EMMY AWARD WINNING ADVENTURE AND NATURAL HISTORY DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY, SCOTT SIMPER TO LEAD ESCAPESEEKER AFRICA SHOOT

climbing-top

 

Scott Simper chosen Director of Photography for

EPIC AFRICA: WILD AND WONDROUS

 

Award winning and multi-facetted documentary film maker, Scott Simper began his adventurous life as a cowboy. Life in the saddle led to film studies at the University of Utah. Scott’s initial background in stage management, sound engineering and theatrical lighting led to camera operating and he has spent the past 15 years honing his craft, much of it in far flung and exotic locations with equally exotic diseases — many of which Scott has sampled and survived!

 

In addition to his all-round production expertise, Scott’s skills as a mountaineer, rock climber, skier, kayaker and adventure racer have made him a highly sought after team member in locations ranging from the jungles of the Congo to the Arctic to the summit of Mt Everest.

 

Scott’s work is distinguished not only for its beauty and his technical expertise but also for his willingness to take on the challenges of any situation or location with a smile. From rigging shots in difficult, tight locations to building and fixing equipment in inhospitable places, Scott is known as the essential cameraman to have on those difficult gigs.

 

His creative aerial work using a gyro-stabilization system, breath-taking time lapses and exceptional hand-held shooting have earned him Emmy awards and nominations for camera work.

 

In addition to his skills as a camera operator, Scott has a knack for connecting with his subjects, putting them at ease and getting the most from them as he visually captures their lives. A true team player, Scott’s natural enthusiasm and unflagging energy are valuable on any production — and invaluable on the tough ones!

Scott will be assisted by ESCAPESEEKER AFRICA team members, including Sara Mayer and Producer, Roger Gunn as well as  Royal African Safaris’ partner and expert guide, Phil West.

 

2010: Scott summits Mt Everest for a corporate production: http://gearjunkie.com/interview-photographer-scott-simper

 

Breaking News 2012: Scott wins an Emmy for outstanding camera work for the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship and a National award for Museum Media for his work at the Utah Natural History Museum.
http://northernlightproductions.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-york-times-review-of-natural.html

 

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REFLECTING UPON OUR SOUTHERN AFRICA ADVENTURE…

SOUTH AFRICAN SUNRISE

It’s been over two weeks since our return from our ESCAPESEEKER EPIC AFRICA Advance Research assignment, and still the memories remain imbedded deep in our hearts and minds! Our ESCAPESEEKER Team totally embraced the nomadic life as we explored the EPIC SOUTHERN AFRICAN region and experienced the very best LUXURY SAFARIS found anywhere in the world. As we departed ROYAL MALEWANE on January 29th, JUAN PINTO the Head Ranger & Reserve Manager gave each of us a parting gift, a CD, and it is only now that I’ve been able to view its contents. WOW, Juan is not only a Master Guide–a category that truly deserves to have a higher class category to even begin to describe Juan’s extraordinary kaleidoscope of abilities–I suggest “Renaissance Man” since there isn’t a topic or skill related to the great outdoors that Juan has not yet conquered–including NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY! Take a look at this precious gift–a collection of the images Juan captured of ROYAL MALEWANE and our ESCAPESEEKER team doing what we do best: ESCAPING TO THE GREATEST DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD ONE LUXURY ESCAPE AT A TIME. WE MISS YOU ROYAL MALEWANE. We cannot wait to take the next step–PHASE TWO–returning to film ROYAL MALEWANE and the other remarkable Southern Africa destinations in all its WILD AND WONDROUS grandeur!

Until then, we are happy to share this beautiful slide show which reminds us of why we continually long to return. All you have to do is click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlUWIEDd8DQ&feature=youtu.be

Here’s to BLISSFUL, ENDLESS ESCAPES

Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER

Creator/Journalist Host/Executive Producer

PBS SoCal ESCAPESEEKER

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Remember, Be the kindest person you know!” ~ Mel Gee Henderson

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EPIC AFRICA: WILD AND WONDROUS…ESCAPESEEKER TEAM, “WE ARE LIVING THE DREAM!”

The ESCAPESEEKER ART -Advance Research Team doing what we do best -experiencing first hand the world's most fascinating travel destinations!

 

Stanley’s Camp, Botswana, AFRICA — Who would have ever venture to guess that a once-upon-a-time Philippine born, American raised, barefoot little girl from a small seaside town in Southern California, would be leading an Advance Research Team expedition throughout the southern region of Africa for her own popular PBS SoCal Travel Series, ESCAPESEEKER, Season 2012!  Yes, that would be me. Even from a very early age, my dear Mother, Eppie who passed away last month, made me believe there wasn’t anything I can’t do.  And, today, I continue to believe all dreams are possible as also expressed by Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

Who knew this little girl from humble beginnings would someday become the globetrotting "ESCAPESEEKER"?

