Harry Judd and his mum Emma
Why did you want to take part in Celebrity Race Across The World?
Harry: Well, it feels like a totally unique opportunity, particularly at our age and our stages of life. I've got three young children, so you can imagine me trying to pitch to my wife that I'm going off travelling for a month! I never travelled when I was younger, I travelled with the band, but I never properly did backpacking, and I always wanted to, and I think the same applies for my mum, she always wanted to but started a family when she was 22.
Emma: Yeah, I was young and one thing I think that I've missed in my life, not that I regret it, was actually backpacking and going off on an adventure like this. So, when Harry had the opportunity come along, I thought what could be better than going on an adventure with my son!
Would you say that you're both quite adventurous people?
Emma: I think I am.
Harry: You are, but you haven't been able to express that adventurousness.
Emma: No, because I've been very lucky and I had a family young, and various things have happened along the way. So, I've been caring for people or family or working, so I haven't been able to do it, but now I'm not! And I've never minded, but I just thought, wow, why wouldn't I want to do it! And the other thing for me, is that Harry left home at 17, totally unexpected and it totally blew me away. So, we just haven't had time together on our own. He's got his lovely family, lovely wife, so it's always with other people, so precious time together with my son – what's not to like?
Do you think you're going to be good travelling companions together?
Harry: It's hard to tell really. I think we've predicted that there's potential that we might get on each other's nerves, but the truth is, I'm a bit more like my dad, and I have witnessed them bickering a bit in the past so I wouldn't be surprised if we have a little bicker! So, I think I've got to try and be aware that I do things my way, but mum would do things her way and we've got to meet in the middle somewhere. We definitely think differently, I'm a bit more intense I'd say.
Emma: I think with our strengths and weaknesses we make a good team.
Harry: I'm hoping so!
What skills do you think you each bring to the experience?
Emma: Well, I'm scatty… I like to think I'm very much, 'let's do it! Come on and let's go!'
Harry: Positive energy and you just throw yourself into it.
Emma: That's it, positive energy! I'm no good with directions, crap with money, that's why I very much rely on him for those things. So, I think I can bring the caring side and also the 'let's get on with it'. I'm also thinking, because of being in nursing, I've been through all sorts, especially when I was younger and I was working night duties and doing very long hours, maybe I'm prepared for it? I don't know.
Harry: I think mum will be much better getting on with it, I don't think I'll be as good as dealing with the discomfort or tiredness or things like that. I'll definitely complain more…
What kind of traveller are you? Are you happy backpacking and roughing it or do you like your creature comforts and five-star hotels?
Harry: Something about this excites me, I'm hoping to see things and experience different cultures and I think we have to do it this way. I think it's great, because I think any other time, even if I was travelling, I would probably travel in luxury, we'll go here and stay in a nice hotel and then we'll travel there and get a tour guide to take us.
Emma: His dad is just the same, so I'm really pleased to get out and get in there.
Harry: But we don't want to predict too much because I could be moaning away in two weeks' time!
Emma: And I'm selling myself as such a superhero and then I'll collapse at the first hurdle!
How do you feel about travelling without a mobile phone or credit cards?
Harry: There's something quite freeing about it and just not having to worry about it. We're so attached to our phones – I'm awful. So, I think I I'm quite looking forward to just having to read a book and having to keep my head up. But at the same time, a phone is a very nice distraction, there are nice things to look at in your phone, and I'm going to miss speaking to my wife every day, that's going to be a struggle.
Emma: I feel relieved that I don't have to communicate! What a relief! Because my husband, for instance, last night he asked me 'how many packs of toothpaste have you got,' he loves a bit of detail! I love him dearly, but if I ring him he goes, 'how do I do the cooking and what am I doing?' and I just think 'oh go away!'
Harry: Yes, like me, he wants detail. Even though he's going to make the decision he wants to tell you about everything, he wants to know what you're doing and why have you done it like that!
What's the most unusual thing you've brought with you?
Harry: My drumsticks would probably be quite unusual to some people, and mum's going to teach me some tapestry.
Emma: I've brought a kit for him especially, which is a Christmas stocking, because I've done tapestries for all the children – well I'm finishing Rocky's actually on this trip – Christmas stockings which they hang up on the fireplace. Stitching is a very good thing for me to do, because I'm quite busy myself and I don't really like watching telly and things so I'm doing the stitching. And I brought a kit for Harry so he can do one for his wife.
Harry: My family have also given me something each.
Emma: What have they given you?
Harry: Well, I don't know yet, they're in letters. I've got two letters from Lola, one letter from Kit, two letters from Izzy and I think a pack of photos that we can enjoy.
Emma: I've got keyrings, bits and pieces like that to remind me of each person, little memories.
Harry: One's a keyring from the car garage dad goes to!
Emma: Yes, he's not a great romantic either, so I said there's reminders of our frequent trips to the garage!
What do the rest of the family make of you two doing this trip together?
Harry: Well, my wife is very supportive and amazing considering we've got three children and the fact that she struggles with anxiety, particularly separation anxiety, which she's been pretty open about. So, she slightly thinks that it's not really me that's going through the challenge, it's her – they should be making a TV show on how she can cope at home! So, she's been amazing, because her instinct is to ask me not to go, but she's really fighting her fear to allow me to go through this experience. So, it's mixed emotions. But ultimately, we felt it was the right thing to do. And my children think it's great that daddy is racing across the world. I think my youngest, the one-year-old, I'm very proud to say he very much loves his daddy, so I'm very sad about leaving him because I don't want him to be thinking, where's that man gone? And, anyway [to Emma], you've got your husband and your other two children!
