Anyone who knows the Kirkby family of Kimberley — Bruce, Christine and sons Bodi and Taj — knows that the typical family vacation is not for them. Bruce, a wilderness guide, writer and award-winning photographer, has been travelling the world’s wildest places for many years and the arrival of children only meant more people to share them with. The family has explored the mountains of Patagonia and the steppes of Georgia.
Their latest journey saw them leave Kimberley and travel to a remote monastery in the Himalaya — all without getting on an airplane. The trekked through the Himalaya (with a short stop at Mt. Everest’s base camp), sailed the Ganges River, crossed the North Pacific Ocean on a container ship and meditated with monks in a Tibetan monastery. Just a family of four. And a TV crew of about 20.
The new travel series Big Crazy Family Adventure is about to launch on the Travel Channel in the US and DTour in Canada. It will also be available on a number of different web platforms. The nine episodes chronicle the Kirkby’s 13,000 mile journey and all the ups and downs on the road.
Bruce says he and his wife never tried to pitch the series, it came to them.
“TV is a hungry beast,” he said. “500 channels and nothing on. I get a call every two to three months — any ideas? Any trips? But they never come to fruition.”
Through various contacts, Bruce had been talking with production companies for two years but when he happened to mention the upcoming trip to India and Nepal, the reaction was; “Mate, that’s the one!”
The deal was done. The Kirkbys would have company on their trip.
One thing Bruce was very concerned about was this would be real reality TV.
“It’s really important to me to do TV that matters. Reality TV is anything but reality, but for the integrity of my kids, I wanted it to be real. Travel, adventure and wild things matter to me.”
Bruce says there were probably 85 people with them on and off throughout the six month trip, and surprisingly, adjusting to the cameras was quite easy.
“The crew showed up in Kimberley and amazingly the kids got used to them. You invest a lot of trust in them. They can make you look like a hero or not. You have to surrender to it. If you are trying to alter the content it will never be authentic. When I started seeing the rough cuts, I was pleased and impressed.”
If anything they showed the family at their best.
“The kids might have been a little more whiny and difficult at times than they show, which I appreciate,” Bruce said.
The show premieres on Father’s Day, June 21. Check your listings to see if you have the DTour Channel. It will also be available on ITunes.
You can see a trailer for the show here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlZckv0hxcs