Ever wonder what it might be like to rappel into the hole of a glacier in Iceland alongside Will Smith? Polar explorer Dwayne Fields doesn’t have to guess. As part of the new Disney+ series Welcome to Earth, hosted by none other than actor and rapper Smith himself, National Geographic explorers like Fields joined the star on adventures to far-flung destinations like the South Pacific island of Vanuatu and the Namibian desert, in Smith’s effort to challenge himself and learn about their natural mysteries.
And don’t think Smith is an observer on these outings: When the show hits the streaming platform on December 8, audiences will see him visit the bottom of the ocean with marine biologist Diva Amon; descend into an active volcano with blind explorer Erik Weihenmayer; and, you guessed it, traverse an Icelandic glacier alongside Fields. Suffice to say, it’s the perfect antidote to the year-and-a-half many of us have clocked on our couches.
The sixth episode of Welcome to Earth follows Dwayne Fields and Will Smith to Iceland.
To get the behind-the-scenes intel on that glacier moment and so much more, we sat down with Fields, who joins Smith on the show’s sixth episode. Below, he shares the most impressive spots they visited while filming, how he became an explorer in the first place, and why he’s still pinching himself that the trip with Smith was real.
Would you ever have believed that, one, explorer would be your job title and, two, that you’d end up in Iceland with Will Smith?
When I was younger, I thought I was going to end up with one of four jobs: a taxi driver; a farmer; I’d operate a pushcart, like my cousins did to earn money; or I’d do something with mechanics. Those were the only jobs I saw around me as a kid in Jamaica.
But like you, like every other person [reading] this, when we’re born, we’re all explorers. We’re all inquisitive about the world. When I was six years old, I moved to London and I was trying to fit in, so I left that side of me behind. I stopped being inquisitive. I gave up on who I was through my teenage years, all the way into my early 20s—until I decided, after an incident that nearly cost me my life, that I would be myself. I wouldn’t do things to play to the crowd or to please my peers. [That led to] looking back through my life and saying, Well, Dwayne, who are you and when were you happiest? And that happened to be when I was four, five, six years old playing in the woods near my house in Jamaica. And I thought, that’s what you need to pursue as an adult.
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