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February 11, 2020 20 mins

Jill Kargman is many things to many people: comedic memoirist, cabaret singer, and the creator of the television series Odd Mom Out. But here are a few things she proclaims not to be: nature lover, sun worshipper, animal enthusiast. And yet, she recently ended up on safari in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia — not exactly her kind of bucket list adventure. She watched her 79-year-old father zipline over Victoria Falls, danced with locals under starry skies, wore earth tones, and lived to tell the tale.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:07):
He loved it. He loved every second. I think when
you're seventy nine and you've heard about Africa, you've been
friends who have taken so far, as you've seen pictures,
you you almost can't believe you're there. Because I had
that feeling, and he definitely did. He just kept saying,
I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm here
with my grandchildren. I can't believe we're doing this. I mean,
it was really his bucket list thing. So he was

just beyond rill. Hello and welcome to a way to
go where we talked to interesting people about why they travel.
I'm Pavio Rosatti. I'm Jeraln Gerba. Let's say that a
person you love approaches you with their idea for the
trip of a lifetime, a bucket list place or thing
they've wanted to do forever. This person figured out the logistics,

save the money, carved out the time, and wants you
to come to so that you can share in this
epic experience. Except you have no interest in this trip,
or worse, really don't like the idea of it at all.
Do you go? The premise of today's episode is about
going on someone else's dream trip. For Jill Cargman, the
creator and star of the cult Bravo show Odd Mom Out,

the person she loves is her dad and the trip
he's desperate to go on is an African safari and
he wants to take the whole family, grandparents, parents, three kids.
Sounds great, right, except Jill doesn't really like animals, doesn't
really like nature, doesn't really like outdoor dorsy activities or
the sun. This sounds like a recipe for vacation success. Yeah,

no kidding. I mean, have you ever had a situation
where you were dreading going somewhere doing something and then
we're surprised by the good time that you had. Oh,
you mean the time that I went driving a NASCAR
in Las Vegas and was like what am I about
to do? And then was like I'm never getting out
of this car? Yeah exactly. But I mean think about it.
So many aspects of a trip can be anxiety inducing,
and I think that's why a lot of people prefer

to stay home, because it's a big departure from you're
comfortable every day. You know, you're forced to be a
new places and be with new people and new cultures
and new languages, and you're spending lots of money confronting
all sorts of things outside of your comfort zone. And
Jill isn't exactly shy about expressing the things that make
her uncomfortable and that she finds absurd too. This is
how she explains her predicament with animals and nature. Well,

it's not like I'm Cruela Deville and want to wear
a Dalmatian code. I don't like hate animals, but I'm
not one of those people that makes out with them
or has them on my screen saver and ship like that.
Like I very much like them from a far but um,
I don't know. I just never had the calling. And
all these people say it's the best trip in their
lives to go on safari and see everything up close,

and I just felt like, well, I've watched Nature Channel
and I've done all that. I just didn't have that
draw in my gut. I'm really into cities. I love
Europe and going to see Gothic churches and buildings, and
I'm just not really like a nature person. And also,
as you guys can see, I don't go in the sun.
I'm like the Angel of Death. I've had melanoma twice.
I literally cannot go in the sun and people always say,

you know, what's unlock do you use? And I actually
don't use any, like the only sun block that really
works on me as a building. So I'm a very
indoorsy person. I'm not outdoorsy, Okay. So she's no nature lover,
son worshiper or animal enthusiast, and yet she recently ended
up on Safari in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It was
my dad's idea. He was seventy nine at the time.

This was not last Christmas, but the one before, and
he just said, you know, before I'm a d I
really want to go to Africa and Safari. I've never been,
and in his mind he just was going to like
degenerate into this crypt keeper with a walker and not
be able to hike Victoria Falls. So he wanted to
do all this ship before he got old, even though

he's still such a young one. And did he how
did you react? Well? I actually thought, you know, my
kids would love it, and so I wanted them to
be happy. They were really enthusiastic. They love animal, they
love nature, they love hiking and just being outdoors, and
so does my husband. So I was really the only

scrooge of the group. I was. I was the odd
tour stout. Um, everyone was down, and I didn't want
to be the buzz kills. So I just figured anything
that kind of is educational and would expand my life
is probably a good idea. It just was not into
the idea of heat. Little did I know it was
actually freezing half the time. I mean, the sun really

