Check Out Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je-hoon’s Backpacking Experience in the Variety Show ‘Traveler’

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Find Out More about the Travel Reality Program ‘Traveler‘!

South Korea is not only famous for its K-pop and K-dramas, but also for its variety shows. South Korea always presents and offers a variety of programs that are very entertaining, one of which is JTBC’s ‘Traveler,‘ which is quite popular both domestically and in other countries.  The show has been greenlighted for a second season.

Let’s find out more about JTBC’s ‘Traveler‘!

About Traveler

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The program combines travel and documentaries, and is about two travelers who went to Cuba, taking a backpacking trip and enjoying a variety of experiences in the local area. For two weeks (26 December 2018–10 January 2019), the travelers backpacked in Cuba to learn about Che Guevara’s fight for freedom and revolution, Buena Vista Social Club’s brilliant melodies, and enjoy the refreshing feeling of old cars (1950’s to 1970s) and mojitos. This backpacking trip happened without the interference of the production crews, and both travelers had to make decisions together on finding private accommodations, known as casa, eating, and transportation.

Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je-hoon in Traveler Season 1

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The press conference for ‘Traveler,’ was held on February 21, 2019, and was attended by Producers Choi Chang-soo and Hong Sang-hoon, writers Kim Mut-ji and Wee Sun-im, and he actors Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je -hoon.

On Choi Chang-soo’s (‘Ask Us Anything’ PD) process of casting Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je-hoon, he explained that the program had to have only two people so that traveling logistics wouldn’t be difficult. After choosing Ryu Jun-yeol as the first member, they listened to his recommendation to cast Lee Je-hoon as the other member. In the program, the two actors showed off their interesting chemistry, which made it seem as if their ages were reversed. However, Ryu Jun-yeol said, “I’ve never felt that [Lee Je-hoon] acted younger than me. Lee Je-hoon was the perfect travel mate. We were very in sync. This is the first time I’ve gotten along so well with someone while traveling. I’ve traveled with various people, including same-aged friends and people who are older and younger than me, but Lee Je-hoon is a person that anyone would like as a travel mate.

Ryu Jun Yeol also said, “Despite [Lee Je-hoon] being older than me, I don’t have to be careful around him, and he treated me very comfortable.” He added, “As a [travel] mate, he’s the best hyung.” Lee Je-hoon then shared his thoughts on the program, as well as how he relied on Ryu Jun-yeol as a travel buddy. He said, “When I received the offer for ‘Traveler,’ I was frustrated in trying to figure out how to make traveling – which has been a comforting [activity] to me – into a program. First of all, I had no desires or knowledge about Cuba, and second, I was at a loss at the part where we could do whatever we wanted without a script. Third, it feels like a burden because I’ve never gone backpacking before. Despite this, I was able to do this program because of actor Ryu Jun-yeol.

Lee Je-hoon continued, “I wanted to meet him through [an acting] project, but I never imagined meeting him through a variety program. To me, Ryu Jun-yeol was the first reason. I relied on him for everything. As the older member, I should have prepared more and led, but Ryu Jun-yeol liked traveling a lot and knew so much, so I just followed whatever he said we should do. That was so comfortable and fun. That may make it seem as if I’m lazy, but I think that this program began and ended with Ryu Jun-yeol.

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Lee Je-hoon also shared about his traveling style, saying that he goes with the flow depending on the situation, looking for good places to eat. Ryu Jun-yeol said that he doesn’t have a particular style, adjusting to the situation, but he does read up on the travel location first. Ryu Jun-yeol shared that he thought being considerate was important to avoid clashes while traveling. At this, Lee Je-hoon complimented Ryu Jun-yeol, referring to him as a “guardian angel” for having put in a lot of effort and taken the lead in many situations.

While Lee Je-hoon was concerned that the program wouldn’t be entertaining without a script, he explained that a lot of unexpected events happened to make it seem as if they were going by a script. To compare to the TV travel reality program ‘Youth Over Flowers,’ the producer shared his goal of making ‘Traveler‘ more than a program that focused on the reality of traveling by showing the process of finding a place to stay or grabbing a taxi. Rather than making the viewers think, “I want to go there,” the goal of the program is to make them feel, “I want to travel like that.” The program is expected to showcase how different it is to travel by backpacking rather than comfortably with a carrier.

Ryu Jun-yeol then explained that he felt as if he was really traveling, rather than filming for a show during ‘Traveler,‘ adding that he thought half of the traveling was planning where to go. In the end, when Lee Je-hoon was asked if he would go backpacking again, he said, “Ryu Jun-yeol might not like this, but if it’s with Ryu Jun-yeol, I could go again. I could go to the ends of this Earth, ” proving his loyalty to his travel mate. Ryu Jun-yeol also responded positively saying that there was nothing but good times while traveling.

