While we love the thrill of getting lost in a truly gripping travel book, we also can’t deny the immense satisfaction of binge-watching an inspiring travel series that gets us excited for when the world reopens again. TV travelogues have a huge role to play right now in these unprecedented times, as they help give us that much needed escapism to idly fantasise about all the destinations we’re wanting to travel to when lockdown is over. So, again we turn to our Exodus travel experts and colleagues for their suggestions on what series you should put to the top of your watch list right now.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
It’s impossible to make a list about the best travel TV series and not mention Anthony Bourdain: Part’s Unknown. Back in April 2013, we saw the much-loved American celebrity Chef and open-minded curiosity seeker doing what he does best – country hop across the globe with palate-pleasing gusto.
When Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown made its CNN debut, it reached nearly 400,000 viewers worldwide, effectively changing the travel show genre as we know it. The critically acclaimed chef turned the concept of “exotic culinary experiences” on its head, as he went scouring the world to uncover lesser-known places, peeling back the layers of deep-rooted traditions, bubbling cultures and fantastic cuisine, that would encourage even the most lacklustre traveller to pack their bags.
From searching for a rare variety of Peru’s wild cocoa in the indigenous Andes to tucking into Laksa Sarawak in the bustling streets of Borneo, “Bourdain made traveling to seemingly exotic places more appealing without dumbing things down,” Vietnamese cookbook author and culinary expert, Andrea Nguyen, explains. He continues, “Bourdain seamlessly wove politics, history and society into his work to make points that go beyond deliciousness. Without a doubt, the media has made more room at the table for new voices and ideas because of Bourdain.” And our Data Manager, Pablo Rodriguez, couldn’t agree more.
Pablo says, “Up until his tragic, untimely death in France, Bourdain travelled the world showing not only the best culinary experiences from every place, but also took the time to discover the culture around it.” He continues, “One of my favourite episodes is the one shot in Hanoi, Vietnam, where Anthony enjoyed some Bun Cha (a traditional dish of charcoal-grilled pork and noodle), while sitting on plastic stools and drinking cold beers with former President, Barack Obama.” When it comes to blending honesty, wit and intellect into travel entertainment, no one did it better.
Race Across the World
Tim Fowler, our Customer Marketing Manager, was quick to comment on BBC’s hit travel TV show, “Imagine the Apprentice but with less back-stabbing and more globetrotting. Race Across the World is an edge of your seat reality TV show in which 5 pairs of travellers must race from one corner of the globe to another without flying and spending no more than the cost of a plane ticket. The programme shows us just how much we miss out on when we fly, and makes the perfect case for travelling more sustainably overland.”
The second series saw five teams setting off from Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City in a frenetic race across the world to the end of the earth, Ushuaia in Argentina. Covering a colossal distance of 25,000 km in just 8 weeks, the couples had to pass through 7 different checkpoints in Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile. Each team was given £1,453 for the whole trip, which roughly worked out to just £26 per day, in the hopes of bagging the winning £20,000 cash prize in the season finale.
With an entrepreneur, physiotherapist, landscape gardener and ex-military soldier among the contestants embarking on this epic adventure, the show not only highlights how innovative the teams get when it came to using land-based modes of transport, but also shows the sheer generosity of strangers across the world who are only too willing to help the couples get to where they need to go, while on a shoestring budget. If this miniseries doesn’t inspire you to plan a long travelling stint after the world reopens, we don’t know what will.
Gordon, Gino and Fred Road Trip
If you love delving into rich culinary experiences when you travel, exploring down back roads for local delights or experimenting with dishes that you’d never come across when you’re at home, then the Gordon, Gino and Fred: Road Trip ITV Hub miniseries is definitely one to put on your watch list during lockdown.
Join this wacky foodie trio of British chef, Gordon Ramsay, Italian stallion Gino D’Acampo and First Dates maître d’, Fred Siriex, as they journey across America in search of culinary hot spots off the beaten track. Expect mouth-watering feasts, a healthy dose of ego-bashing and extreme adventures that will make you want to book a trip to the Americas as soon as the dust settles. Taking in delicious delights, the boys head to San Fran’s bustling Chinatown district that’s brimming with authentic Asian delicacies and culture; taste wallet-busting burgers in Las Vegas and end the adventure cooking a big traditional BBQ in the Lone Star State of Texas.
Francesca Chojnowska, Exodus’ Sustainability Intern, comments, “The three amigos take in the sights and culinary specialities of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Texas and Tijuana. The guys also experiment and try out new activities including goat yoga, dune buggy racing and wild wrestling, testing their competitiveness both on the road and in the kitchen. Funnily enough, it’s a great TV show to inspire you to travel while also helping you get creative with cooking in your own home.”
Not a suggestion for the faint-hearted traveller, but this controversial yet strangely fascinating Netflix documentary series tracks the rising global phenomenon of “dark tourism”. From investigating the vicious legacy of drug lord Pablo Escobar in Medellín to a spine-chilling visit to the deserted Japanese town of Tomioka, located a mere 6 miles away from Fukushima’s nuclear power plant, New Zealand filmmaker and journalist David Farrier (‘Tickled’) takes one step towards the surreal, and often morbid tourism spots around the world.
Milly Youngman, our Social Media Manager explains, “One of the reasons why I was drawn to watching the Dark Tourist in the first place was because I was inspired by my Exodus trip to Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone back in 2019, but it was also spurred on by a long-term interest in anything dark and macabre. It’s strangely engrossing to watch David Farrier explore some of the more unusual tourist destinations across the globe, including ghost cities, exhibits that are dedicated to prolific serial killers and a hotel operated by robots.”
Night on Earth
The British nature documentary series, “Night on Earth” effectively lifts the night’s veil to reveal the hidden lives of some of the world’s most interesting nocturnal creatures, from lions on the hunt to bats coming out of rock crevices. Using state of the art, low-light camera technology, Samira Wiley, who’s best known for her starring role in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, embarks on a six-part exploration of what exactly nature gets up to after the sun sets.
Seeing exotic wildlife drenched in a different kind of light, gives you a completely new and gripping visual experience to the normal animal documentaries you’d expect to see. Imagine watching a close up of a lion crossing flatland in the dead of night or even small clusters of ants climbing a seemingly mammoth sand dune – these moments feel all the more intense with a dramatic heat mapping filter on them. A great suggestion for avid animal lovers, our Publications Manager, Sonia Surguy, was keen to comment, “This series offers amazing footage of wildlife filmed at night. If you liked the Planet Earth series, this is a must watch.”