I’ve now earned the title,  “seasoned journalist”—not sure if that refers to my age or my experience—but no matter, it’s a description I’ll gladly accept.  After all, it took a great chunk of my first five decades to produce six incredibly beautiful children and 10 of the sweetest grandchildren on earth!   And now, here I am blessedly exploring our marvelous planet with a child-like wonder as the “ESCAPESEEKER!”

 

ESCAPESEEKER, a nickname I derived while working for Asia’s premiere high-end global luxury magazine, ESCAPE.  My fascinating cover stories became the impetus which led me to create the inspiring PBS travel series that bears my nickname, ESCAPESEEKER!  My family and friends will be the first to tell you, my insatiable wanderlust knows no bounds, as I circle the earth with my talented film crew, often to its most remote corners, seeking out the greatest destinations in the world, one stunning LUXURY ESCAPE at a time.

 

DOUBLE RAINBOWS gently illuminating the stunning beauty and thunderous impact of the majestic VICTORIA FALLS--one of the SEVEN WONDERS of the WORLD!

If I may offer a word of warning: my passion for travel is highly contagious. Wherever I go, whomever I meet, it doesn’t take long before I have entire groups mesmerized with remarkable, often humorous travel stories, utilizing the images and footage captured by my photography team of the most dramatically jaw-dropping beautiful places on earth!  As my PBS advisors have explained, “Mel, your job each week is to deliver 27 minutes of pure joy!” Well, you know what—you can’t fake ‘pure joy’—so thankfully, our program succeeds because JOY is exactly what my team and I feel time and time again, as we are given this incredible opportunity to capture the very best our world has to offer!”  I am proud to add, we keep it honest and we keep it real.  I want my travel-loving, loyal audience to know that anything I can do, they can do.  It is not always easy to reach the destinations we feature on ESCAPESEEKER—but I’ll guarantee that they will always be unforgettable and sometimes even life-changing.”

Sunset on the Zambezi River...it took our breath away! Captured by Jim Jones

 

Since January 8, 2012, my Advance Research Team aka ART and I have been criss-crossing the magnificent, diverse expanse of the southern region of Africa and today I am reporting from the remote Okavango Delta of Botswana. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world.  It is here that the exclusive Chief’s Island in the Mombo Concession, that Sanctuary Chief’s Camp, as well as the Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp is located.

From Stanley’s Camp with flew via a chartered single engine Cessna to the Kalahari Desert, home of the famous salt flats known as the Makgadikgadi Pans.

It was here that a legend of a man by the name of Jack Bousfield stumbled upon a site during a trapping expedition in the Makgadikgadi Pans during the 60′s,  that so captured his imagination, he set up camp under an acacia with the unshakeable expectation that others would feel the same.  To describe Jack Bousfield as a “legend” would be an understatement. Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the dubious achievement of hunting 53,000 crocodiles, survivor of seven plane crashes, gored by elephants, stung by African killer bees, Jack did it all! Ralph Bousfield, along with Catherine Raphaely founded Uncharted Africa Safari co. in 1993 and captures the undying spirit of Ralph’s adventurer father in what I found to be an almost indescribable place in the middle of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert aptly called,  Jack’s Camp.

The choice of such a striking locale, owed much to his original taste for the savage beauty of a forgotten Africa where he lived until his tragic death in an aircraft accident in 1992.

There's no other place in this world like it!

The minute I stepped onto Jack’s Camp, I felt I had just been casts in my own “Out of Africa” feature film…except this time, it was being shot in IMAX format.  Yes, the endless landscape is majestically panoramic, further magnified by the infinite blue, blue skies.  Add to the movie-set, the meticulously designed interiors of our tents–you honestly just have to experience it for yourselves.  It looks like something out of a novel…a novel I am now inspired to write.  It’s that kind of place.  I promise,  it will bring out the adventure/romance writer in you!

This is my version of ESCAPESEEKER CAMPING!

 

Uncharted Africa Safari Co. has pioneered and passionately supported cultural tourism in Botswana since the company’s inception 13 years ago. It has long been Unchartered Africa's belief that it is a vitally important tool in terms of preserving this unique, but sadly fast-vanishing, culture. Unchartered Africa has been working closely with the Zu/’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari for many years and are privileged to have a small group of these extraordinary men to guide us on an afternoon walking safari. Offering a window into the past, they teach us how they have survived in this harshest of environments, using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills. By the way, the combined ages of these Bushmen will astound you. Clearly, their healthy desert lifestyle promotes longevity!