About the Destination: Cuba

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Cuba, or officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean, where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America.

With the entire island south of the Tropic of Cancer, the local climate is tropical, moderated by northeasterly trade winds that blow year-round. The temperature is also shaped by the Caribbean current, which brings in warm water from the equator. This makes the climate of Cuba warmer than that of Hong Kong, which is at around the same latitude as Cuba but has a subtropical rather than a tropical climate. The official language of Cuba is Spanish, and the vast majority of Cubans speak it. Spanish, as spoken in Cuba, is known as Cuban Spanish and is a form of Caribbean Spanish. Other languages spoken by immigrants include Galician and Corsican.

The Internet in Cuba has some of the lowest penetration rates in the Western hemisphere, and all content is subject to review by the Department of Revolutionary Orientation. The government of Cuba provides an online encyclopedia website called EcuRed, that operates in a “wiki” format. Internet access is limited. The sale of computer equipment is strictly regulated. Internet access is controlled, and the e-mail is closely monitored.

Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je-hoon’s Backpacking Trip in Cuba

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Of course, many people are curious about the interaction between the two famous South Korean actors Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je-hoon in the reality show ‘Traveler.‘ Ryu Jun-yeol himself is famous for traveling, and is seen traveling to various countries by himself. Previously, he had also participated in a similar television program, tvN’s ‘Youth Over Flowers, to Africa, with his partner in the drama ‘Reply 1988‘.

in contrast to Ryu Jun-yeol, Lee Je-hoon is rarely seen participating in shows such as variety or reality shows. Lee Je-hoon is seen more in dramas, and rarely exposed his personal activities. This is what made more and more people curious about the interaction between the two men. Other than that, what makes it even more interesting is that this event is carried out by backpacking, requiring them to carry super-large backpacks while in Cuba. Let’s look at a few snippets from Season 1 of ‘Traveler

In episode 1, when Ryu Jun-yeol was walking and taking some photos of the atmosphere in Cuba at that time, suddenly someone greeted him in Korean. Hearing this, Ryu Jun-yeol responded, “Can you speak Korean?” and the two foreigners said that they were Korean fans (speaking in Korean).

Ryu Jun-yeol then asked if they liked K-pop, and the fans immediately confirmed, asking Ryu Jun-yeol “Do you know EXO?” and Ryu Jun-yeol answered that he was friends with EXO. Hearing that, the two fans immediately stood up and shouted, getting excited.

Ryu Jun-yeol then explained that he was friends with EXO’s Suho, since both of them had worked on the same film, ‘One Way Trip,‘ also known as ‘Glory Day.‘ Hearing that, the fans shouted and jumped for joy again. One of the fans claimed that he was president of EXO’s fans in Cuba, and he also explained that K-pop was very popular there, not only EXO, but there are also many fan clubs from other groups, such as BTS, GOT7, Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, and many more.

 

In episode 1, Ryu Jun-yeol first went to Cuba alone because Lee Ji-hoon had a personal schedule for attending the awards show. Ryu Jun-yeol initially tried to be patient without 3G services or Wi-fi, but on the second day, he gave up and finally chose to queue for 2 hours to get a Wi-fi card.

While waiting in line, Ryu Jun-yeol chatted and became acquainted with several people who were also waiting in line. He even talked about the history of South Korea to the Cubans who were interested in talking about South Korea. Ryu Jun-yeol also didn’t forget to take a selfie with the Cubans who lined up with him. Not only buying one card, Ryu Jun-yeol bought three Wi-Fi cards, and looked very happy at finally getting them after waiting in a very long queue.

In episode 5, Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je-hoon looked for a taxi in an ‘old car’ (classic car), that would be willing to take them to ‘Playa Giron.’ When they were touring, they were offered a ride by a woman. At first they were surprised to think that the woman was the driver, but it turned out that the woman had the car, but was not who would drive them to Playa Goron.

initially, the woman set a fairly high price of 180 dollars because it was very far away. Hearing that, Lee Ji-hoon and Ryu Jun-yeol immediately responded that it was too expensive. Then the woman said the last price she could give was 150 dollars, and finally Lee Jin-hoon tried to use his secret weapon, by saying, “We don’t have enough money,” in Spanish. Hearing what Lee Ji-hoon said, the woman laughed and asked, “How much can you pay? it’s over three hours from here.

then Ryu Jun-yeol said that the taxi driver had previously offered him 150 dollars to go to Playa Giron in a modern taxi car. The woman then responded with, “How much can you pay me?” and was answered by Ryu Jun-yeol, “140,” and after that the woman agreed and asked them to wait five minutes.

