My next post was supposed to be about a three-week trip to Turkey and Georgia, peppered with pictures of hot air balloons, trains and Mark drinking wine against the backdrop of white-capped Caucasus mountains. That will have to wait. Despite the public health imperative to stay home, there are still options to keep our wanderlust alive. One of my favourites? Travel documentaries and shows on Netflix.
In this post, I’ll be sharing five shows I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m writing this list based on a few episodes I have seen of each show or documentary. I hope you enjoy them too!
Travel Documentaries and Shows on Netflix
Genre: Nature Documentary, S1 E1 “One Planet”
Our Planet is a Netflix nature documentary series that highlights the diversity and interconnectedness of nature. The series, narrated by David Attenborough, also talks about the damaging changes of human impact on the environment. However, it isn’t all gloom and doom. Rather, the documentary calls for us to act before it is too late.
The first episode takes us on a journey across the planet. From remote islands in South and North America to the vast and diverse landscapes of Africa, it highlights the delicate relationship between species in the ecosystem. Everything about this episode and the entire series is stunning. Its enthralling cinematic pictures and the soulful soundtrack are just some of the reasons to binge-watch it this season.
Jack Whitehall – Travels with My Father
I started off with the first episode in the third season of the show and loved it! So, I’m going to catch up with the first two seasons. Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never heard of Jack Whitehall before this and I didn’t know he was a comedian. I was just interested in seeing what this father-son duo got up to during their travels in America.
The show got several laughs out of me because when you combine a playful, borderline immature son and a proper Brit of a father, you get comedic genius!Check out these 5 travel documentaries and shows on Netflix! Click To Tweet
S1 E5 “Hotbed”
Extreme Engagement follows the story of a long-time engaged couple, PJ and Tim and their one-year-long adventure in the ‘wild’. As soon as I saw that one of these ‘wild adventures’ brought them to Nigeria, I was invested.
I am often on the edge watching television shows portrayed by foreigners about Nigeria. Oftentimes, it is a mix of poverty show, security issues and utter disrespect of culture and norms. It gets tiring. I had to psych myself up so I did not go into this series pre-offended.
The first surprise was that this episode was shot in Sokoto State. I was so delighted to see a different part of the country portrayed beautifully. This episode sees the couple integrate into the nomadic life of a Wodaabe, Fulani family. Their hosts welcome them with a Gerewol, which is more or less a male beauty pageant. There, PJ chooses a ‘suitor’ named Babuli. The couple then spends the next few days (or weeks perhaps) with Babuli, his wives and their community.
In between scenes, as with reality television, there are monologues and voice-overs. I found this to be too scripted in parts. As the episode explores the topic of jealousy, I cannot say if Tim’s overly dramatic responses to certain situations are scripted to fit into the show’s theme or if he is actually that way.
In any case, this was entertaining to watch and I am now looking forward to seeing the other episodes in the series.
Genre: Documentary, S1 E1 “Latin America”
When I saw ‘Dark Tourist’ pop up on the list of travel shows on Netflix, I completely skipped it at first. I didn’t want to watch any creepy shows. However, it kept coming up so I checked out the reviews. They were quite good, so I gave in and saw the first episode. Spoiler Alert: it wasn’t as creepy as I had initially imagined.
David Farrier, a journalist from New Zealand hosts the show. In it, he explores an area of travel known as ‘Dark Tourism’. Basically, this is when people visit places associated with death and tragedy.
In the first episode, he travels across Latin America, from Colombia to Mexico. He goes on tour with a Pablo Escobar’s look-alike and then hangs out with his trusted hitman in Medellin. And in Mexico, he takes a tour that explores what’s like crossing the US border illegally and spends time with a cult that worships the saint of the dead.
It was quite interesting to watch and when I found myself judging people who’d sign up for tours like these, I remembered that I also go on tours of slave castles and slave trade routes. I guess that falls into the dark tourism category too. What do you think?
Restaurants on the Edge
Genre: Food Travel, S1 E1 “Malta”
Restaurants on the Edge is a series that sees 3 hosts visit restaurants around the world that are on the edge of failure to help them turn things around. The first episode takes place in Malta. Although, I almost put off the show after one of the hosts said something along the lines of, “Malta is a country positioned between Africa and Sicily”, I’m glad I stuck to it.
I’m not a food critic or restaurant buff so that part of the show did not appeal to me. However, I loved the videos of the fishing village and Valletta, Malta’s capital city. By the time the episode was over, I was ready to pack my bags and head to Malta. You know, after the Corona Virus epidemic is over and I hope that’s sooner, rather than later.
Are you watching any travel documentaries and shows on Netflix or elsewhere? Feel free to share them with me in the comment section below. Until this phase passes, stay safe.