Our team is continually blown away by the pristine, natural beauty and abundant wildlife we have found throughout our African journey.  More importantly, we are so moved by the genuine warmth and welcoming hospitality of the natives we meet.  Their eyes just sparkle as they proudly educate us about their beautiful country, wildlife treasures and unique culture.  It’s crucially important that if you really want to get to know a place, you have to see it, experience it, through the eyes of the locals.  You have to peel away the layers, and be in the moment…their moment…their world.  I promise you, it will change you from a mere tourist to a bonafide explorer!  And, as an additional reward, I guarantee you’ll make life-long friends wherever you go as your enriching travel experiences result in greater understanding and appreciation of your fellow-beings.

It is this heart-warming and important discovery that we made during our entire African journey that truly moved us.  All the various properties we visited strive to build long-lasting relationships with their local communities by identifying and sponsoring self-sustaining projects that have the support of the owners, their staff, and often guests like us who are given the opportunity to visit these philanthropic programs.  We met entire staffs working closely with the local schools—building, repairing, providing them with necessary school supplies to improve the general well-being and education of the children.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to take the leap!  There’s no better time like the present to dust off that passport and fearlessly follow in my ESCAPESEEKER footsteps. The hotels, lodges, and camps that my team and I have experienced are located in some of the most beautiful pristine, best preserved areas of Africa.  There’s nothing stopping even Grandma’s like me from experiencing all that our majestic world provides. You just have to take that first step—make the necessary preparations and everything else will fall into place.  I’ll be more than happy to personally give you any guidance you may need to get you started on the right footing.

 

In the meantime, please stay tuned for ESCAPESEEKER Fall Season 2012, when my film crew and I will joyfully present, two in-depth, inspiring hours featuring EPIC AFRICA: WILD and WONDROUS!  Honestly, you won’t believe it until you see it.  And, if you can’t see it first hand, watching ESCAPESEEKER is the next best thing!

 

We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the entire ROYAL AFRICAN SAFARIS team for your unwavering support and brilliant expertise.  You have proven to our team that one knows AFRICA like you do. You’ve made navigating our way through Africa’s massive landscape seem effortless. We could not have engaged in such an extensive effort without your guidance. Thank you!  Visit their website if you’re craving a tailor-made African Safari Adventure of your own!  http://www.royalafricansafaris.com/

There's nothing like an AFRICAN SAFARI to turn a novice photographer into a REAL PRO! This stunning image, captured up close and personal by our own Advance Research Team member, Jim Jones. Great work Jim!

 

Our heartfelt thanks also goes out to all of the destinations and their superb staff, seasoned game trackers and guides who have welcomed us with open arms and provided us with more mind-expanding, enriching WOW wildlife experiences than we ever dreamed possible!   We had no idea just how tremendous and unforgettable our African experiences would be. That is until we met you.  I’ve listed all of our amazing destinations below in the order that we first set eyes upon you:

 

  1. Cape Grace, www.capegrace.com/

 

  1. La Residence, www.laresidence.co.za/

 

  1. Birkenhead House and Villa, www.birkenheadhouse.com/

 

  1. Grootbos Nature Reserve, www.grootbos.com

 

  1. Rosenhof Country House, www.rosenhof.co.za

 

  1. The Plettenberg, www.plettenberg.com/

 

  1. Phinda Private Game Reserve, The Homestead, www.phinda.com/

 

  1. Lion Sands Game Reserve, “1933” – www.lionsands.com

 

  1. Royal Maliwane, www.royalmalewane.com/

 

  1. Tintswalo at Waterfall, www.tintswalo.com/

 

  1. Forum at Homini, http://www.forumhomini.com/

 

  1. Sanctuary Retreats: Sussi & Chuma, http://www.sanctuaryretreats.com/lodges/zambia/sussi-and-chuma.cfm

 

  1. Sanctuary Retreats: Chief’s Camp, http://www.sanctuaryretreats.com/lodges/botswana/chiefs-camp.cfm

 

  1. Sanctuary Retreats: Stanley’s Camp, http://www.sanctuaryretreats.com/lodges/botswana/stanleys-camp.cfm

 

  1. Jack’s Camp, www.africansafaris.com/JacksCamp

 

 

I am forever grateful to my indefatigable Advance Research Team: Jim Jones, Peg Whisler Jones, Carol Borghi, Ozzie Jack Clarke, Roy Henderson, Marion Ellis, Peter Moody, and Royal African Safaris’ own, Phil West.  You are all amazing…thank you for being an outstanding dream team!

 

Here’s to BLISSFUL, NEVER-ENDING ESCAPES!

 

Love,

Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER

 

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BECAUSE OF YOU…ESCAPESEEKER CONTINUES TO SOAR…NOW…MORE THAN EVER!

Banks of the Brazos River, TEXAS — Being based in a State as BIG as TEXAS, ESCAPESEEKER can’t help but think BIG in 2012, as we continue to film BIG and EPIC destinations around the world, featuring the kinds of inspiring individuals you and I would love to hang out with, even if the cameras weren’t rolling–no let me rephrase that–especially if the cameras weren’t rolling!

