Lockdown has put a halt to any and all travel for the foreseeable future, which breaks my heart. My initial plans to travel after graduation and see the world have been replaced by further studies, and the dream is going to have to wait. This, however, does not stop us from consuming the world through other means, for lack of any better options, so while we are all living on Netflix and Disney+, we might as well see the world through our screens instead.
One of my favourites is ‘Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father’, providing a comical and unfiltered perspective on the traditional ‘gap year’ route in South East Asia. It was particularly fun and engaging because it is evident they are both a bit out of their depth, experiencing culture shock and sensory overload, making it a relatable series even if you have not been to this area of the world. I have not been, but I was watching the emotional effects that I can only imagine I would experience at first. The best part, though, is it shows how transformative travel is. Jack’s father, Michael, is very reserved, stuck in his ways and unwilling to explore as much and try new things. Gradually, this is chipped away, and by the end of the series, he is almost a different person, having experienced and seen so much. I would strongly recommend this show, even though I have only seen the first series, but it is a great watch nonetheless.
A travel film that has stuck with me ever since I watched it is ‘Wild’, starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, based on the memoir of the same name by Cheryl Strayed. Strayed, portrayed by Witherspoon, after her divorce, chooses to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail with little hiking experience. Depicting a different type of travel, the film follows Strayed’s journey through healing and discovering the world again, once again demonstrating how powerful travel can be. It is a very powerful story that inspires even the laziest to get up and hike, showcasing a beautiful part of the world in conjunction with an equally beautiful, impactful and thought-provoking tale.
Lastly, and this may seem like a bit of a rogue choice, but in the spirit of wanting to experience destinations far and wide through our screens, I recommend the James Bond franchise. Of course, the franchise is massive, and one of the most popular action series of all time, but beyond this, the films cover almost every corner of the globe. There are so many scenes in every film that are filmed on location in Europe, Asia, South America and more, which, when you look past the action and the death, are beautiful sights to behold. Sure, this is not the point of James Bond at all, but I encourage anyone to watch either for the first time or again, and experience the destinations being displayed.
My last recommendation comes from Disney+, as it features National Geographic documentaries. Documentaries are not for everyone, but I think they are useful for travellers because of the vicarious opportunities for travel and inspiration for future trips. I have not seen any of the documentaries yet, but many of them have peaked my interest. ‘Into the Okavango’ is one that sticks out to me, but there are lots about specific areas of the world, animals and more. Obviously, you need to have Disney+ to watch these, but I would strongly recommend subscribing for these and everything else.
Those are my recommendations, and there are loads more out there for us to watch in this trying time. If you find any more, please send them my way, I will need something to do while I can’t travel.