Emma: Yes, I've got a daughter and another son and they're very supportive, and very pleased. But my daughter is sad because her Thursday childcare is gone! And my son is very jealous of us! But I think it is a good experience to be away from each other, having a break!
Have you watched previous series of Race Across the World? And will you be taking any tips from them?
Harry: I was never very good at doing homework…
Emma: I've been doing a bit! But I can't remember of course. But I've got the gist of it, I think. What it is, is you've just got to experience it.
How competitive are you both? Are you in it to win it?
Harry: Once that start gun goes off, we'll give it our best go! But you've got to balance the competition between your own sanity and comfort, and I think you can be a more effective racer if you don't go out all guns blazing. It's a marathon not a sprint.
Emma: I don't want the pressure.
Harry: I don't want mum to feel any pressure, she'll do her best and that's all we can ask for, that's what we aim for, we'll just do our best!
Melanie Blatt and mum Helene
Why did you decide to take part in the series?
Melanie: For the experience, to be out of my comfort zone, to do something that I wouldn't necessarily choose to do on my own. I'm definitely up for challenges and pushing myself… And this is what mum does all the time!
Helene: I like to discover new things and have experiences and it's one of my passions – travelling, having new experiences.
And have you inherited that adventurous side, Melanie?
Melanie: In a more luxury way! I love to travel, but I like to travel nicely!
How competitive are you?
Melanie: I think we're quite competitive in our nature, but at the same time we definitely want to enjoy ourselves during this trip. So, we've got a bit of a mantra that we're not going to run, so if somebody is running ahead of us, we'll let them run!
What kind of traveller would you say you are?
Melanie: I would say I enjoy luxury… But I do also like to experience the country that I'm in. I love wildlife and nature, so that's always part of a holiday usually too.
What made you want to do this journey together?
Helene: Our relationship is good, but to be together, we've never done that just the two of us. So, I think that's the main thing, to do something that's just us!
Melanie: Definitely! I'm very aware that anything can happen at any point, so to have this quality time with my mum, it's to be appreciated and it's not a given and I'm lucky to even have a mum in the first place. But we've not spent one-on-one time, this kind of time together intensely and already before leaving we spent a week together and there were some annoyances – I'm not going to lie!
Helene: And vice-versa!
Melanie: Exactly! We annoy each other, and we're both deaf so we're talking to each other and not listening and not hearing so those are the kind of things where we'll probably drive each other a bit mad! And she [Helene] is also very used to being the boss, and then I'm also very used to being the boss, which can sometimes cause a little bit of friction!
What do you think will be your greatest skills?
Melanie: I think we're quite open and ready and happy to talk to people and get stuck in. We're open minded and really up for it! Mum also is French, so she speaks French, plus Spanish and English – just about! So, she's good with languages, and she's good with geography, well… better than I am!
How do you feel about travelling without a mobile phone or credit cards?
Melanie: That's really scary. I haven't had my phone since about seven o'clock this morning and it's been an issue! I'm addicted to my phone, it's always in my hand. Even when I'm watching TV, I'm playing a game on it. You know? Even just not being able to check the time! So, it's weird not just being able to check the time or google something, it's going to be so interesting to see what it feels like to just not have a phone.
Did you do anything to prepare for the trip?
Melanie: I got a sunbed! And a McDonalds! Just in case I can't have one for a month. Jokes aside, no! Maybe we'll regret that one later, but no we haven't done any preparation together.
Helene: There's not much you can do to prepare anyway because we don't know where we're going, and we don't know how much money we'll have to spend so you can't prepare really!
Have you taken any tips from watching previous series of RATW?
Helene: Yes! We've watched everything!
Melanie: I actually hadn't watched it. But mum told me about it, because mum and dad actually applied to be on it - the regular version of the show – without even telling us! But as soon as we got a confirmation that we were definitely doing it, that's when I chose to watch it and I was horrified! So yes, we have watched it and there are a few things that we are going to do, having seen the previous series.
What do the rest of your family make of you two doing this trip together?
Helene: I think they're happy to get rid of us!
Melanie: They just can't wait to watch it! That's their main thing, they're just like, this is going to be hilarious. Also, mum and dad haven't been apart from each other since I was about 12, so it's going to be weird for her not having dad around!
What essentials, that you couldn't travel without, have you brought with you?
Melanie: Wet wipes! And fags…
Helene: My Swiss Army Knife and also my compass.
Would you say you cope well during a crisis? Are you calm under pressure?
Melanie: I'd like to think so. I know mum is, and I'd like to think I am, but I haven't really been in these kind of situations before now! I can get stressed, and frustrated perhaps, so this is a very big test for who I am, because I'm normally a very calm person but like I've said I've not really been in any scary situations.
What's been your best ever travel experience?
Helene: I think for me, it would be swimming with hammer head sharks in the Galapagos! It would also be the scariest, it was a big surprise but it was an experience which will probably never be repeated, so it was a lucky, lucky day!
Melanie: I'm really blessed that I've had so many amazing ones, I've been really lucky. But one which is definitely one of my most amazing, is when I went on the Orient Express from Bangkok to Singapore. It was for Save The Wild Tigers and on the last night on the train, I had two of my best friends there, and one of them and her fiancé DJ'd and did this great set with Wham! and all the best tunes, and we were on the back of the train, going fast through Kuala Lumpur and just the wind, and the tunes and everybody dancing, it was brilliant!