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Courtesy History Channel

Rob Mariano takes his new show on the road.

With four seasons on Survivor and two stints on The Amazing Race under his belt, Rob Mariano, aka “Boston Rob,” knows from grueling. But even he was surprised by the challenges of his new show for the History Channel, Around the World in 80 Ways, in which he and Dennis Anderson literally race around the globe using 80 different methods of transportation. He called in from Zimbabwe, just before he took the plunge over a waterfall in a barrel, to give American Way the scoop on his new venture.

American Way: Tell us about the show.
Rob Mariano: Dennis is the creator of the Grave Digger monster truck and is my complete opposite. He’s never been outside of the U.S., and now we’re traveling the world together. Essentially, the show is a celebration of the history of transportation — everything from a Chinese fighter plane to going over Victoria Falls in a barrel.

AW: Does your wife know about that last one?
RM: No, she does not. Let’s put it this way: I don’t think they’d let me do it if it weren’t safe. But the job is to make compelling TV too. [Laughs.] I think the host might be secondary in that respect.

AW: Do you ever feel like you’ve gotten in over your head?
RM: There have been a few times on this trip already. I went over the side of a building the other day in São Paulo, and it was pretty hairy to say the least.

AW: When you first joined Survivor, could you ever have anticipated that you’d be where you are now?
RM: The word unbelievable is how I describe it. I met my wife, and I have a family because of it. I consider myself the most fortunate person ever in reality TV. My only goal back then was to win the million dollars.

AW: It must be difficult to be away from your family all this time.
RM: It is, but at the same time, later on down the road, the kids are going to be able to see these adventures that Daddy did. Hopefully, that will foster their adventurous spirit, and they can seek out and explore the world in their own ways.