The next best thing to travelling is living vicariously through those who have.
With the proliferation of streaming services, there’s no shortage of great travel documentaries and shows to choose from if you’re stuck on your sofa. You could fall down a rabbit hole on YouTube to uncover some real gems. Or pull up Netflix or another favorite to go on a culinary adventure on the other side of the world.
Each of these documentaries and series on this list offer different views of what travel means, but they all find the heart in each. It’s not about where we go when we hit the road. It’s about what we learn and what we feel
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
One of the most popular—and famous—documentaries of the 2010s, Jiro Dreams of Sushi lives up to the hype. The protagonist, 85-year-old Jiro Ono, dedicates his life to perfecting sushi in his modest, 10-seat restaurant. The simplicity of the dish belies the emotional heft of the documentary and his establishment’s reputation as a worldwide destination. “Beautiful, thoughtful, and engrossing,” raves Rotten Tomatoes, with a 99% on its Tomatometer. “Jiro Dreams of Sushi should prove satisfying even for filmgoers who don’t care for the cuisine.” It remains a fascinating insight into the culture of food and the world of culinary tourism
If you’ll allow the pun, Street Food is a highly digestible documentary series from Netflix. Season 1 takes viewers to nine countries across Asia to provide a close-up look into the place food holds in their respective cultures. The show is illuminating, entertaining, and, as with Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about so much more than good bites.
USA National Parks Adventure
Academy Award winner Robert Redford lends his dulcet tones to this sweeping feature that covers the history and allure of America’s national parks through the experience of three travelers: mountaineer Conrad Anker, photographer Max Lowe, and artist Rachel Pohl. The trio explores the most famous wildernesses in America, from Yellowstone and Yosemite to Glacier National Park and the Everglades, shining new light on familiar haunts. Travel envy is real.
Where you can watch it: Netflix
A Map For Saturday
In 90 minutes, you’ll follow Brook Silva-Braga around the world through 26 countries on four continents. It’s an adventurist’s dream, as Silva-Braga takes a minimal approach to his journey, while interacting with dozens of other solo travelers along the way. Each brings a unique story to the experience. If you’ve ever wanted to ditch your day job for a month and backpack nation to nation, A Map For Saturday is for you.
Where you can watch it: Rent on Amazon Prime
The Living Desert
The emergence of Disney+ in 2019 proved to be a godsend as the calendar turned over to 2020. The platform delivers all of the classic Disney features, from animated favorites to live-action nostalgia trips. There are also forgotten gems, like the True Life Adventure series. Now, The Living Desert isn’t a travel documentary per se, but it did introduce a relatively unexplored region to eager viewers way back in 1953. The film is campy at times, but it’s also innovative. Much of the tension in modern masterpieces like Planet Earth can be traced back to here, where nature’s battles take center stage.
Where you can watch it: Disney+
So take a trip across the world whilst in lockdown and dream on ………………..