In the years before I started traveling I often got lost in a dreamworld of my favorite tv-shows or movies that would take me away to far away places. Fiction shows or documentaries that show certain locations always got me hooked. Even to this day, in which I have found myself in my own fantasy, I look to these shows to inspire even more travel. I love using them as inspiration for where I want to go in the world, what I need to eat in a new location or just to reconfirm why this travel thing is all worth it. So now, here is my list of tv-shows and movies that inspire you to travel:
Great Barrier Reef series with David Attenborough, Australia
We don’t really know the British presentor David Attenborough back in Belgium like they do here in Australia. I actually never even heard of this British Steve Irwin before I talked to some of my fellow documentary loving friends back in Sydney. David Attenborough is known for making great quality documentaries on wildlife and nature phenomenons. His latest work, the Great Barrier Reef series, is no exception. Expect to find out that turtles always go back to their place of birth to lay their eggs. That coral is a far more complicated animal than we ever knew and what the current dangers are to the largest living organism in the world.
I finally had the chance to see the reef myself past Sunday and have been vibing off it for the last couple of days. Many people that I meet in the week decide not to visit the reef because they hear it is not that beautiful anymore. This is not true for all the reef, you just need to do your research and ask around. I’m still very excited about being a part of this beautiful and fascinating eco-system even if it is only for a dive or two more. Especially now that it is still among us. If we keep polluting and consuming at the current rate, the reef will no longer be here in another 20 years or so. This is not just a reef that is pretty to look, this is a unique eco-system which we cannot afford to lose. From the reef to the migrating animals such as humpback whales to the rainforest. It is all connected.
Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations and Parts Unknown, All Over the World
Those of you who follow me on my Snapchat have seen this man come by several times. Known as a silver fox who has a distinct dislike towards vegetarians (me), he is still one of my personal heroes. As a chef turned tv-personality, Anthony eats, drinks and experiments his way through the world. He does not choose conventional ways to travel nor conventional places to travel too. In either of his shows, “No Reservations” or the current episodes of “Parts Unknown”, you are guaranteed to learn something new. Not shying away from any sensitive subjects or regions, Anthony will always tell you a good story while informing you of the foods that you definitely must try.
With an excellent research team and local contacts, the places visited in his shows actually serve excellent food. If you do get hooked on the show, like I did, and go through the whole back-catalogue, expect occasional appearances from the likes of Josh Homme, Bill Murray, Sean Penn and even President Obama. However the show is so much more than celeb appearances of even a grey haired cursing man eating his way through destinations. It transports you to the sounds, colors and if you have some imagination even the smells from all around the world.
If you don’t believe me, the clip underneath is from a “No Reservations” episode about Cambodia. It just makes me laugh every time I watch it.
McLeod’s Daughters, Australia
If you know the show McLeod’s Daughters will probably start laughing now. This show is a full on drama Aussie show about a rural South Australian cattle station run by women. First, yes, I like strong female leads, add in some cute animals in an amazing country and you’ve got yourself a regular viewer. I really am that easy. As I got this show as a present to my mum, I first watched all the episodes myself (sorry mum). Working on a farm in rural Australia, it definitely helped me feel like badass, putting on my (secondhand) Akubra hat and driving around in the tractor. A must-see if you want to feel a little bit extra motivated about your farm work!
Another handy thing, you can actually find the whole show on YouTube:
Girls, New York
Even though I haven’t watched the show in over a year (the WIFI in rural Australia is too bad to watch shows online), it is still the first show that pops up in my head when I think of New York. Aside from Sex And The City of course. While SATC shows the glamorous side of the city, Girls keeps it a bit more real. It makes me want to explore all of Williamstown and Brooklyn. There is so much to do in a city like New York. Even though I have already gone, I’m sure it would be a completely different experience going back a second time.
Lost In Translation, Tokyo
Lost in Translation, a film by Sofia Coppola, finds itself in busy and illuminous Tokyo and stars Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. The movie beautifully portrays the city and the relationship between two people who are uprooted from familiar surroundings and placed in a strange and different world. While Japan is an extreme example with a very different culture and where little English is spoken, this situation will be very recognizable for many travelers. I often marvel at how easy it is to make friends when you’re not in your home country and this is most definitely what happens between Charlotte and Bob, the two main characters. As Japan is the next place on my list to visit, I’m definitely going to be re-watching it!
This movie is almost as crazy as what it feels like to actually travel to India. Like all films by Wes Anderson, this movie is brilliantly made and a joy to the senses. A story about three brothers coming together to travel across India turns into a hot mess as they travel in one of the infamous India trains. Definitely one of the most fascinating ways to see the country. Whether I would like to spend several days on one, that I would have to think about! Diving deep into family bonds, this movie leaves you lusting after your own Indian adventure.
Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Iceland
If this movie doesn’t inspire you to travel, I don’t know if there is one that will. Ben Stiller plays both a shy and scared photo classifier and a world famous photographer. While shy Ben hides from boring 9-5 life with dreaming about these extreme adventures, his trusted friend photographer (also played by Ben) gets to experience them all. The search for a cover photo forces the quite office dweller to come out of his shell and live all these great adventures. This movie inspires to go above and beyond and shows that you can as well. Skateboarding down an Icelandic volcano or jumping out of a plane, nothing is too crazy.
True Detective, Louisiana, USA
This absolutely phenomenal tv-show, an eight part murder investigation, draws you in from the gecko. Filmed in a slow pace, the show makes the surroundings of Louisiana shine. Not only is the story strong enough to stand on its own. Long shots of the area’s marchland add to the mystery of the investigation and makes you want to explore this land yourself. With killer performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Hallerson you really can’t go wrong.
Eat, Pray, Love in Italy, India and Bali
Even though I’m on the “the book (by Elizabeth Gilbert) was better” team, I still enjoyed this movie. Watching Julia Roberts go from Italy to India and ending up in Bali always gives me the urge to keep on traveling. Especially for female solo travelers this movie will give you some empowerment. And hey, you might even notice that it is not only the big love story that counts in this movie. It’s all those little love stories, falling in love with food, local culture and hospitality, the help from stranger, beautiful wildlife and nature and so so so much more!
Of course there are many more shows that will make you dream of far away adventures. Which one is your favorite?
Photos // Shown under photos above / Additional sources of the movies Wild, Le fabuleux destin d’ Amélie Poulain and Into The Wild //