As promised, 2012 will find us continuing our on-going series on the South Pacific.  Of course how can we not continue to bask in the jaw-dropping beauty of Bora Bora and Moorea, or immerse ourselves ever deeper in pursuit of the world’s “diver’s mecca” in the atolls of Rangiroa?

From there, we’ll continue across the oceans to the most remote, mystical island on earth–Rapa Nui–where we begin our extensive exploration of South America’s best kept secret– “Chile: Long, Lean, and Simply Spectacular!” Here’s a sneak peak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swJVnzdM9FA

Whether we’re filming in far, distant lands or capturing the magic of our own native homeland–the USA–we never waiver from our ESCAPESEEKER mantra of “Seeking the Greatest Destinations in the World, one Luxury Escape at a time”…and “Living the Life We’ve Imagined as we “Go Confidently in the Direction of our Dreams!” And this is definitely applicable in 2012 as we share two of our dreamiest distinctive destinations in the U.S.–  “The Art of Living” as captured at  Montage Laguna Beach and “Winter’s Bliss” amidst Utah’s newest, most luxurious winter ESCAPE–Montage Deer Valley!  By the time, this hour of ESCAPESEEKER is over, you’ll begin to understand why “Montage” has become synonymous with impeccable service and experiences that you’ll want to share again and again with family and friends.  Montage Deer Valley boasts one million square feet of luxury–yes, you can definitely invite every favorite friend and that rich uncle of yours too–there’s something for everyone no matter the season!

In 2012, we’ll continue to fuel our ever growing fascination with South America, as we return once again.  But this time, it’s to the northern Andes–”ENTICING, ENGAGING ECUADOR”–includes venturing across the Pacific in the rich nature reserves of the Galapagos Islands!

While we’re exploring the Southern Hemisphere–we’re just going to keep heading south–but across another EPIC CONTINENT–”AFRICA: WILD AND WONDROUS!” We’ll have more details on that later, but for now, here’s to proving again and again, that there’s NO DESTINATION ON EARTH too FAR, too DIFFICULT or too  EPIC and WONDROUS for ESCAPESEEKER to REACH! Take a look:  http://smilebox.com/playBlog/4d6a6b774e546b354e7a493d0d0a&blogview=true

HAPPY NEW YEAR and HERE’S TO A MOST EXCITING, FULFILLING YEAR EVER!

With love,

Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER

 

 

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ESCAPESEEKER…A RETURN TO HEAVEN’S HEAVEN…

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS…”PARADISE FOUND” by MICHAEL PARKS and KATRINA DRABKIN PARKS with ‘wombmate’ BABY PARKS (in a supporting role).

PARADISE FOUND!

Hollywood, California — A huge thanks to Mel Gee Henderson and  Roy Henderson,  Executive Producers of the extraordinary new television travel show Escapeseeker for the Grand Prize luxury trip we won to the French Polynesian Islands!!! Talk about the trip of a lifetime! Here’s how it all began…

POP STAR SENSATION, EMII ROCKEDTHE CROWD WITH HER EXHILIRATING VOICE!

 

ESCAPESEEKER PREMIERE PARTY VIP's ARRIVE! Little did we know what good fortune the night would bring...

For those who don’t know the story, my wife Katrina and I were guests at the Escapeseeker Fall Season Premiere Launch party held  on August 26, 2011.  This gala event was both fun and, like Escapeseeker, wonderfully exciting, combining a great venue, delicious cuisine, many Hollywood movers and shakers, a fantastic sneak preview of the Escapeseeker series, the amazing recording artist Emii who preformed live for us and a drawing for a grand prize trip to Tahiti!

EMII…A BIG VOICE with A BIG HEART TO MATCH!
EMII EAGERLY SIFTS THROUGH THE BAG OF NUMBERS TO SELECT THE WINNING NUMBER…#11, belonging to Michael Parks!

I should mention that at the time of the party Katrina was already 7 months pregnant with our first baby. This is important because we are sure that it was the rubbing of her pregnant belly for good luck, just prior to the drawing that helped us to win the trip.

ESCAPESEEKER aka Mel Gee Henderson congratulates the night’s GRAND PRIZE WINNER. Yes, #11…ME!!!

The crazy part is the winning number was 11 and guess what the baby’s due date is: 11/11/11!!! To say we were awestruck is an understatement.

With the baby coming soon, we knew we had to act quickly. Two weeks later, we were whisked to the airport by our good friend Rochelle Vallese (an actress who guest stars  in the Escapeseeker Fiji episode), and we were finally en route to Tahiti.  The eight hour direct flight from Los Angeles is a breeze on Air Tahiti Nui.  We arrived in Papeete and had a delightful night at the Radisson Plaza Resort overlooking the most  beautiful black sand beach of Matavai Bay.  After a morning stroll, we departed for the airport and flew via Tahiti’s domestic airline, Air Tahiti, to the island of Raiatea.

