By Andrés Muñoz
I only began to watch travel shows recently. Whenever I feel like disconnecting and am in the mood for something that might be a “little” farther away than a quick visit to the countryside, I tune in and am instantly transported to a whole new list of magical and interesting places.
Travel shows are the closest many people currently get to exploring the world. Many are burdened by visas, political unrest in their countries, financial restrictions, or as in many cases, responsibilities that anchor them to a specific location. Oh, and there is a small matter of a global pandemic!
That being said, situations can always change. You might get to travel a bit more after saving some money or landing a job that lets you (or requires you to) move from one place to another or allows you to work remotely. So to help you get inspired for future trips, take a look at some of these great travel shows on Netflix right now.
Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father
A great mix of humour and adventure, British comedian Jack Whitehall and his 80-year old, reserved and stuffy English father travel together in this documentary/road trip comedy. His dad’s unexpected and often deadpan reactions to the wacky situations his son lands them in is the driving force of the show.
The combination of the quick-witted comedian and his dad offers a refreshing perspective on how we experience travel depending on our age. It’s now on its fourth season, having already explored Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and the American West.
Feeling hungry? How about an in-depth exploration of the taco? In Taco Chronicles, Netflix’s filmmakers take us on a culinary expedition across Mexico. Each episode highlights one of the various types of the Mexican staple and its region of origin. By interviewing street vendors, famous chefs, and everyday people, we are shown why it’s one of the most beloved foods in the world. The show is a veritable smorgasbord of Mexican culinary heritage.
In its second season already, there is even an episode on how Mexican taco culture has spread abroad, specifically in the United States.
Down To Earth With Zac Efron
Many travel shows currently focus on food, food, and more food. Yes, sampling new culinary delights is one of the best things you can do in a distant land. But, actor Zac Efron himself invites us to add an extra layer of meaning to our journeys in Down To Earth. In his show, he explores sustainable living practices in different countries around the world.
From hydroelectric and geothermal energy powering 100% of Iceland to the challenges Peruvian yacón, maca, and camu camu growers face due to biopiracy. The Puerto Rico episode is particularly moving, as it shows how the island nation is struggling after being increasingly hit by hurricanes due to climate change.
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Where are all the women, though? Unfortunately, most travel show hosts are men and the fact that one of the few with a female lead is a limited series amplifies the need for additional representation and inclusion. In this show, American chef and food writer Samin Nosrat takes us on a journey based on her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.
The four-part series takes Nosrat to Italy, Japan, Mexico, and California and highlights how each element takes centre stage in cooking. Thankfully, most of Samin’s guest chefs are women, so it brings a refreshing and much-needed perspective on the travel show format to the virtual table.
Tales By Light
While generally, a typical travel show has a presenter (or two) exploring the world with a camera crew, my definition of travel shows also encompasses shows that spur you to visit new locations, whether a presenter tried to entice you or not. National Geographic’s Tales By Light takes you around the world, following a team of photographers exploring and documenting different areas of the world.
From the tribes of the Kalahari desert in Africa to killer whales off the coast of Norway, all the way to penguins in the South Pole, the show reminds us of the vastness of the planet and all the different places that are there to be discovered.
While it still might be challenging to leave home right now, we must never forget this: the world is a vast place filled with a never-ending supply of locations and experiences to enrich us. Whether you’re a food enthusiast always on the hunt for the next new dish or simply curious about the world around you, these shows remind us of all that there is to discover!
What other travel shows do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below!