He famously played a motel co-owner in “Schitt’s Creek” and has been able to travel all over the world throughout his acting career, which spans five decades.
But Canadian star Eugene Levy freely admits that he’s “not fond of traveling” at all, describing himself as more of “the great indoors type of guy.”
“I don’t hate it. [Hate] is a very strong word,” Levy tells CNN Travel. “But I don’t really love it.”
The Emmy winner is continually forced out of his comfort zone in his latest TV project “The Reluctant Traveler,” an eight-episode Apple TV+ travel series that follows Levy as he hesitantly travels to places like Finland, Costa Rica, South Africa and Tokyo.
Famous for his deadpan delivery, Levy makes no attempt to even pretend that he’s getting any enjoyment out of many of the experiences, which involve going dog-sledding, visiting the rainforest and even taking a stool sample from an elephant.
Travel with hesitation
He describes a night hike through the Costa Rican rainforest as one of the “least pleasant” moments captured for the cameras, explaining that “the creepy crawly aspect” was particularly off putting.
“I would never have done that [a night hike through the rainforest] in a million years,” he says. “But I’m doing this to be able to try things I wouldn’t have tried and form an opinion. And I did form an opinion and you know what: didn’t like it. Wouldn’t do it again.”
So how did someone who says they’d “rather stay at home” than go on any sort of wild travel adventure end up fronting a travel show?
According to Levy, the idea came about when he was approached to appear in a more typical travel series and decided to explain to producers exactly why he was the absolute worst person for the job.
“They said, ‘That’s it. That’s the show,’” he explains, before stressing that he’s aware that being able to go to places that many people could only dream of is “kind of a great job,” and he feels lucky to have been able to do it.
“Eight billion people would kill to be doing this,” he says. “But there’s an honesty about being able to say, ‘I truly didn’t enjoy that.’
“Where most people, I think, wouldn’t say that, because they feel it’s not necessarily a very positive thing to say.”
He hopes that ”The Reluctant Traveler” will appeal to people like him as well as “more seasoned travelers.”
“I think there’s a lot of people out there who will look at me up there and just kind of see me as a kindred spirit,” he says.
However, Levy admits that he enjoyed visiting Finland far more than he expected to, and found the outdoor activities, particularly driving a dog sled team across a frozen lake, as “exhilarating.”
“It was a lot of fun,” he says. “I did love that. Ice fishing: didn’t care for it. Wouldn’t want to do it again.”
While he also had a great time in both Lisbon and the Maldives, Levy doubts that he’ll ever be prepared to do the 20-hour or so flight from Los Angeles in order to visit the latter again.
Levy, who played Noah Levenstein, Jim Levenstein’s dad, in “American Pie,” was accompanied by his actress daughter Sarah Levy while filming some of the episodes of the show, which premieres on February 24, while his wife Deborah Divine also came out to join him.
He explains that Divine, as well as Sarah and his son Dan Levy, who both starred alongside him in “Schitt’s Creek,” love to “get out and see new things and try new things” while he “kind of lags behind a bit.”
“I wish I could be setting a better example,” he admits. “But hey, that’s dad.”
According to Levy, “laying out on a beach chair” in the French Riviera or Hawaii while sipping on a cool drink is “more up my alley.”
“You don’t have to be moving, moving, moving, seeing something, traveling here, making sure you see this,” he explains.
“Gotta get there now, because it closes at 5 p.m. There’s a lot of running around that I don’t enjoy [about traveling] but put me in a lovely beach chair with nothing to do but just chill. That’s not a bad trip.”
Levy is particularly fond of Italy, declaring that “you can’t get a bad meal” there, as well as New York, where he also enjoys the culinary delights, as well as “just walking around.”
“[I] don’t need a list of a dozen things that I have to do here,” he adds.
So has visiting a number of places he had no interest in going to, and trying things he “would never remotely have considered doing,” made Levy a less reluctant traveler?
The short answer to that would be “no.” But he notes that he’s “opening up to the idea that you might have to force yourself to get out and go to some of these places that you might not have gone to.”
“I think at the core, between people who love traveling and exploring and absolutely can’t wait to get out and explore new countries, new terrains and new cultures and whatever it is. They get excited about it,” he adds.
“And I don’t. That’s just the difference. It’s not so much that you hate to do something. It’s just the question of, ‘where’s the enjoyment factor?’”
And although Levy stresses that there’s little chance of him deciding to go hiking in the Himalayas any time soon, he believes that he’s becoming a more enlightened person by taking on different experiences, however reluctantly that may be.
“If you were to ask me, ‘what’s the one place in the world you want to get to?’ I would say, ‘I don’t have that location.’
“I’m still not enamored with traveling. But at least I’m willing to give it a go.”