Le Taha’a Island Resort’s Private Boat…gives whole new meaning to ‘airport transfers’ doesn’t it?

 

Now, here’s where the trip really reaches new heights!  At the Raiatea airport, we were greeted by a private boat service that ferried us to Taha’a, a remote and exquisitely beautiful island.  The five star resort, (the only Relais & Châteaux in French Polynesia)  Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa perfectly combines luxury with the exotic and breezy charm of French Polynesia. 

The stunning architecture of the resort is the perfect compliment to a location that can only be described as paradise.

 

The sea is a shining gem that changes from shades of turquoise and emerald to a deep lapis as the sun and breezes play overhead.

 

 

Ahhh! The best cure for expectant Moms who need some relief from the extra (albeit temporary) weight they’re carrying…a week in Paradise!

 

After we had settled into the tranquility of our over the water bungalow, we took our first swim off our private porch.  Apparently, floating is good for ‘preggers’ eager to get off their feet, and so that’s exactly what my wife, Katrina, did at least three times a day.  The temperature of Taha’a’s waters are blissful – cool enough to be refreshing and warm enough to be comfortable for long periods of floating and snorkeling.

 

We were delighted to discover that Taha’a  has one of the most amazing coral reefs, filled with tropical fish that seem eager to swim right up to your goggles and check you out!  You can literally start snorkeling at one end of the island and drift leisurely down stream with a  current for hours as new species of fish, each one more intriguing and colorful than the next introduce themselves.  After our first snorkeling adventure, we decided to make this part of our daily ritual.  What’s not to love about these amazing conditions?

 

We should mention that Le Taha’a’s  staff are eager to assist their guests in doing as much or as little as they like.  We decided to air on the side of doing very little because we just couldn’t bare to tare ourselves away from the resort.  I did, however, go for a spectacular deep water scuba dive off the coast during which I swam with sharks and heard a nearby humpback whale sing.  Katrina wisely opted out of this adventure and spent the day by the infinity pool drinking refreshing fruit juices, reading and occasionally gazing out at the horizon of the pool which seamlessly blends into the ocean beyond.

 

Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa…Yes, it is as BLISSFUL as it looks! Just ask Katrina Parks!!!

 

Daily HEALTHY Fare to meet even the most exquisite cravings!

The hotel’s three restaurants offer the perfect balance French and Tahitian inspired cuisine that takes the best of both cultures and makes something even better…..  We started each day with the most amazing breakfast buffet we have ever encountered.  Being consummately picky coffee drinkers, we are hardly ever pleased by the coffee we encounter on our travels, but this coffee (made in a stainless French press at our table) was rich and  just caffeinated enough to enable us to take full advantage of the bountiful fruit, cheese, yogurt and pastry selections… not to mention the delicious crepes and waffles we ordered!  Of course, even though we were stuffed after breakfast, we managed – it’s important to keep a pregnant woman’s blood sugar up – to indulge in the most incredible seafood for the rest of the day.  The smoked salmon, the fresh lobster and crab, just melted in your mouth at every meal.

From reading about the food, you may imagine that we were too stuffed to do anything for the rest of the day, but fear not….

Ahhh…now this is the most inviting stroll back to our over-the-water bungalow!

We had to stroll back to our over the water bungalow, where we could gaze through a glass floor panel as Manta Ray’s and fish slowly cruised by,  we had to swim off our private dock and stroll to the infinity pool,  and we most certainly had to  watch the sun as it crossed overhead and went out in a spectacular display of reds and golds as we watched in our white bathrobes while holding hands.

OUR ULTIMATE PRIVATE RETREAT!
No caption needed…I shall allow this picture to tell our heartfelt story!

 

THE LOOK OF CONTENTMENT AT LE TAHA’A…

This phenomenal routine went on for five extremely relaxing and soul reviving day,  after which, we truly mourned having to leave Le Taha’a.   Once back at Papeete, we decided to make the most of our last day and sojourned to the island of Moorea, which is a brief ferry ride away.  We sadly took our last swim in Tahitian waters and had one more delicious meal, before boarding our plane back to Los Angeles.

 

Our only consolation is knowing that we can return someday.

We already eagerly await our return to Paradise!

 

LE TAHA’A ISLAND RESORT AND SPA…HEAVENLY PARADISE…PURE AND SIMPLE! 

Book your own slice of PARADISE: http://www.relaischateaux.com/letahaa 

 

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THE INSPIRATION BEHIND “LA DOLCE VITA” — ESCAPESEEKER’s ON-GOING LOVE AFFAIR WITH ITALY!

ESCAPESEEKER IS PERMITTED INSIDER ACCESS to the UNIMAGINABLE!

