The Travel Channel recently premiered Watt’s World, a new series that attempts to uncover all that is strange, wild and wondrous across the world. The quick-witted and humorous star of Watt’s World is a former Southampton Press reporter and onetime Sag Harbor resident Nick Watt, now an Emmy award-winning journalist and war correspondent. An upcoming episode of Watt’s show will focus on traveling in the Hamptons.
It was in the summer of 1995 that Watt first traveled to the East End. He’d just graduated from the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland and was at loose ends. As Watt recalls, “I had no idea what I wanted to do and had zero direction after college.” So he decided to move to his girlfriend’s home on the East End and start a new life in the Hamptons.
“Partly by accident,” Watt admits, he was hired by The Southampton Press. The young man had no journalism background—his hiring was a stroke of luck. “This sort of thing happens when you’re British. People think you’re smarter than you actually are.” Little did Watt know that he had just taken the first step toward an incredibly successful career in journalism.
From his time writing for a Hamptons weekly, Watt has memories of covering such stories as the spending habits of the Bridgehampton School Board, as well as of writing his favorite column, the police blotter. “It was great training,” Watt reflects.
Watt fondly recalls living in the Hamptons, as it was where he found his career and also experienced the beauty of the East End. Watt spent his two years here living in Sag Harbor. “It was a great place to live. I loved it. I loved the summer and strangely loved the winters in the Hamptons too. It was beautiful, quiet and calm.”
Surprisingly, it is his deep love and connection to the Hamptons that has, until now, prevented Watt from coming back. “I have not come back. I tend not to return to places where I’ve lived.” He fears tarnishing his good memory with a new, changed place.
Watt faced his fear, however, and returned to the Hamptons for the first time for the episode of Watt’s World focused on the area. “We came back with the idea that money has been flooding into the Hamptons.” In each episode of Watt’s World, Watt satisfies his own curiosity about the world by asking important questions about each destination he visits. For the Hamptons, he asked, “Has [the money] ruined it or is it still the lovely, intensifying place I remember?” A simple clambake with good company convinced him: “I have to say, it was just as magical, just as lovely.” The New York episode of Watt’s World, which looks at both The Hamptons and Harlem, will air on Tuesday, August 11.
Some of Watt’s destinations in Watt’s World were just as easy to choose as the Hamptons. The crew’s first stop was Albania, the place showcased in the season premiere episode. “I’ve always wanted to go,” Watt says. And all he had to say to convince the executives at the Travel Channel was “they have 27 different words for mustache. Some of it was that easy,” Watt admits. “But sometimes we’d go in with a question but then feature something completely different.”
Watt says that viewers can expect the show to be “what any good travel show should be. You should learn what it feels like to travel to that place, but also the backpacking culture and the minimalist, unplanned approach. We’re a small team with little cameras and not much luggage, and we let the place take us to where it wants to take us and let it unfold.”
The crew’s minimalistic approach to travel is exactly the lesson that Watt hopes viewers will take away from the show. “Traveling is not about the place but where the place is taking you. It’s the experience. It doesn’t really matter where you go. There is good and bad food and beautiful and hideous views wherever you go. Expose yourself to that. Just go.”