How to Satisfy Your Travel Bug Without Leaving the Couch

Five months ago our world shut down. We were delegated to our houses and our travel plans were halted as a result of a global pandemic. A lot of people not only love to travel but also need it to maintain their sanity and feed their travel addiction. I know because I am one of those people. So, in April, when all my travel plans were delayed indefinitely, I needed to find another way to satiate my wanderlust.  How did I satisfy my travel bug? I watched movies and shows that were travel focused. I escaped by living vicariously through other people and their travel adventures. So from my couch to yours, here are five of my favorite travel inspired viewing options.

“Wanderlust” by Send me adrift. is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  1. The Amazing Race
    On Hulu and CBS All Access
    This is my favorite reality TV show. Contestants race around the world for a chance to win $1 million dollars. Competition and travel?! My heart’s a flutter. For all the haters out there, this isn’t your run of the mill reality TV show filled with sayings like, “But is he here for the right reasons?” (To be clear, I also love The Bachelor – don’t judge). The Amazing Race won multiple Emmy awards and just completed its 33rd season.  In every episode, contestants travel to a new destination where they must complete a series of challenges, which highlight many of the country’s cultural aspects. This show is full of adventure and travel (and even a little bit of drama).  I hope to someday compete but I just need a partner. Any takers?
    Watch the Trailer!
  2. Eat, Pray, Love
    Netflix and Amazon Prime
    This movie is based on the true story of a woman who lost touch with who she was and even though on the surface it seemed as if she had everything, she wasn’t fulfilled with her life. In her quest for self-discovery she completely leaves everything behind and travels the world for a year in hopes to rekindle her passion for life. In Italy she masters the art of happiness (by eating pizza and pasta), in India she explores the power of prayer and meditation, and in Bali she solves her life-long question of what it means to truly be in love. I’ve always loved the idea of long term travel but have never been brave enough to do it. Shortly after this movie, I did travel to Italy and oh boy, did she have it right – happiness is homemade pizza and pasta. Eat all the carbs my friends!
    Watch the Trailer!

    “Future of Food: A Conversation with Jim Yong Kim & David Chang” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  3.  Ugly Delicious
    My brother has been trying to get me to watch this Netflix Original Series for years. And as much as I hate to admit this, he was right – each episode is pure gold. This show is perfect for anyone who is a lover of all-things food and travel. James Beard Award-winning chef, David Chang, travels to culinary hot spots around the world. Each episode explores one type of food and how it differs in multiple regions around the world (e.j. pasta, tacos, pizza). Through these visits he unpacks the food’s history and cultural relevance. It will leave you hungry to travel the world (quite literally). *Warning: Chang is not everyone’s cup of tea. He does not hesitate to swear, rarely filters, and does not avoid controversial topics such as politics and race.
    Watch the Trailer!
    *Warning: Explicit language

    “Mono Lake – PLANET eARTh” by Striking Photography by Bo Insogna is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  4. Our Planet
    This Netflix Original Documentary Series won two Emmy awards and was created by the same people who created the BBC documentary series Planet Earth. Although this series does not address travel directly, it reignited my passion for the extraordinary world we live in.  It explores wildlife species and natural wonders around the world and how climate change affects all living creatures. I watched this when we were in the throws of quarantine in New York State and it was just what I needed to feel connected to the outside world (even though most of us weren’t leaving our house).
    Watch the Trailer!

    “Anthony Bourdain Made Us All Dinner On The Beach!” by Trey Ratcliff is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  5.  Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
    It would be an injustice to have a list of best travel shows and not include the late Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain was a celebrity chef and television personality who won 7 Daytime Emmy awards for his work on Parts Unknown. In this documentary, Bourdain travels to off the beaten path destinations around the globe in search of interesting people, unique cultures, fascinating history, and, wait for it…delicious and authentic food. If Bourdain can’t inspire your wanderlust, I’m not sure what will. Can’t get enough Bourdain? You can also watch two of his travel shows that preceded Parts Unknown on Hulu: No Reservations and The Layover.
    Watch the Trailer!

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