Go Away With … Scott Pelley

Pelley_alt1 credit John Paul Filo_CBS 640

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
December 2, 2014

Scott Pelley is a correspondent for “60 Minutes,” as well as the anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News.” The 57-year-old journalist travels constantly for his work and says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “Whenever I give commencement addresses at colleges, I tell young people to get a passport,” Pelley says. “There is no education on earth as good as the education you get from travel. I never tire of going to a place I’ve never been before. I’m still filled with excitement about getting on a plane, boat or train.” To keep up with Pelley, check out his Twitter feed.

Q. What has been your most memorable trip?

A. I have been from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle and just about every place in between. It’s hard to pick just one, but Antarctica is one of my favorite places on earth. It is so pristine and beautiful there. It’s one of the most unspoiled places on the earth, because no one lives there except for some research scientists. You can be bobbing up and down in a rubber boat and you can see whales and dolphins swimming under you. The air and water are so clean. It’s one of the few places where you can see blue icebergs. They’re sky blue when they calve off. It’s only the sun and the earth that turns them white over time. When they first calve off, they’re as blue as the sky like spectacular jewels dropping into the sea. I’ve been there twice and would go back in a minute.

Q. Do you travel with your family?

A. Having our children travel has always been my wife’s priority and one Jane (Boone Pelley) has worked very hard to make happen. We’ve traveled with them since they were itty bitty all over the United States. Then we started going to Europe and Asia and the Middle East. … We have had the great fortune to be able to take the children to many of the places around the world on many of my “60 Minutes” adventures. I took my son, Reece, to Antarctica when he was about eight years old. It was one of the greatest father-son memories that I have of the two of us. My little boy is now 22 years old and 6-foot-6, but I still remember him as a little guy all wrapped up in his parka in a rubber boat watching the seals and the walruses. We had an amazing time.

Q. After Antarctica, does a trip to Disneyland pale in comparison?

A. (Laughs) No, I think the Disney formula works no matter what.

Q. Now that your children are young adults, do you still travel together?

A. We do. My favorite trip with all of us was going to Angkor in Cambodia, which we combined with a trip to Vietnam. This was about three years ago. We have wonderful memories of seeing the tombs and temples scattered all over the jungle. Reece and my daughter, Blair, adapt well to wherever they are. They have worked in refugee camps in various places around the world, including Thailand on the Burmese border in particular, where they were used to roughing it in a serious way. They’re a pair of really well traveled kids who know how fortunate they are to have had those opportunities.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. My family didn’t travel a lot, but when we did it was only by car. I grew up in Lubbock, Texas, and during the 1960s, for a boy, it was all about the space program and the race to the moon. My father took me to Houston to go to the Johnson Space Center and we did a tour. I was about 10 or 12 years old when we did that tour. I still remember that time we spent together. Many years later, I would be covering the space program for CBS.

Q. How do you handle being in places where you feel as if you are in danger?

A. I have spent a lot of time covering wars for CBS, so I have been in some pretty dodgy places. There are times when you’re not in a safe area and your senses are heightened. I always have a team with me and am careful and smart about risks. But it’s not so much feeling frightened, but an awareness of being cautious. When I go into a war zone or the wilderness, I bring a nifty emergency locator beacon that sends a signal to a satellite and gives it GPS coordinates and identifies my team and essentially calls for a rescue. I’ve never had to use it, but it’s a nice thing to have.

Q. What else do you always pack?

A. A workout routine is very important, so I always bring workout clothes. I also bring a bag of raw, unsalted cashews and protein bars, because meals are unpredictable when you’re working. You can go all day without eating real food.

Q. If you had the time and money to head anywhere for a great meal, where would you go?

A. I would gladly get on a plane to visit a number of favorite restaurants in Paris and the Amalfi Coast. I’d be thrilled to visit places in Hong Kong and Delhi. I’m a big fan of Indian cuisine. I have to say that I’m lucky because New York has some of the best restaurants in the world. One of the benefits of living here is you can taste the world from right here.

Q. What is still on your travel bucket list?

A. I would like to go through Burma, also known as Myanmar. I’ve never been there. I’ve worked quite a bit with Burmese refugees in Thailand, but I’ve never crossed over into Burma. I’ve never seen Mt. Everest and I need to do that. I don’t really aspire to climb it at this age, but I do want to see it.

Q. How did your parents influence your views on travel?

A. My mother made a point of saying, “Go do what you think you should do,” to me when I was very young. That gave me confidence and wanderlust for discovering the world. She never tried to pull me back, not even when I was covering the Gulf War.

Q. What have you learned from your travels?

A. That people are just people. They have the same hopes and dreams and aspirations for their families. Everyone on earth is really a great deal alike.

 

© 2014 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY

Comments (2)

  1. Gretl says:

    Hi, has anyone noticed that there are no walruses in Antarctica?
    We traveled for three weeks in Antactica on a Russian research vessel and never saw any!

    Happy travels!

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