MEET THE NEW VOICE IN TRAVEL
Anyone looking for the “next Bourdain” to lead viewers around the world can find him in PJ Mance. He’s over six feet tall, fond of singing, and recently celebrated his 18th birthday at a Chuck E Cheese’s in Virginia.
He’s also autistic.
In fact, one in 100 people have autism (more so in the US). But this show isn't about autism. It's a travel show. Unlike any other.
Diagnosed with autism by a panel of specialists while living in Norway at age two, PJ had already found the perfect way to socialize himself — travel. Doctor's orders. He’s been to 16 countries and 37 states, and he’ll list them for you alphabetically or geographically, your choice.
On every episode of "PJ’s World," he'll pursue a handful of activities in destinations he handpicks. He’ll eat something, make something, meet someone, do something — and of course take as much public transport as he can. He might even sing us all a song.
Sometimes the show follows his whims. Even though he doesn't always know what to say, PJ’s a people person, so it leads to unexpected discoveries. In Times Square a few years ago, he approached a policeman to ask about the jail there — and was quickly offered a tour.
“PJ is the least judgmental person who’s ever lived,” says his 14-year-old sister Abby. “Seriously, he’s never judged anybody.”
That isn’t to say everything interests him equally. At the Louvre in Paris, for example, he nodded politely at the Mona Lisa then feasted on the museum’s signage. (Sorry, Da Vinci!)
PJ also constantly surveys the world from home, by using a tablet to study various big cities’ infrastructures on street-view maps. As a result, he’s created a language of “road signs,” a highly consistent language for every sign that goes by. (And he’s particularly fond of tunnels.)
Viewers will follow PJ’s interests — and his pace — which helps to show there is more than one way of looking at the world. And learning from it.
PJ's WISH LIST Picks
for "PJ's World" (so far)
- Norway (especially to see his old neighbors and doctor who taught him to speak)
- Pacific Northwest USA (incl Portland, Seattle and the Oregon coast)
- United Kingdom
- Berlin, Germany
- Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
- Canada (especially Montreal & Vancouver)
- Moscow, Russia
- Los Angeles, California, USA
- Kenya (to see wild animals)
- New York, USA (incl NYC and the Hudson Valley)
- Hawaii, USA
- Boston, MA, USA
Know of another place you think PJ would love? Send us a tweet at @AAJaggers!
Kim I. Mott has been following PJ's lead since becoming his mother 18 years ago. She's also been a longtime travel writer, on-camera host, and filmmaker having appeared on The Travel Channel and many documentaries. She'll be producing and filming to help PJ bring his voice to travelers around the globe.
Robert Reid has been in the travel publishing industry for over two decades, working as an on-air host, writer, publisher, videographer, as well as a spokesperson for brands like Lonely Planet and National Geographic Traveler. He’s produced and hosted over a hundred travel videos, including a National Geographic Learning series for US history textbooks and 2017’s award-winning “Connecting Culture” series by Star Alliance. He is looking forward to producing for his intrepid bud, PJ.
Jim Sanderson is passionate about collaborating with storytellers, archeologists and explorers, with 25 years of world travel shooting pictures and film to preserve the environment and document rituals, spiritual journeys, and festivals. He's excited to use large format cameras, drones, and fluid motion capture to bring stunning imagery to PJ's World.