Andrew Zimmern can be hard to reach, and this time is no exception. It’s taken several weeks to connect. Between jet-setting jaunts and traveling back to his home base in Minnesota, the Travel Channel star best known as the host of “Bizarre Foods” has been working on a new show, “The Zimmern List.” The program features his “cult classic” personal favorites from the 170 countries he’s visited.
We caught up with Zimmern to ask for his advice on travel and food, and learned how disc golf changed his life forever.
You’ve been very open about being homeless in New York City in 1991 after being an addict and alcoholic for more than a decade. What was the turning point for you?
I finally didn’t want to give up and die. During the last seven years I was using, I didn’t care about anything other than getting high. Everything else was secondary. One day, trying to drink myself to death, I realized it wasn’t working, had a moment of divine inspiration and called a friend to help me.
How did disc golf play a role in overcoming your addiction, and what advice can you give to others who are dealing with addiction?
I needed a hobby I could do with friends, and we were all broke. I was living in a halfway house 26 years ago and picked up the game from one of my best friends. It’s amazing what a seemingly small step could grow into so many years later.
Why do you love playing disc golf so much?
It’s yoga for me. I play alone half the time, walking 18 or 27 holes. Focusing on the game takes me away from everything else. I love sharing the course with my friends where I bounce between the competitive need to crush them and the fun I have [joking] with them.