Interesting Facts about Their Trip

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Ep. Broadcast Date Day Filming Date Location Notes
1 21 February 2019 1 – 3 26–28 December 2018 Havana
  • Je-hoon was not available for days 1 to 6, due to a filming schedule conflict with the 2018 SBS Drama Awards.
  • Jun-yeol arrived at Havana in the late evening of Day 1 and checked-in to his casa.
  • Jun-yeol traveled and took pictures around Havana on days 2 & 3.
2 28 February 2019 4 – 5 29–30 December 2018
Viñales
  • Jun-yeol did not go to Viñales in the afternoon of day 4, as his private car did not arrive. He managed to get another car and arrived at Viñales in the evening.
3 7 March 2019 6 31 December 2018
  • Jun-yeol celebrated New Year’s Day in Viñales.
7 1 January 2019 Havana
  • Jun-yeol returned to Havana to meet Je-hoon, who finally arrived in Cuba.
4 14 March 2019 8 2 January 2019
  • Je-hoon toured around Havana with Jun-yeol as the tour guide on days 8 & 9.
9 3 January 2019
5 21 March 2019 Playa Girón
  • Jun-yeol and Je-hoon set off to Playa Girón in the second half of day 9, and arrived in the evening.
6 28 March 2019 10 4 January 2019
  • Jun-yeol and Je-hoon borrowed 2 bicycles and rode around Playa Girón.
  • They were not able to rent a car for the next day (Day 11) to Trinidad, as there were no cars available. Instead, they booked a 10:30 am bus ride.
7 4 April 2019 11 5 January 2019
  • Jun-yeol and Je-hoon managed to arrive on time at the bus station to get on the bus to Trinidad.
Trinidad
  • After arriving at Trinidad in the afternoon, they spent some time to get accommodations for 4 nights and 3 days stay in Trinidad.
  • Jun-yeol explored part of Trinidad while Je-hoon stayed at the casa.
  • After Jun-yeol returned to the casa, Jun-yeol & Je-hoon left the casa for their dinner at the city.
12 6 January 2019
  • After breakfast, they decide to go separate ways to explore different places in Trinidad.
8 11 April 2019
  • They had a miscommunication about the meeting place at the Plaza, but were still able to meet up.
  • After a late lunch, they ended the day by visiting Playa Caribe beach to enjoy the sunset scene.
13 7 January 2019
  • After breakfast, they took a train ride to visit The Manaca Iznaga Tower (the tallest lookout tower ever built in the Caribbean sugar region) at Valle de los Ingenios.
9 18 April 2019 14 8 January 2019
  • They left the casa very early in the morning to see the sunrise on a radio tower hill.
  • They managed to get a taxi to Varadero. The journey took four hours.
Varadero
  • After the hotel check-in, they visited the beach to enjoy the scenic view of the beach.
10 25 April 2019 15 – 16 9 – 10 January 2019
  • In the morning, they woke up early to walk on the beach before having their breakfast.
  • They managed to get a taxi reservation for the afternoon to travel back to Havana.
Havana
  • They arrived at Havana in the late afternoon.
  • The production team showed a short clip of Jun-yeol visiting his aunt and her family in Mexico City during his layover from Seoul to Havana (26 December 2018).
  • Director’s Cut & recap of the places visited and people they met.

 

Traveler Season 2

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New travelers Ahn Jae-hong, Kang Ha-neul, and Ong Seong-wu visit Argentina. They became real travelers in the original landscape of Argentina, and enjoy the beauty of a dozen times more colorful than their changing attire. They will go to places like Iguassu Falls, Perito Moreno Glacier, and fighting against the wind on the road across Patagonia.

On February 6, 2020 JTC shared the teaser of ‘Traveler‘ Season 2, they showed the excitement of their trip during Argentina and made many people more eager and impatient to watch them on ‘Traveler’ Season 2 this time.

On February 15, 2020, which was the premiere of the show’s second season, the video above shows the three of them enjoying food at a restaurant in Argentina.

Even though it’s just started airing, let’s hope ‘Traveler‘ Season 2 is no less exciting and interesting than Season 1, maybe even much better. of course, these two seasons have their respective charms, and radiate the beauty of the countries they visit. Don’t forget to keep abreast of developments in this reality travel show, and if you haven’t watched season 1, it’s really worth watching it first. Enjoy watching!