Unless you are singularly wealthy (or a cunning travel blogger) there will be times when you want to travel but cannot. I’ve published a few articles about movies that can inspire travel, but these are usually only tangentially related.
Here are five shows that can help satiate your inner nomad while you are busy planning your next adventure.
Globetrekkers (aka Pilot Guides fka Lonely Planet)
This venerable series has covered 13 or 14 seasons and many of the countries of the world. Given the rotating hosts, some shows are better than others, but everyone loves the plucky, cranky Ian Wright. Another host that stands out is Shilpa Mehta; her trip through the Philippines is one of my favorite episodes.
These have amazing cinematography and they explore festivals, hikes, beaches, food, and everything else possibly related to travel. The flip side is that some of the shows are quite dated now, and some of the hosts are pretty bad. (I find the smarmy Zay Harding un-watchable.)
This travelogue hosted by the genial Fry is an exploration of all the contiguous states (though Delaware gets short shrift.) Stephen is the consummate travel host as he visits bison ranches, Sasquatch hunters, hippie-occupied former nuclear bunkers, and so much more American wackiness.
Obi-wan and Mordred ride motorcycles from London through Europe, into Russia, into Mongolia, back into Siberia, and through Alaska and all the way to New York. (There was a sequel, where they ride down Africa, but I don’t think it’s quite as good).
Highlights include gun-toting, guitar-playing Kazaks, boggy tracks in Mongolia that can only generously be called roads, and crossing the Road of Bones in Siberia.
Of all the Python alums, none have circumnavigated the world nearly as many times as Michael Palin. He really has been everywhere, but his travels in the Himalayas trump them all. From Pakistan to Bhutan, he explores some of the most interesting places in the world. His interview with the Dalai Lama is great, but my personal favorite is when he teaches ESL to dozens of young children. (His clowning around act hits close to home.)
For reasons I could only guess at, comedians make for the best travel hosts. While Fry and Palin are geniuses, neither are from Glasgow. In this series, Connolly rides his motorcycle around New Zealand and stops for occasional stand-up bits. If you think Billy Connolly is funny, or that New Zealand is a beautiful place (and how could you not?) then this is the show for you.
These are some of my favorites. Are there any you’d disagree with? Or some that I should add? Let me know in the comments.