By Bill Harris
For years as a professional wrestler, Canadian Trish Stratus traveled the world. But that doesn't necessarily mean she saw the world.
"People would ask me what it was like to go to a certain place, and I'd say, 'Well, I know about the Hilton and the arena,' " Stratus said. "And no offence, but arenas are all kind of the same.
"I always struggled with the question, 'What's your favourite place to perform in?' So I'd have to say, 'Well, my favourite time was when I wrestled here,' but it was mostly because of the match, not necessarily the place."
But now, through her new TV series Stratusphere, for a change Stratus gets to travel the world and actually see the world, too.
Stratusphere debuts Monday across Canada on the Travel & Escape network.
Every week, Stratus embarks on a trip in search of exotic locations and daring physical challenges. In the first episode, for example, Stratus is in Kochi, India, where she learns the ancient martial art of kalarippayat, progressing from fighting with sticks to fighting with metal swords.
Through the 10-episode run of Stratusphere, Stratus does everything from reindeer racing in Norway to bungee jumping in Bali. Her athleticism obviously sets Stratusphere apart from most travel shows.
"Initially we set out to do an adventure-activity show, and the fact I was willing to do all these cool things, that was the first idea," Stratus said. "But then it kind of evolved into something slightly different, because once we got to these places, we realized these activities mean something really special in these cultures. So I was pleased to make it a deeper show.
"It would have been a neat show just seeing me run around and do fun things, but to actually be able to include a lot of interesting information about how the warriors of yesteryear used these techniques or things like that, it makes it richer."
There obviously are a number of hardcore Stratus fans who will be tuning into this show not because of global curiosity, but merely because Stratus is the host. So what does Stratus want those fans to get out of Stratusphere?
"I guess it's a chance to travel the world," Stratus said. "I'm absolutely blessed -- I still ask sometimes, 'This is a job?' -- to be able to do these wonderful things, but obviously not everyone is able to do a journey like that. So maybe I can show you a little bit of the world and you can live it through my eyes. The narration reads almost like a journal of my experiences.
"I also hope it encourages people to realize there's a great big beautiful world out there, so get out and explore it if you can. It always amazes me to go from one place to another and see how completely different they are."