawi; Lusaka, Zambia; Gicumbi and Kivuye, Rwanda; Naitolia, Tanzania; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Bangalore, India; East Lansing, Detroit, Dimondale, and Traverse City, Michigan

“So, what’s next?”

I keep getting that question. You people who followed this trip want to know. And the answer really is, “I’m not sure.”

Let me say that I do know what I’ll be doing next, but that’s not what you mean. You want to know when the next expedition is coming. And I do not know.

This job keeps me on the move no matter where I am. I like that this work is sort of like an iceberg; people only see the part that sticks up out of the water. Most of the actual work happens below the surface, behind the scenes. I think that’s been one of the cool parts about the way we’ve taken this trip and told these stories. We’ve brought everyone along with us. And, mostly, I like you people.

Mostly.

A thing I have trouble with is trying to sum up a trip when it’s over. Trips, for me, aren’t ever really over and they don’t really start. Not to get too “Summer of Love” on you, but life is the real trip. The cliché about life being a journey and not a destination is true, and it’s true for actual trips.

Sometimes I think about travel like meals. I get hungry and then I eat, I like or don’t like the food, I digest it, and eventually I need to eat again. Any stop along the way of a trip is just a chance to eat an experience, but the eating is just another part of the continuum.

Am I making sense?

Travel is one of those legacy experiences, no doubt. But I don’t think we should treat it like Christmas. Travel can be part of your life the same way work, school, or relationships are. You don’t have to treat travel like this rare thing that only happens for some special reason.

If we make travelling less of an aberration, we begin to truly experience the world through fresh eyes. It doesn’t have to be exotic. In fact, being able to squeeze an authentic experience from familiar roads is often reserved for the most gifted of travellers. (Yeah, I like to spell it with two ‘l’s). Come on, ANYONE can buy a trip to Paris and rave on and on about Paris and yammer about how Paris-y it all is. It takes true vision to find the magic in your own hometown.

And that’s what travel is, at least to me: finding magic. It’s not always good, it’s often hard to look at, and it can taste and smell funny. But it can be magic.

I have been fortunate to combine work and travel into one. Telling stories from the road is magic and it’s a blessing. But, really, telling stories period is a magical blessing. People think I love being away from home. That’s not it. I crave new experiences and I’m hungry for new country. Not new “countries,” new country. Places I haven’t seen. That means South Asia and it means Northern Michigan. I just want to see something new. And I want to tell stories about those places—stories that are integral to the locations where they’re happening.

So. What’s next? Not sure. I want to go to Antarctica, my final unvisited continent. It looks white and blue and empty. But I know there are stories there. And when I go, I’ll find them. And I’ll bring you along.

Promise.

Jim standing near the edge of a cliff

Standing tall on the Great Wall of China.

Lisa Mulcrone pushing Jim in a cart

This is not was I was expecting when Lisa said she’d give me a lift, but when in China…

Jim in a crowd

“El Gigante” makes his way through the ER line in Merida, Mexico as Kevin catches the moment.

Jim and Kevin Epling inspect a video camera

Reviewing footage in the market, Campinas, Brazil.

Jim in a Tanzanian field

The wide-open spaces of Tanzania.

Jim in another crowd

Doing my last international stand-up, dodging cars, on a jammed street in Bangalore, India.