warms you in the day can be a hundred, but
at night it was like fifty. So I might close
we're all off in the packing. I had to like
throw blankets and all kinds of ship on me at
all times. But um, it was you know, it was
one of those things I was not so sure, and
then it wound up being the most incredible to an
a half weeks ever. Yeah, and there in lines of
the rub. When it comes to a multi generational bucket

list trip, it helps to get everyone on board. You
have to get there, say, you gotta address the concerns,
you gotta manage the expectations. But once all that dirt
laundries aired, you can really have a good time. Right,
Everyone put their neuroses on the table so that there
were no surprises, Jill. She told us that she's not
a great flyer. She's worried about the length of the trip,
all the connecting flights and the time changes. Also she's

doing this with three kids in tow which adds a
level of coordination to this. So she finally arrives at
her destination, a beautiful Belmont Eagle Lodge in Botswana, in
a cranky mood. But then something magical happened. We started
in Botswana, we flew to Dubai and then Dubai, I

forget where, and then we took a little plan. It
was like three flights and it was exhausting, really really tiring,
and the kids were fine, they weren't complaining that much,
but towards the end we were all kind of like,
get me to a bed. It was just draining. I'm
not a great flyer. But when we got there, you
then take a bus and we're in this town. It's

a clicking language there, so it's called see I'm so
impressed in American speak, but it's not You're welcome. So
they had to shuttle bus and we went from this
like scary ass airstrip in this tiny plane where I
thought we were gonna die. I literally saw staples and

I think Scotch tape of some sort of like duct tape.
It was terrifying. It was like a taxi New York
taxi with wings on it. And when we pulled in
from this bus, I was sort of just in not
a bad mood because I felt lucky to be there,
but just did that exhaustion where you're kind of punchy.
And all of a sudden I hear these incredible harmonies

and beautiful sounds. I was like, what the fund is happening?
And we pull up and the entire lodge staff was
in these beautiful, brightly colored dyed outfits and swaying and
clapping and singing us in with this beautiful song to
welcome us. And I almost like burst into tears. So
I was so happy, I'm going to burst in two tears.

That's such a beautiful. It was gorgeous. Where did you stay?
Where was this magical singing lodge? There were three lodges
we went to in Botswana and they all had the
singing welcome thing. Um. This was called the Belmont Eagles
Eagle Lodge and there are three belmonts uh scattered around
the Okavango, Delta, and I really recommend all three if

you can hop around and that's it. She's converted. We're
all converted. That first impression will last forever, Like even
though Jill is doing something way out there, she's down
for it. Yeah, well for the most part. Yeah, waking
up and seeing elephants fifty ft from your door, it
can be hard for some people to get used to.
Like I would come out of my room and there
would just be like two elephants five feet away from me,

and I got really scared because like what if they
run at me? What if I don't know. I'm just
sort of scared of big things, bigger than I am.
So I was a little nervous at all times until
I got used to it. But I mean, you're sitting
having breakfast, like there's a kind of a screen door
thing and you can just sit there and have a
coffee looking out at this marsh thing and there's a

little crocodile going by and it's pretty cool, and then
just two elephants walk up to you. So it kind
of as a city slicker freaked me out like that
stuff I wasn't I never got a hundred percent used
to it. I was always nervous. And then, um, there's
also a hammock on the porch, and one time I
came in and there were fifty monkeys in the hammock.

It was actually kind of gross, Like I thought it
was kind of gross there because I was like lying
on that so I was like, oh, I probably have
like monkey dander and like fecal remnants on me. But
there were monkeys all piled in like a person made
out of monkeys. It was disgusting. But everyone was like
this as it sounds a little cute, I'm not. Kind
of my kids thought it was really cute. Harry was

video and they're all singing like no more monkeys jumping
in the hammock and all the stuff, and they thought
it was really funny. But all I could think of
was like, how I got there and lay in that
hammock for forty five minutes, so definite monkey shit in
my hair. I would have totally taped the monkeys jumping

on the hammock, Yeah, I think I would have. I
would have too, But you know, there were other scenarios
that turned around for Jill. I'm not a morning person.
I really am not. I mean when you have three kids,
you have no choice. But I'm always kind of like
low energy for the first couple of hours until I
have my vat of coffee, So you have to wake
up every day, at which I was like, what the