ROME: The Eternal City is a 3000-year old indoor-outdoor museum. ESCAPESEEKER's version of the 'Roman Holiday' captures Italian's passion for history, art and of course, Italy's constant obsession with fashion and style! (Image by Chad Buchanan)

Los Angeles – On Saturday, September 3rd, ESCAPESEEKER “La Dolce Vita” Part 2, aired on PBS SoCal.  The episode focuses on Italy’s ‘Food Capital’–Bologna (which I think truly deserves to be called, “Italy’s Best Kept Secret”), and Rome, the Eternal City whose passion for art, history and fashion knows no bounds, and then we conclude with the world’s smallest sovereign State–The Vatican!  A feature on Rome without including the Vatican would of course be incomplete.  And, may I add, The Vatican would not be the Vatican without the Holy Father, Pope Benedict.  So yes, ESCAPESEEKER accomplished the unimaginable!  You will just have to tune in to PBS SoCal to see where we we’re about to take you.

In the meantime, it is with great pleasure that I share with you the following cover feature that appeared in  ESCAPE MAGAZINE which I wrote that became the inspiration behind the Italy episodes, not to mention the beginning of my on-going LOVE AFFAIR with the magnificent country whose unique culture and passionate attitude towards “La Dolce Vita” is absolutely contagious.  I know I am not alone in expressing these sentiments.  If you love Italy more than I do, then write me and tell me why!  I would love to hear about your personal Italy discoveries, and it would be great to share your pics with our ESCAPESEEKER fans too!

For more information on our ESCAPESEEKER hotels while in Bologna and Rome, please feel free to click on the following:  http://www.baglionihotels.com/en

Here’s to Never-Ending BLISSFUL ESCAPES,

With love,

Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER

View the full article from ESCAPE here

[Article] Italy - ESCAPE Magazine

 

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POP STAR SENSATION, EMII BRINGS ESCAPESEEKER PREMIERE GUESTS TO THEIR FEET…DANCING FEET THAT IS…EMII TOTALLY WOWED US! WHAT A VOICE!!!

ESCAPESEEKER PREMIERE CELEBRATION!!!

MARINA DEL REY, California — After a night of feasting, dancing, and connecting with friends–both old and new–ESCAPESEEKER’s PREMIERE LAUNCH PARTY GUESTS like me are still trying to make it out of bed!

Thank you to all who traveled near and far to celebrate this monumental occasion with our ESCAPESEEKER team.  Our sincere thanks to our event sponsors:  Marquesi dé Frescobaldi (http://www.frescobaldi.it/en/home.html); Alan Charles; Bill and Luz MacArthur; and Escapeseeker, LLC.  Our thanks also to Nu Skin for infusing our VIP Gift Bags with superb Nu Skin products!  (http://www.nuskin.com/) And, thank you Ian and Jackie Hand for lending your support and creativity wherever and whenever needed!

There are so many wonderful people to acknowledge!  Just like the ESCAPESEEKER Travel Series, it took a village of very generous individuals and entities to bring this unforgettable event together.

Thank you RANI CHAVEZ for orchestrating the most remarkable PREMIERE PRIZE from Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa, (http://www.relaischateaux.com/letahaa) Air Tahiti Nui, Air Tahiti, and Radisson Tahiti Resort, Papeete!  Winning number #11, Michael Parks and his beautiful wife, Katrina, who are expecting their first baby boy on 11.11.11 informed me that they’re ready to go tomorrow!!!

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150783185100105.724757.367501815104#!/media/set/?set=a.10150783185100105.724757.367501815104

Everyone agrees that EMII’s stunning performance to wrap up the gorgeous Marina Del Rey, California evening was just the perfect topping on an already delicious and unforgettable celebration. By the way, just in case you’ve not yet heard EMII sing, here’s a sneak peak at her recent HIT, MR. ROMEO performed with Snoop Dog! http://youtu.be/4uC2A33M1fU Now, you understand why we were all so WOWED at our Premiere event!  Stay tuned, EMII has more hits on the way.  This BEAUTIFUL TALENT has absolute staying power!!!  Thank you EMII for infusing our event with beautiful music and excitement!

SAPORI also did not disappoint.

Italian native owner, Stefano Baccianella, designed a very special Italian dining experience that is reminiscent of our own ESCAPESEEKER culinary features as seen in the upcoming episodes of LA DOLCE VITA.  The taste of Venice, Florence, Bologna and Rome all combined into one magical dining celebration!

This charming scenic restaurant combines character and beauty with an exquisite ESCAPESEEKER menu that promised to transport us to a seaside village in Italy.  Paired with our own beautiful California sunset…and the special presence of our VIP ESCAPESEEKER FRIENDS provided the perfect setting for all of us to immerse in all things Italian.

What more can we say…

E ‘tempo di celebrare la vita … la vita ESAPESEEKER.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT WAS OUR TURN TO THANK ALL OF YOU FOR BEING PART OF OUR AMAZING ESCAPESEEKER JOURNEY!

