'We turned down money from strangers on Race Across the World'

Race Across The World's Stephen and Viv share their experiences

Race Across the World's Viv and Stephen had to turn down money
Race Across the World's Viv and Stephen had to turn down money. (Studio Lambert)
  • Race Across the World's Stephen and Viv come first in the fourth leg for the first time in the series so far.

  • The retired couple tell Yahoo all about their experiences while filming Race Across the World.

Some people tried to give us money on Race Across the World. That's not allowed and we couldn't accept it.

Regularly we get asked what was the best bit? What was the best place you went to? It's a hard one to answer but the people we met in every country were so nice. They were so supportive, friendly, welcoming and just lovely. It is heartwarming and a feel good show.

Sometimes we didn't even have to ask for help. Sometimes we were crying. People would come over and offer help. It’s amazing, the help that they did offer.

You don't really think about your tears being on TV. You're with your film crew as long as we are together — some nights we shared a room with them. They become your friends and you're baring your soul to them. You don't think about the millions of people that you're baring your soul too as well. Your camera crew are your little family.

Also, as you get older, it sounds silly, but there's an inner confidence and inner strength. The tears don't matter because it's just us, it's not a vulnerability and in a way it's a strength. As you get older, you think, what the hell? It's life.

We fell even more in love with each other on Race Across the World. We created a lot of new memories and it brought us closer together through shared experience. It showed each other our strengths, that we both knew were there, but you don't always get the chance to show it in our every day lives.

Race Across the World is gruelling and at times really difficult. We don’t know where the next loo stop is going to be. You’re on the road whole time. You’re doing without your creature comforts. Viv always travels with her hair dryer and that had to stay at home because it was too heavy. For weeks on end, you don't see a hairdryer in some of the hostels you stay in.

Race Across The World's Stephen and Viv fall even more in love with each other
Race Across The World's Stephen and Viv fall even more in love with each other. (Studio Lambert)

Exhaustion is definitely the hardest thing and it's not just physical. It's mental because you're alert all the time. You spend the whole day just looking for prompts, for triggers. Everything is exhausting.

We're used to hard work and we spent our lives working. There has been a time when we have both been broke in our lives. So we know what doing without feels like and now we're very fortunate and very privileged. So we had learned how to budget. We spent the least amount on food, certainly in Japan. We lived on bread and bananas. People were saying, what's Japanese food like? That must have been wonderful but we didn't try any of it.

It was upsetting that the people who were prepared to compromise on price were the ones who needed the work or the job or the sale. We felt bad bargaining pennies off people for a banana. It tugs at your heartstrings. When you go to a hotel it's a set price.

Race Across The World's Stephen at the naked spa
Race Across the World's Stephen at the naked spa. (Studio Lambert)

We really embraced the whole process of Race Across the World. At the beginning we said we've got to be ourselves. The reality is we didn't even think about the naked spa. A lot of other Japanese people were doing the same thing. We didn't really think about flashing our bums! It was great fun. And the race takes over.

With the "queue-jumping", it’s a race so you do what you can to win. You’re so pressed for time. You can see your bus or train waiting to go and you haven't got a ticket. And to be fair, Stephen really did ask everyone in the queue if it was ok. And in that clip, you can actually see one of the ladies say "yes, go ahead". It's like any competition, isn't it? You got to push the boundaries to get the you can out of anything.

Race Across the World's Stephen asked if he could get ahead in the queue
Race Across the World's Stephen asked if he could get ahead in the queue. (Studio Lambert)

Everyone is a threat in the competition. When we were on the start line, the first couple that came up were Betty and James. We genuinely didn't see anyone until the start line. James is huge — he just towered over us. With Isabel and Eugenie, Isabel is really strategic. The boys Alfie and Owen are really driven. Brydie and Sharon had such a bond between the two of them. Everyone had a different skill set they were bringing. But the people who do the race are competitors. We knew everyone was going to be like-minded.

We knew we couldn't beat them in a foot race. So everything we did to lighten our load literally - as well as metaphorically - we did it. We were weighing everything - even cutting labels out of underwear. It sounds silly and petty. But everything matters, you do what you can to promote your own strengths. Our weakness was definitely carrying stuff. Instead of taking 500ml of shampoo, we took a shampoo bar and the same with the conditioner.

Having done Race now, we are now prepared to jump on a bus and see where it takes us. Historically Viv has booked all the holidays and now it's Stephen's turn. We have decided we're going to go to Canada. We're going to book a plane journey, hire an RV and just go for a month. It's the most rad thing that we've ever done on holiday. This time we will have our phones and some money with us. That makes a difference.

Race Across The World's Stephen and Viv told Yahoo's Lily Waddell.

Race Across the World is streaming on BBC iPlayer