For well over a year, coronavirus has been hellbent on creating chaos. Weddings have been cancelled repeatedly. Small talk has become somewhat of a classical language. Creatives have struggled to be creative. The list goes on. But there’s one thing that it’s affected more than anything else: travel. Even as lockdown restrictions loosen globally, going on holiday remains an ordeal. An ordeal that – in the UK at least – is akin to crossing a dual carriageway with a traffic light system that rarely goes green. However, you can still go on staycation and you can still watch these travel documentaries on Netflix. Life could be much worse.
Often, travelling is nothing without the people we do it with. Written and directed by the subjects themselves, Léa & I follows best friends Léa Moret and Camille Shooshani as they journey across Latin America to find a cure for Léa’s cystic fibrosis – a disease that she is not expected to survive past 37. As lovingly intimate as travel documentaries get.
We miss going out – as in participating in revelry, not simply leaving the house – a lot. Zulu Man in Japan serves as a stark reminder that whatever becomes of a pre-booked pub table will never be as fun as a South African rapper’s adventures in Japan.
There are 104 episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. This alone should demonstrate the sheer breadth of countries and cuisines that it covers, not to mention its popularity. Indeed, there would have been more episodes if it wasn’t for the celebrity chef’s tragic death while filming the series in 2018. Ultimately, watching it is gastronomical escapism grounded in reality.
Dark tourism might not be your idea of a holiday, but it makes for fascinating television. Dark Tourist follows journalist David Farrier as he travels the world from Africa to Japan exploring the phenomenon. Expect exorcisms, concerningly high levels of nuclear radiation and a mock illegal border crossing.
The imagery commissioned by National Geographic trumps all other travel photography. It’s fortunate, then, that the network should have teamed up with Canon to create Tales by Light, a series that follows numerous professional photographers as they travel around the world from Bangladesh to Alaska in an attempt to do it justice. It will leave you heaving with wanderlust.