BE SURE TO STAY TUNED TODAY ON PBS SoCAL at 2:00 PM!

In the meantime, please permit me to share these beautiful images from last night’s PREMIERE CELEBRATION as captured by photographer, BRIAN BEASLEY!

http://bryanbeasley.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?s=0&username=bryanbeasley%24EscapeSeeker&a_id=5254729&s_id=5927196&q=http%3A%2F%2Fbryanbeasley.phanfare.com%2FEscapeSeeker%2F5254729


THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR UNWAVERING SUPPORT…May the BLISSFUL ESCAPES…NEVER END!


Love,

Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER

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PROUDLY ANNOUNCING THE 2011 FALL SEASON PREMIERE OF ESCAPESEEKER!

PBS SoCal—Southern California’s #1 Public Television Station

is pleased to announce the Fall Season Premiere of

ESCAPESEEKER

Seeking the Greatest Destinations in the World,

One Luxury Escape at a Time!

...Proving once again that there's no destination on earth, too far, or too difficult to reach!

For inveterate globetrotter Mel Gee Henderson and her talented film crew, travel is like air. They cannot live without it!  Mel thrives on serendipitous encounters, embraces the unexpected adventure, and charms locals everywhere. Mel’s background as a seasoned journalist and Washington Congressional staffer, combined with her philanthropic activities, introduced her to the globetrotting lifestyle, and took her everywhere, from gatherings on the French Riviera to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Along the way, Mel’s winning personality opened doors and created lasting friendships with people we would all love to hang out with – from scholars to international royalty, to celebrated chefs, to maverick fashionistas, to musical artists, and even some of Hollywood’s A-list stars. It’s the desire to share these amazing experiences with others, to inspire and demonstrate that they too can explore our beautiful world and embrace cultures different from our own that has motivated Mel to create the breathtaking new television series ESCAPESEEKER.

ESCAPESEEKER introduces viewers to the most luxurious adventures, and to the people who live these adventures. It’s Conde Nast –beautiful exotic locations filmed in high-def–-meets Iconoclasts–-intimate conversation with the culture makers, ‘movers and shakers’ of our time.

“I AM THE ULTIMATE ESCAPESEEKER. I POSSESS AN INSATIABLE WANDERLUST, SHARED BY MY INFATIGABLE, DEDICATED, TALENTED FILM TEAM, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IS REQUIRED AS WE PROVE THAT THERE’S NO DESTINATION ON EARTH TOO FAR, TOO DIFFICULT, OR TOO SPECTACULAR TO REACH!”

~ Mel Gee Henderson, Journalist/Host of ESCAPESEEKER

“An extraordinary format, implemented by an extraordinary team, which in turn is led by an extraordinary lady, for the TV series Escapeseeker, Mel Gee Henderson travels around the world with her colleagues, reporting from the most beautiful places on earth in a completely new light for viewers.”

ADEYAKA Magazine feature story entitled, “A Thing of Beauty”)

My ESCAPESEEKER vehicle, I named her 'Princess Grace' because of her sheer beauty and power!

Entire story available on INFINITI Ipad app, free download, click on   ADEYAKA Magazine. http://www.adeyaka.com/

The following are the descriptions of the first 9 episodes of ESCAPESEEKER which premieres on August 27, 2011 on PBS SoCal—the #1 PBS station in Southern California, which continually strives to interactively educate, entertain, and enlighten millions of viewers with outstanding quality programs.

ESCAPESEEKER seeks to find the true essence of "La Dolce Vita!"

La Dolce Vita

In this two-episodes, Italian feature, ESCAPESEEKER travels to the most sought after destinations, capturing Italy’s legendary passion for art, history, fashion, pasta and man’s greatest driving machines.

Episode 1: Air Date, August 27, 2011

We introduce you to Venetian Roberto Bocus, who shows us the world’s most famous floating city from his native perspective. We’ll  embrace man’s fascination with fast, bright red Italian cars, and we’ll also meet with Tiziana Frescobaldi, whose historic Florentine family has been at the forefront of Tuscan wine-making for 738 years!

Episode 2: Air Date, September 3, 2011

We travel to Italy’s Food Capital—Bologna—and learn the secrets to making the perfect pasta. We also go behind the scenes at Bologna’s most famous factory—that of the Lamborghini! We’ll continue on to the Eternal City—Rome—where art, history and fashion sizzles! We’ll get the ultimate insider’s look into the world’s smallest sovereign state—The Vatican, and witness the plethora of art that draws millions to its doors. You haven’t seen the Sistine Chapel quite like this!

