Brotherhood Expedition: Maya is a unique travel program exploring ancient Mayan civilizations and their impact on present day communities. Bodyguard and Our Blues star Cha Seung-Won is the leader on this journey, accompanied by fellow actor Kim Sung-Kyun (D.P., Moving) and THE BOYZ member Juyeon.
The three travelers are on a mission to locate the nine keys to unlock the secrets of the Maya. Along the way, they immerse themselves in the local culture and cuisine, and explore ancient rituals at genuine Mayan homes. Brotherhood Expedition: Maya can be seen on tvN Asia, every Wednesday at 10:30PM MYT. The final episode of the program airs on Oct 11, 2023.
A long-time history enthusiast, Cha Seung-Won is the man in charge of the expedition to Mexico. His participation also allows him to fulfil a personal dream to explore ancient Mayan ruins. In an interview provided by tvN Asia, Cha Seung-Won talks about his experiences during the journey.
Telling the story of the civilization
What made you decide to join this show? Are you a very adventurous person? And did you want to move away from ‘cooking-centred’ variety shows?
“I have been interested in ancient civilizations since before, and I wanted to participate in some special and meaningful works.”
How did you prepare for the trip? Did you read up a lot about the Maya civilization and train up physically?
“This is an adventure show about ancient civilizations, so I tried my best to think of layman terms that could convey to the audience about the civilization. Rather than narrating the content, it would be more interesting to convey it through story telling. While filming the variety program, I also explained the Maya civilization to the younger generations in this way.”
What was most memorable for you about this trip?
“It is definitely seeing the Maya civilization with my own eyes. When I climbed the Maya Pyramid of Chichen Itza, I was moved by seeing with my own eyes the huge pyramid that I had only seen in books and photos. While climbing it in person, I couldn’t even imagine how building such a pyramid was possible in that era. It was truly an amazing moment.”
The feeling of brotherhood
Korean celebrities who do travel shows often bring along a lot of Korean food like kimchi and gochujang along with them. From your experience, is it difficult to adapt to foreign food?
“I do like foreign cuisines, but whenever I eat it for a long time, I always miss Korean food. Since Brotherhood Expedition: Maya is shot over 10 days, I thought Korean food would definitely be helpful. So I packed a bag full of Korean food ingredients and seasonings and put them to good use.”
Please share the experience working with Kim Sung-Kyun and Juyeon. What was your impression of them before the trip, and has the impression changed after the trip?
“The three of us may seem like an odd combination at first sight. However, as we go along the journey to learn about Maya civilization, we really became ‘one’. It very quickly tightened our relationship with each other, becoming very close brothers.
“In the beginning, I led explanations of the Maya civilization, but they very quickly grew passionate about it. I think audiences will be able to tell why the 3 of us were put together to host this variety program.
“Sung Kyun often plays fiercer roles. Through this program, he reveals another side of him that is gentle and kind-hearted. There are unexpected charms of him which will be revealed in the program. The first impression that Juyeon gives people is ‘maknae with a silver spoon’. He really lived up to this nickname in the program too.”