Gypsies Win ABC's 'Expedition Impossible' Proving Reality-TV Isn't All Bad
A small bladder, sparse facial hair and crazy camels didn't get in the way of the Modern Gypsies, the San Diego team who won it all in the first season of ABC's Expedition Impossible. And these boys are also living proof that reality TV can have an encouraging outcome for the greater good.
But these recent reality-TV celebs didn't waste any time after the show's finale. The Gypsies are back on the saddle traveling to raise money and awareness about their newest mission as "Compassionate Adventurers."
In Mark Burnett Productions' latest reality-TV show, 13 teams of three competed across the Sahara desert in a ten-leg race to the finish line. Admittedly, this show noticeably resembled the Amazing Race, but it was missing something besides U-turns. Expedition lacked Survivor's Machiavellian tactics to spur on the drama, and the show didn't require board rooms or councils to vote off so-called friends.
I recently spoke with the Modern Gypsies, Eric Bach 26, John Post 25, and Taylor Filasky 32, who share ties with San Diego and are free spirits in real life, something they say was key to their success.
The trio was in perfect synch throughout the entire competition -- down to the purple-colored shirts and matching moustaches. Though they had to lobby against being labeled The Hipsters by producers (anything but this name, right?), they possessed the precise combination of qualities, physical and mental strength a true dream team needed to make it to the end of this grueling competition.
The boys in purple trekked across Morocco to finish in first place 9 out of 10 legs in the show's debut season and took the id="mce_marker"50,000 prize along with Ford Explorers.
John Post, originally from Pensacola, Florida who is also working on maintaining a sustainable farm there, said the show was positive not only because of the Gypsies' stalwart personalities, but because most of the teams set the tone for the whole race.
"There were opportunities to send people in the wrong direction and things like that, but we didn't. The vibe was so good and so positive throughout the race, and that's what made it great," Post humbly added.
Eric Bach grew up in San Francisco, and met John when they were students at Florida State University. He noted that in spite of Burnett's shows usually including a lot of malicious backstabbing, "once we saw this show had heart, that really attracted us and fit with our personalities."
Before the mustached threesome became the Modern Gypsies, Taylor Filasky was a video producer in San Diego, a skill that came in handy when the boys decided to put together their audition tape for Expedition Impossible.
Speaking of mustaches, though Taylor has his own version of facial hair, he revealed to me that he decided to sport a fake moustache when he first met with Burnett, and added that this trick may have helped the team seal the casting deal.
After college, the adventurous friends continually traveled the world -- 45 countries between all three of them -- volunteering in impoverished countries helping people improve their lives. To capitalize on the national attention after winning Expedition Impossible, these genuine globe trotters immediately set off on their next enterprise callede "Compassionate Adventures."
The "Travelers with a Purpose" have partnered with Free The Children (http://www.freethechildren.com/) , a world-wide charitable organization, and Jedidiah USA (http://www.jedidiahusa.com/causes/meet-our-new-ambassadors-the-gypsies-f...), a San Diego-based humanitarian clothes maker which uses sales to provide support for the needy, to raise money to be able to assist one of three counties with projects to help improve their current conditions.
Their first post-show mission is to help people with a specific task in one of three countries: Mobil healthcare in Kenya, clean water for Ecuador, or alternative income in India. However, they won't be choosing where they go to work next, you will! The public can currently vote (http://www.themoderngypsies.com/projects/) on where their first compassionate adventure will take place!
Unlike the typical made-for-reality-TV-personality, the young and energetic philanthropists have chosen to live a life unfettered by the normal responsibilities of the American way of life. They claim their "DNA is encoded with giving back" and they are determined to make a difference in this world.
I asked Taylor how others can abandon the trappings of normal life to travel constantly helping others, and offered this insightful bit of advice, "just get a ticket and go!"