Ian Grant has been blow-gun hunting in the Amazon, to a voodoo sacrifice in the jungle of Africa, and canoe racing in a village in the middle of the rainforest.
It's all part of his life as an artifact-seeker and adventurer. And it's a lifestyle that piqued the interest of the Travel Channel.
Grant, a 1987 graduate of Duluth Cathedral High School, is the host of "The Relic Hunter," a television show that debuts its first two episodes at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday on the Travel Channel. Grant, a collector who owns the store Bjorling & Grant in Minneapolis, travels to Morocco, Romania, Benin/Togo, India, Nepal, Suriname, Peru and Turkey through the course of the eight 30-minute episodes.
His destinations are landscapes not seen from the windows of a tour bus.
"It's looking at remote cultures through the things they make and use, and everything from daily life to ritual or ceremonial life, and getting involved in that," he said. "Whether it's making an object, or taking part in a ceremony ... it's a pretty adventurous show.
"Right below that layer is trying to expose people to different, remote, interesting cultures and, on a larger scale, get people that are eventually going to travel to different places in the world, get them off the beaten path."
Clips show the self-described "extrovert by necessity" dancing, handling skulls, chasing sheep and sizing up elephants wearing decorative pieces. He talks about canoe paddles, gambles and learns to play drums.
Grant said his interest in relic hunting comes from traveling a lot when he was young, his studies at Gustavus Adolphus College and a hands-on job at a Persian rug shop where the owners let him try a bit of everything: buying, selling and marketing.
His mother, Christabel Grant, points to an incident when Ian Grant was 11 and disappeared at a British museum. His parents, who still live in the area, found him in the early Greek and Roman history area, which is what he was studying at school at the time.
Add to that an interest in theater, and a TV show is born.
Four years ago, Grant auditioned for a show on HGTV and was recognized by John Kitchener, who was familiar with Bjorling & Grant. Kitchener arranged for a film crew to travel with Grant on one of his buying trips, and from there a four-minute clip was submitted to the Travel Channel. Grant does not know if the series will go beyond one season.
Filming ending in January, and the editing was done by April. Grant has had a hand in the whole process.
"I've seen these shows more times than anyone should," he said, and laughed. "I'm psyched to see it come on the air. What will be interesting to me is seeing where other people react."