The journey TV, books, podcasts and movies that can allow you to escape throughout lockdown
Many of us desperately need a short vacation right now. With lockdowns and restrictions getting stricter around the world, travel will be excluded for the foreseeable future.
The same goes for us here in the Euronews office. The term “office” is of course used loosely here. Currently, our headquarters are located all over the world, from the headquarters in Lyon, France, to our counterparts in the UK who populate cities like London and Manchester.
During the virtual tea breaks, like many homeworkers, we often talk about the things we’ve seen, read, and heard, and spend the days getting back out there and exploring again.
Here we share some of our favorite TV shows, documentaries, films, podcasts and books that have helped us escape over the past year.
Ruth Wright, lifestyle director
The first travel series I ever saw was “Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin,” which was shown on the BBC in 1989.
It was the first travel series Michael Palin made – he was previously known for his role in Monty Python. He tries to circumnavigate the globe in less than 80 days, like Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne’s classic novel of the same name.
It was actually one of the things that got me into a career in the media – he made it look so funny. I would recommend this one or one of his series. Wanderlust guaranteed. You can find them online or at BBC iPlayer if you are in the UK.
Ali Ihsan Aydin, deputy editor-in-chief for digital platforms
If, like me, you’re fascinated by the hills and mountains, I’d recommend the aptly named “The Mountain,” a 2017 documentary directed by Jennifer Peedom.
The film takes you to the highest peaks in the world, shows the most gorgeous wonders of our planet and gives an inquiring insight into our relationship with nature.
As an Anatolian boy who spent the first 10 years of his life as a shepherd in the bull highlands and now lives in Lyon, the French Alps have become my refuge when I long for mountains.
That leads me to my favorite documentary about the Alps: “A symphony of peaks – The Alps from above”. This is a unique cinematic travel expedition with breathtaking aerial views of the mountain range.
If you want to dive deep into your virtual connection with nature I would recommend ‘Our Planet’, an amazing documentary series about Netflix. The series takes us through the most beautiful landscapes, faunas and wild nature on earth and makes you think about the reckless consequences of climate change.
Thomas Duthois, video producer
In my spare time I am a climber so I would recommend Free Solo and The Dawn Wall. ‘Free Solo’ follows climber Alex Honnold as he tackles a free solo climb from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. ‘The Dawn Wall’ is about another free climber, Tommy Caldwell, and his climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson, who try to climb the 1000 m high Dawn Wall (also in Yosemite).
March of the Penguins is also a stunning movie watch. It is a French documentary by Luc Jacquet about the life of penguins. There are some amazing shots of Antarctica and the South Pole.
Marthe de Ferrer, producer and journalist
When I want to flee and think a little about foreign countries, there is nothing better than the work of David Sedaris. I don’t think there is a funnier, better writer on the planet and luckily he has been working for years and there is an abundance of content.
For travel-related stories, my favorites are When You’re In Flames, which takes readers from North Carolina to Normandy. “Me Talk Pretty One Day”, about his trials and difficulties during his stay in Paris; and his newest release, ‘Calypso’, which bounces around but is mostly on the American east coast.
The best thing for me is that all of his work is available on audiobooks and podcasts so you can hear his particularly unusual and delightful voice reading his equally bizarre words. David has got me through most of the lockdown so far.
Max Thurlow, producer
I often take the bus via a taxi when I’m out and about for fear of being a “father”, and for that I have to thank Paul Theroux.
In his 2008 travel book, ‘Ghost Train to the Eastern Star’, a 66-year-old Theroux traces the steps of a journey he took 33 years ago. The journey – mainly by train – takes him through Europe to Turkey, India, Vietnam and Japan.
He often compares the countries as he finds them now, as he remembers them as a younger man. In addition to its forward-looking observations and happy encounters, the book is full of history. I return to this book for travel inspiration because I like its style of travel – trying to experience and learn from a culture rather than just going through it.
One quote stands out: “Luxury is the enemy of observation, an expensive indulgence that makes you feel so good that you don’t notice anything. Luxury spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world. That is its purpose, the Reason why luxury cruises and great hotels are full of fathers who, when they have an opinion, seem like they are from another planet. “
Rosie Frost, digital producer
I am the worst but most persistent surfer in the world. There aren’t many places where I can catch a wave in central London, so I satisfied my longing for the ocean with documentaries.
‘The Endless Summer’ is an all-time classic from 1966 that follows two surfers on a trip around the world to avoid the cold of winter. I recommend checking out the cool retro vibes if you’re looking for a bit of Sun-By-Proxy.
My latest favorite discovery, however, was the 2016 ‘Gaza Surf Club’. Deep and complex, it tells the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a completely unexpected lens. Worth a watch even if you’re not particularly into the sport
Sarah Palmer, social media journalist
Lockdown actually made me see my first Attenboroughs and Therouxs (I’m sorry). I’m not a great observer, but I recently started The Great Escapists, a survival documentary starring British Richard Hammond – he’s essentially stranded on a desert island, which honestly seems like a dream after last year. At least it’s warm and the attempt to stay alive passes.
I became increasingly interested in podcasts as a entertainment tool during the many, many lockdown walks. Of note is Holly Rubenstein’s The Travel Diaries podcast, in which she interviews various celebrities about their travel experiences.
Katy Dartford, freelance journalist and adventure writer
When I need a bit of an escape and want to be awestruck, I check out one of the Sliding Night Movies by Chamonix-based director Thierry Donard.
The films show some of the world’s best extreme athletes reaching their limits in mountains and oceans around the world. You can watch on Netflix.
Nataliia Liubchenkova, journalist
The first thing that comes to mind is Ashes and Snow, a film by Canadian artist Gregory Colbert. This is essentially a photographic poem about the relationship between humans and animals.
Colbert also created the Nomadic Museum under the same name with all of his films, photographs and travel letters.