Actor Eugene Levy hates traveling for many reasons. But, as luck would have it, at the age of 75, he’s ready — kind of — to give his shot at being a globe-trotter, visiting everywhere from Venice to Tokyo for his latest Apple TV+ series, “The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy.”

The name is more than appropriate. Episode 4, which takes place in Utah, the only U.S. destination on his lengthy itinerary, comes to mind when picturing his unwillingness to try new things.

“This landscape is as alien looking as anything I’ve ever seen,” Levy says, and that’s his introduction to the Beehive State, as the camera pans to his bushy eyebrows. “There’s just a lot of nothing. So much nothing — and me. This is my first time in the desert and I can honestly say it doesn’t hold too much appeal for me.”

But it doesn’t take long for him to change his mind.

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The veteran actor had previously suggested Utah as a possible location to the producers of the eight-episode series, premiering on Friday, Feb. 24, Levy told the Deseret News in an interview. “Having talked to friends who had been there, including my son (actor Dan Levy), who had made a trip there, I’d heard amazing things about it,” he added.

The ride to the hotel isn’t ordinary: Levy, looking partly miserable and mostly scared, sits in a helicopter while being flown above the Grand Canyon. “It looks like we are flying into a wall, Tony,” he says to the pilot, placing his hand on his heart. The landscapes are beautiful but the Emmy-winning “Schitt’s Creek” actor exhibited an eagerness to get back to the ground.

Eugene Levy visits Utah in “The Reluctant Traveler With Eugene Levy.”
Eugene Levy visits Utah in “The Reluctant Traveler With Eugene Levy.” | Apple TV+

That’s the thing about Levy — he’s very honest, and that adds a loud splash of humor to the show. His candid nature makes him a trustworthy guide, who can’t help but get swayed by new places and cultures, like his time in Utah. Contrary to what the “American Pie” actor says at the start of the episode, his experience in the desert was more than meaningful, he told me.

“I’m really, really glad that it was on the list because I didn’t know what I was getting into,” he said.

Eugene Levy’s hotel stay in Utah

The show attempts to put Levy in fancy hotels and then out in the wilderness — a world that he spent his whole life avoiding, as he says in the episode. “Just surviving would be great.”

What’s funny is that Levy previously played Johnny Rose, the manager of a crappy hotel in the town of Schitt’s Creek for six seasons. So, this is a major upgrade.

The Canadian actor told me he had a luxurious stay at the “stunningly beautiful” Amangiri, a five-star hotel and resort that blends into the untouched red-rock country to create a dramatic setting. “It’s a great hotel,” he said, adding, “Everything about it I loved. So, I would go back there.”

The Amangiri Hotel in Utah is featured in “The Reluctant Traveler With Eugene Levy.”
The Amangiri Hotel in Utah is featured in “The Reluctant Traveler With Eugene Levy.” | Apple TV+

I’m not surprised. Even pancakes at this $3,000-a-night property tasted exceptional, according to Levy, who goes as far as to call them “the best pancakes” he’s ever had. The recipe? The giggling chef named Eric tossed the pancake mix in a cast iron of sizzling clarified butter before popping it in the coal oven. Although he served an impressive breakfast, he didn’t dare reveal the names of A-list celebrities who have vacationed at this secluded spot.

The Amangiri, inspired by minimalistic Moroccan and Japanese architecture, is a stone's throw away from Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. Levy pointed out that the toll the drought has taken on the Colorado River is hard to miss. “It’s one thing to kind of see pictures of it on television, though, when you’re right there, and you can actually see how much the water has depleted over the past few years. It’s really frightening,” he grimly said.

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Eugene Levy on finding meaning in the Utah desert

Levy told me in the interview that the time he spent outside, learning about the local history and culture, felt the most memorable. He spoke to Mylo, his Navajo guide, who showed him the ways of the Navajo people. The Amangiri also sits near the Navajo Nation’s reservation, the largest in the U.S., spanning across Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

“The landscape and the Navajo Nation ... you can’t have one without the other, right? Because both have just been there for thousands of years,” the actor said.

Mylo tells Levy the stories of his people during a night of stargazing, like the guiding nature of the North Star and the interconnectedness that could only be felt in the empty desert. The next day, Levy is invited to meet the guide’s welcoming family, who present him with a traditional necklace that leaves him noticeably moved.

The actor took this “spiritual experience” home with him. “It was their positive nature, considering the hardships these people have been through over the hundreds of years, and yet, they have such a positive way of looking at life, the skies, the stars,” he said.

“It was maybe the most spiritual experience that I’ve been through and I still kind of fondly have kind of flashbacks to those moments with them.”

Apart from the people, the area’s geology impressed Levy. In the case of the Grand Canyon, “you can actually visibly see the millions and millions of years ... you can actually see how old the planet was just by looking at the millions of little ridges on the rock faces,” he said. As for the slot canyons in southern Utah, he will go see them again.

Eugene Levy on inviting friends on his travel show

While Levy is a lively presence on screen, I couldn’t help but wonder what the show would be like if Golden Globe winner Jennifer Coolidge, Emmy-winning Steve Martin or even his son, Dan Levy, joined him on his unintentional misadventures.

“So, I’ve had friends who’ve suggested maybe next season should be you know, ‘Eugene Levy and Friends,’” the actor, famous for his work on the Canadian television sketch series “SCTV,” said smiling. “It’s great. It’s a great gig.”

Then, Levy gets real with me: “Listen, I love the job and the fact I’m coming out of this a more enlightened person than I was going into it,” he said. “It's been good for me.” That by no means is his confession of his love for travel. “I can’t say that but at least what I’m doing is having the opportunity to try things and then form an opinion.”

His firm noes have become mellow yeses, while his devotion to the truth rarely simmers down.

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“I like some of the stuff I’m doing and I don’t like some of the stuff I’m doing but I think if I’m being honest in terms of how much I’m enjoying something, that’s what it comes down to,” he said, nodding to the possibility of a second installment.

Does he have a favorite place he wants to go to next season? Absolutely not.

“The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy” is rated TV-PG.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Amangiri Hotel and Resort is located on the Navajo Reservation. The article has been updated to state that the property is located near the reservation and not on it.

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