Magician David Blaine attempted a difficult feat over the summer sleeping on park benches and hitchhiking for rides.
"It's one of the hardest things I've ever done," says Blaine, whose trek will be seen in the special "David Blaine: Dive of Death" (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Ch. 4).
"It's way harder than any of my stunts, for sure. I can't pass a homeless person anymore without having a long conversation with them."
Blaine's experiment started in June, when he wanted to see what it was like to get from New York City to the Grand Canyon on nothing more than the kindness of strangers. He wasn't exactly alone. He had a camera crew and an entourage of fellow magicians tagging along in a van.
In the special, the footage will precede his latest live stunt hanging upside down from a wire, with no safety net and five stories up, for at least 60 hours.
The special will reveal what it was like for him on the road. His adventure took him to New Orleans; Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.; Houston and Cincinnati, among other stops.
"My goal was to go across the country to find the most interesting, the most beautiful, the most dangerous, the most eccentric cities in the country," he says.
He found that being homeless, traveling and trying to shoot a network special were too much for him to accomplish. "It wasn't fun not showering and not changing clothes every day," he says.
"I was gone for 37 days. This started out with me just doing magic for people as I went from city to city. I didn't want to take money from them. I just wanted to enter their lives."
So, halfway through, he dropped the hitchhiking and jumped in the van with his crew. Together, they continued going from city to city doing street magic for strangers.
Blaine found that hitchhiking and sleeping on park benches was eye-opening. Blaine found sleeping or the lack thereof was the hardest part.
"You really don't sleep when you're homeless," he says. "I could never really fall asleep although I was very tired. I got enough sleep so I could function. That's about it."
Blaine knew he could find an audience, and started doing magic tricks for passersby.
He turned $1 bills into $100s. He also used darts to pinpoint cards in a deck.
"I like seeing people reacting the same way to the same (tricks)," he says. "That's always been my thing. That's what I enjoy the most."