Rocky Mountain High

In Rocky Mountain High, we travel to what is often referred to by the world’s top anglers as “Fishing Nirvana.” Three Forks Ranch & Spa has a multitude of sporting activities to enjoy summer or winter! Interestingly enough, no arm-twisting was necessary to convince our ESCAPESEEKER team to capture and experience it both seasons!

Episode 3: Air Date, September 10, 2011

High into the Rockies is exactly how far we had to go to find the most luxurious mountain retreat—Three Forks Ranch & Spa, a “Sportsman’s Nirvana” nestled along the three forks of the Little Snake River, a region rich in history and legends. This mountain escape is so remote that Butch Cassidy and his “Hole in the Wall Gang” found it the ideal haven to hide from the law!

The ultimate 'Rocky Mountain High' awaits you at THREE FORKS RANCH and SPA!

Episode 4: Air Date, September 17, 2011

The Rockies turns into a winter wonderland, and it doesn’t get any more magical than the quiet solitude this Little Snake River Valley provides, where each night you can gaze at billions of stars above. By day, we take you on a multitude of activities, whether whisking along on a snowmobile, gliding quietly along on cross-country skis, or trekking along on a self-paced snowshoe tour, the breathtaking beauty of nature’s winter will astound you.

The easiest way to island hop on FIJI!

Fiji: Pure Paradise

In Fiji: Pure Paradise, ESCAPESEEKER searched far and wide to find the most “Eco-Friendly” luxury destination on earth—The Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort.

Episode 5: Air Date, September 24, 2011

Yes, if the name “Cousteau” conjures up images of deep sea adventures—you’re absolutely right! It’s also just a short seaplane ride from Yadua Taba—home of the highly endangered Fijian Crested Iguana. At this resort, you can be diving legend Cousteau one day, and explorer Indiana Jones the next. We’ll show you how, and introduce you to the ”smiliest people on earth!”

The world famous K CLUB, home of the 2006 Ryder Cup

The Emerald Isle

Ireland: Land of One-hundred Thousand Welcomes – Steeped in history, natural beauty and full of breathtaking vistas, Ireland’s smiling faces gave Mel no option but to return with her ESCAPESEEKER film crew!

Episode 6: Air Date, October 1, 2011

ESCAPESEEKER attempts to learn the most revered sport in this region—GOLF! And what better place than the home of the 2006 Ryder Cup: The K Club. With its Arnold Palmer designed courses, and uniquely Irish, post-golf Spa treatments—what’s not to like about this sport? And, if you’re not keen on chasing a little white ball with a stick—no worries, the Irish are happy to show you how to skillfully jump fences on horseback! And your best reward … a pint of that unmistakable black brew—Guinness for everyone!


Tour de France

ESCAPESEEKER Tour de France: After an entire decade of traveling from Paris to Cannes by plane or train, ESCAPESEEKER host, Mel Gee Henderson, a veteran journalist assigned to cover the annual Cannes Film Festival—decided it was time to take the road less traveled in her own version of ESCAPESEEKER Tour de France, embracing all things French in these two episodes of pure joie de vivre!

Art Inspiring Life of Provence!

Episode 7: Air Date, October 8, 2011

ESCAPESEEKER takes to the beautiful country roads of France in luxury and style as we unveil her best-kept secrets. We put Infiniti’s 500,000 euro proto-type luxury G-37 Convertible to the test—from the emerald Champagne region—home of the famous bubbly—to the limestone rich soil of Saint Emilion—where the sweet aroma of the famous macaroon fills the air.

Episode 8: Air Date, October 15, 2011

ESCAPESEEKER takes you to the art-inspiring lavender-scented  Provence where we walk in the footsteps of Paul Cezanne, learn how to navigate the colorful local markets, delve into the decadent beaches of the French Riviera, and ascend to the historic mountain top medieval town of Saint Paul.

The Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast: Heaven on Earth—Its name is derived from that of the nymph, Amalfi, beloved by Hercules. Legend has it that after she died, he buried her here in the world’s most beautiful spot.

Episode 9: Air Date, October 22, 2011

Amalfi Coast:  Heaven on Earth—We recommend not waiting until after you die to see what heaven is like—Welcome to the Amalfi Coast! We visit this jaw-dropping beautiful coastline in Europe, with its hair-raising, white-knuckles, vertigo-inducing Amalfi Drive. Once you catch your breath, we take you to our heavenly abode—the historic Palazzo Sasso, located 1,000 feet high above the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea in the tiny town of Ravello, which has long been the secret retreat of writers, musicians, and even politicians.

ITALIAN CRUISING AT ITS BEST!

We hope you’ll all stay tuned. Following completion of the broadcasts of the first nine episodes, future broadcast dates of subsequent episodes will also be announced.

In the meantime, the entire ESCAPESEEKER team thanks you for your continued support. We hope you too are enjoying a SUMMER of BLISSFUL, NEVER-ENDING ESCAPES!

With love,
Mel aka ESCAPESEEKER

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