I’ve always been fascinated by cryptozoology. The chance existence of random “monsters” throughout the world is intriguing and curious, not to mention that the shear broad range of creatures available is astounding. For every culture there are mythological beasts and legends, and many of these stories have similarities with those of other cultures. For example, just about every known culture has a Big Foot (aka Yeti and Sasquatch, to name a few). Needless to say, when I discovered the series Destination Truth from SyFy, I was intrigued. Little did I know that the captivating, hilarious host would be quite so amazing.
Josh Gates is a self-made world traveler. The type of guy who randomly picks up and says “Let’s climb Kilimanjaro.” As the host of the TV show Destination Truth, he has traveled the world and become a monster hunter, inspiring him to write a novel of the same name detailing his adventures.
Now, I’m a bit biased, because I like the show and love Josh Gates. However, I do think he did a great job of telling his story. The book gives you an in-depth look at how he landed his job as host and some behind the scenes action from his world travels. It also details several of his monster hunts and provides information and conclusions about different beasties based on the evidence those on the show have encountered and collected.
I respect Gates because, though he isn’t a scientist, he views all his investigations through a rational lens. So it’s refreshing to read the views of someone who isn’t scientifically trained, yet isn’t quite ready to believe in things based on the evidence of stories alone.
The actual book is compelling and full of adventurous tales, beginning with Gates’ flying in an old airplane and having the roof come off. Encounters with hippos, venomous snakes, exotic locations, and interaction with the locals are all detailed within. That’s another point of respect for Josh – his ability to blend and respect culture. It seems that he always finds some native ceremony to participate in, and he’s never afraid to try the food or life.
I thought Destination Truth was a fun read. I can see how it might not be as great if you weren’t a fan of the show or Josh Gates, but I still think it’s worth a shot if you’re curious about things that go bump in the night and traveling. If nothing else, some of the travel trials and tribulations in the book are hilarious and disconcerting. I learned several things and I feel a bit more confident at traveling now. I haven’t traveled any further than Kentucky as of yet, though, so it still scares the crap out of me.