We were thrilled that Josh Garcia took time to virtually talk with MeetMeOnboard. Josh is the host of the TV show “The Voyager with Josh Garcia,” now in its third season. In each episode, viewers find him on one of the Carnival family of ships and in a different cruise port. We’re avid watchers of the show, and from our email, we know that many of our LGBTQ cruise enthusiasts are fans as well.
If you don’t know about Josh (Joshua) and this show you should. It airs on NBC Saturday mornings and is available on Hulu. Josh is engaging, genuine, and his passion for travel and learning about cultures is obvious. We get cruise fever every time an episode features a port we haven’t yet visited. He’s also “easy on the eyes,” which is a bonus!
Josh connected with us for a virtual interview. Here are portions of our discussion.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Corona CA, then we moved to Temecula CA from ages 5 -17. I went to college in San Luis Obispo and graduated from Sonoma State University.
How did you get interested in performance?
I was never interested in performance. But video-journalism intrigued me. It took me 6 years doing what I didn’t like (engineering), to realize what I love. There was a great deal of rejection, more failure, and still nothing to show for it. I was scared but failure was not an option.
I decided I’d work toward my goal until I ran out of money and, if necessary, sell everything to get it. Which I did. Then finally, eventually, in 2015, it all kinda happened.
Now, every time I get to work from the ship in a beautiful international city, I’m reminded why I left my lifeless, underpaid, overworked 9-5 engineering job on the 30th floor in a fluorescent-lit, cubicle-filled NYC high rise. I knew if I didn’t take a risk for something better I’d end up unhappy. That experience taught me that good stuff doesn’t happen inside our comfort zone, so why did I stay there so long? Life’s too short, so I had to get out shake things up, and I found myself some happy.
What do you do in your off-season when “The Voyager” is on hiatus?
As season 3 wraps up, I’ve spent a lot of time getting back to my routine. Fitness and wellness are very important to me. I’ve enjoyed spending time with my gorgeous nieces and family, catching up with friends, and working on a remodel for my home. I’m always posting my journal entries on Instagram, or my personal projects on my YouTube page. And a mix of the two on Facebook.
How did the job at “The Voyager” come your way?
I lost my job as an engineer and decided to figure out what I wanted to do. By that, I mean what I wanted to do, not what others thought I should want to do. I was unemployed, and all my friends were raking in the money. With zero experience and even less cash, I decided to switch gears and become a Host/Video journalist.
I worked as a trainer in NYC and rented out the extra rooms in my West Village flat to pay the rent. I bought a camera, then started making videos which got me in with Abrams Artists. My agent sent me out for 8 years and we barely ever got any bites. Eventually, I got a call from the weather channel to co-host a weather phenomena show. Then the year to follow, I lost my house and my job and decided to take a big risk and travel the globe to make videos. Voyager called and basically offered to help out. Ha! It’s crazy, I’ve been doing this for 3 years now.
How much time does a season of “The Voyager” take to film? Do the ships suggest activities and excursions in consultation with you? Do you do all the episodes in one block of time?
I spend about 8 months a year shooting each season with a few breaks in between. In each season I visit 22 different international locations. I do collaborate with the ships and their excursion specialists. The ship excursions consultants are incredibly accommodating and they’re in all the episodes.
Is there a story about someone you met on your cruise travels, and whom you remember with special fondness?
I’ve met so many wonderful people. The first that comes to mind is in Malta when my driver wasn’t JUST a driver. He was a 3rd generation olive oil and liquor maker. He and his Father spent years working the land. Whenever I take the time to acknowledge and get to know even those who appear to be less interesting or more ordinary, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I find. Alex wound up bringing me tastes of his olive oil and liquor every day and I wound up becoming a customer for life. Moral of the story is, you never know who is sitting right next to you. Feel free to reach out and get to know them.
Regarding your cruise adventures, what have been your top three ports? What attracted you about each?
Lisbon – the hilly, coastal history, unique architecture, incredible produce, and creative cuisine made me fall in love.
St. Lucia – what a funky island filled with delicious plants like nuts and chocolate, but the people take the cake here. So friendly, and many have nothing but are willing to give you everything just to welcome you. The pristine beaches don’t hurt either. (Technically, chocolate isn’t a plant, but who cares.)
Rotterdam – Amsterdam’s little sister is slowly starting to steal the spotlight. The architecture and food tourism there alone will keep someone like me busy for weeks. If you’re interested in high-quality city life, everything and I mean everything is here. Great city to enjoy a coffee, read a book or lounge in its many parks. I could burn weeks exploring Rotterdam.
What would you say to encourage cruise passengers to get out there and really try to dive into the culture of the destination?
Google is an incredible resource, so do your research, make a plan and go for it. Find out what interests you, contact the locals and the specialists in that area and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Life belongs to the doers.
If you have a feel for it, among the destinations you’ve visited, which areas would you judge to be the most gay-friendly for our LGBTQ readers?
I’ve learned that most big cities like Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona are quite accommodating. However, I think minorities like the LGBTQ community will find they’re generally embraced in the many of the lesser-known destinations as well. The LGBTQ community thrives all over the world and you’ll even see these communities come together in unlikely places like St. Petersburg, Russia or in Dubai. You may just have to look a little harder.
Your dream cruise destination that you haven’t yet seen?
I already did Alaska, but there are several more ports there I would love to see and spend more time in. And if the captain doesn’t mind, I wouldn’t mind taking the wheel and stopping in Greenland, Iceland & Labrador/Quebec as well, but definitely during their summertime.
Josh, thanks for taking time with us. Where can our members find you on social media?
I’m always posting my journal entries on Instagram, or my personal projects on my YouTube page. And a mix of the two on Facebook:
“To be is to do, so… find a way.” – Diana Nyad
Or the Voyager NBC Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheVoyagerNBC/