At the teleport station: Travel documentaries to give wanderlust goals
The next best thing to putting your seatbelts on is to turn to the cinematic world of travel documentaries to teleport us to Antarctica and the Himalayas, and to Borneo and the Amazon
For a traveller, these last seven-odd months have been nothing short of frustrating. A second wave of coronavirus has hit Europe. Even as travel bubbles spring up here and there, there’s a long way to go before packing for a trip abroad.
The next best thing to putting your seatbelts on is to turn to the cinematic world of travel documentaries to teleport us to Antarctica and the Himalayas, and to Borneo and the Amazon. Let’s get going.
Honeyland in Macedonia
This Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska documentary follows the life of Hatidze Muratova, the last of Macedonia’s wild beekeepers. This simple 2019 film shows us how we are disrupting the careful balance in nature. The cinematography stresses the respect that our environment deserves and how humans are selfishly exploiting it.
Kedi in Istanbul
This is a beautiful ode to the cat capital of the world. Directed by Ceyda Torun, the camera explores the city from the point of view of the many felines. Even the Hagia Sophia resident cat—that honoured former US President Barack Obama with an audience in 2009—finds a place. A must for cat-lovers.
Virunga in Democratic Republic of Congo
Investigative journalism meets nature documentary, and the result is stunning. It talks about the global conservation crisis and the fight to protect the world’s last mountain gorillas of Virunga National Park. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
March of the Penguins in Antarctica
Who doesn’t love penguins? This cuddly classic, filmed in Antarctica, is still the best that there is. The fact that Morgan Freeman does the voiceover makes it even more appealing. The camera films the life of the Emperor penguins making their annual trek for mating season. An icy take that warms you to the core.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi in Tokyo
Chef Jiro Ono proved to the world that sushi making is more than just seaweed, rice and raw fish. It is an art. Director David Gelb follows the renowned chef—owner of the Michelin-starred Sukiyabashi Jiro - and also presents an interesting visual of his city, Tokyo. Of course, seeing the famous Tsukiji Fish Market is a bonus.
The Eagle Huntress in Mongolia
Set in Mongolia’s virgin landscapes—at once arid and breathtaking—it follows the tale of a 13-year-old Kazakh girl and her ambition to become the first female eagle hunter in her family. This impactful film pushed tourism to Mongolia, specifically for The Golden Eagle Festival.
The Endless Summer in Ghana
Dating back to 1966, it literally opened the world to a place like Ghana, not to mention, other hidden gems such as Nigeria and New Zealand. The plot revolves around two surfers on a quest to find the perfect waves. It’s about their adventures and the adventures they create in the lives of the people they meet. Uncomplicated and refreshingly fresh.
Stephen Fry in America in USA
This mini-series gets our vote for the brilliant Stephen Fry. He travels across all 50 states of America in a London cab, meeting all kinds of people and having some very interesting conversations. Our only grouse? It seems too rushed for time.