fun kind of a vacation is this? But I got
very used to these like csdas in the middle of
the day because it's really hot, so we leave in
pitch darkness, which was a low light. But then as
the sun came up and you're just looking at these
magnificent cheetahs or you know, zebras or whatever it was,
you just felt so electrified, Like I can't believe I'm

more of a sunset person. When people say like sunrises
or sunsets, the answer is sunsets because I don't want
to be fucking awake at that hour. But when you
happen to be and you've had a vat of coffee,
you are just so in awe of everything and it
just felt, you know. Of course, I was like bursting
into the Lion King every five minutes. So she went
from Botswana to Zambia and Zimbabwe and she was able

to see the Big Five, which is Safari shorthand for
the five animals that are considered the most dangerous to
encounter and the must sees on a great safari trip
that includes the elephant, the lion, the leopard, the cape buffalo,
and the rhino. And that's all awesome because it's not
a guarantee that you'll see them. But you know, the
trip wasn't without its setbacks. We were obsessed with Zambia

and Zimbabwe. I didn't know exactly what I was in for.
One mistake that I made that you guys cannot do
is I was in charge and I fucked up of
getting there yours. You have to get a visa to
go from Zambia to Zimbabwe, and I didn't. So that
mean you didn't get it for anyone in your family either,

none of us. I just didn't know that you needed
a visa. I just had no idea. So I feel
like I got some email about it from my husband.
He was doing all the airfare and everything, so I
just thought like, oh, I'll do this stuff. I got
whatever I needed paper work wise for everything else, and
the shots for the kids and whatever, but I just
spaced or lost track and we were in like border

jail for two hours. So crazy pictures of us schmitzing
our balls off. I mean it had to be degrees,
no air conditioning in this like definitely lead paint, chipping
border and my dad and I've never had this in
my life because I'm kind of a peacekeeper type and

I like everyone to get along. I mean, I could
be confrontational if I messed with but my entire family
turned against me. I've never had all three kids, My
husband and my parents were just glaring at me, shaking
their heads, enraged because we're trapped there and it was
totally my fault. And I kept saying, I'm so sorry,
I'm gonna make this okay. And I brabbed somebody I

went and got a go I'm like, who do I pay?
What do I do? And he was like, I'll help you.
So he was speaking I don't remember the name of
the language, but they were they were like clicking all
over the place. But they kind of got us in.
But I still had to wait for two hours. And
I'm sure you're not the first person who showed up
without a visa and had to deal with this, or
the first one off. Yeah, So we sat in there,

we're waiting. Everyone just keeps looking at me. Like fix it,
and I just said like here, I'll pay you all
do whatever. So finally we got the visas, but we
have pictures of everyone just off piste off, and I'm like, Fletch,
let's do your timestables and he was like no, like
everyone was mad, so anyway, make sure you like adding
insult to injury, like I'm stuck in jail and you're

making me do math. It was. It was pretty crazy.
My daughter Sadie, who's sixteen, was taking a selfie because
there was a huge pack of lines behind her like
a dude lion. It's weird. I'm lions sexist because we
saw these female lines. I was like, dude, cough up
a mane. I want a dude. And it was weird,
like I don't know why didn't give a shit about

the women because they're just as badass, but they do
all they do, all the work, all the work. He's
just lying there and they're all like fawning over him
and ship. But there were some cubs, a whole bunch
of women, and then the male lion, which finally I
got my mane and was like, yes, okay, now I
felt like I've seen the Big five. Did you get
a roar out of him. No, but it was a
yawn that look like they do a lot of yawning. Yeah,

the yawn looked like roar. It was. It was cool
like in the video, like I can imagine a hundred percent,
like my head is in it. So Sadie's taking a
selfie and she fell backwards out of the jeep. She
felt like she like leaned too much back and my husband,
her whole ass was out and her hair like she

was only her calves were in the jeep. And my
husband it was like that superhuman thing. He went and
dove over and pulled her back up in the blink
of an eye and a nanosecond. My husband is a
he was a skier for the United States and is
adrenaline junkie and he's jumped out of planes and he
wanted to do this spongee jump at the border of

Zambia to Zimbabwe, and because of my snaffoo, he didn't
get to do it. But once we drove by and
saw the actual setup, I was like, I just saved
your life. So my husband, I was like, uh, take
a gander, because I have two words for you. You're welcome,
I know, we all have to be an airport jail,
but we have daddy. Anyway, the whole thing was crazy
that even wants to do it. And then we came

upon the zip line, which is also at the Zambia border.
Once you crossed the actual border, it was like a
fifteen minute drive and then you see these magnificent falls
and we did a helicopter ride first to see it
from above, so we knew what we were. There's some
of the largest waterfalls in the world. These are Victoria Falls,

or the traditional name swears the mouth that thunders thunders.
It's traditionally called the Smoke that Thunders, which seems so
beautiful and romantic. You have to go in December because
there's double rainbows, although there's any other rainbows there, you
have crazy. It's amazing. I had my head with double

rainbows as a hat. It was pretty bad us. The
waterfalls are incredible and there are double rainbows everywhere. She
gives into the beauty of nature. So does she end

up zip lining? No fucking way. You couldn't pay me
to do that. It's such a huge draw, thousands of
foot drop And my dad was like, could do you
think you could survive? In there because you see the
water at the bottom, and he's like, the guy said, well,
there's crocodiles all over the place, so if the fall
won't get you, the crocs will kind of thing. So

I said, no, thank you, but I was freaking out
because my kids were doing it. They all signed up
and then my oldest daughter was like, yeah, no, I'm good.
So she sat with my mom and me watching at this.
They have a little bar and I'm not normally a
day drinker. I think I had like three Mimosa's back
to back because I was shipping myself. So it was
kind of crazy because it was my son and daughter.

They were ten and eleven. Uh, they were like tandem
ng together. And then my dad did it with my
son after. So it was kind of crazy to see
your family flying off this thing. My husband did it,
he looked, but he doesn't think twice. I mean he
jumps literally out of planes. But I don't know. I
feel like, I'm sure they wouldn't do it if people

are dying all the time. But it just feels like
you're in this foreign country. I mean it is third world.
It's you know, the mechanisms look rusty and not I
don't know. It just didn't seem state of the art,
let's say. But they were safe, they were fine. I
guess people do it every day. Is this a memory
ziplining that your son and father talk about at family dinners. Yes, well, actually,

my dad hates gifts and he always says like, don't
get anything. I don't want to scarf, I don't want it.
So I just got him like a beautiful frame with
the picture of him with my son and their harnesses,
and he said, like, this is the best president ever.
I like about the stories that it's it's all about
trawing something new and taking some risks and reaping rewards
and finding the humor and taking your family on a

big fat African safari. And I now really appreciate nature
and animals, and I really when people would ask me,
I mean I don't really, I don't know, like when
when people would say, donate to this environmental thing or
donate to this, I did what I could, but I didn't.
I just it was more of a token thing. And
then I really felt it more, just because I felt

like the planet is so in danger and already they
were talking about Victoria Falls then saying that the water
is less than it used to be, and now it's
even less to two years later, So I don't know.
I felt like very activated in terms of wanting to
care for the planet and what is there left to say?
It was so nice. Everyone is so nice that you

just want to say thank you for everything. Thanks so
much for joining us, Jill, tell us where we can
find you, Oh, on my Twitter and Instagram are just
my name at Jill Cardmon j I L L K
A R G M A N. If you want more
of Jills crazy sense of humor and just off the

cuff wonderfulness. That's the only word I have for it.
I encourage everybody to binge watch and download your Bravo
television show Odd Mom Out, which is so hilarious and
spontaneous and just a really delightful way to spend many hours.
Thank you. That means so much. No, it's really a

terrific shows scripted guys. It's not reality, no, but it's
so when people will say Bravo, they think I'm like
a real housewife. Now. It's very funny and it covers
the antics of the anthropological world of Manhattan's Upper East Side.
So Jill, thank you. So much for being here, and
he's delightful. You guys are so nice. Thanks for having
Thank you for listening to a Way to Go. If
you like what you've heard, feel free to leave us

a nice review five star review five don't you put
it out there? And if you are interested in what
we've been talking about, you can find information about Jill
pictures from her trip in the show notes, as well
as a link to a really hilarious article that she wrote.
Beck goes into a little bit more detail than we
went into here. Thank you for listening, and we'll see

you next time. I'm Jarlyn Gerba and I'm Pavio Rosatti
and we'd like to thank our producer, editor and mixer
Marcy to Peanut and our executive producer, Christopher Husiotis. For
more podcasts from I Heart Radio, visit the I Heart
Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your
favorite shows. H go to the bat. So we have

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