Given a choice I would be living a nomadic/gypsy style life. Always on the move, never staying longer than it takes to explore a region, forever seeking the magic and mystique of arriving in a new location. However, life just isn’t like that is it? So, when not actually on the road, or googling travel, my husband and I incessantly seek travel TV. In the beginning, we were partial to pure travel, however now we are watching more and more shows that combine food and travel. Here are some of our favourites, a brief description and what we like best about them. FYI, we also seek movies which feature new countries and amazing scenery. The one thing we have found with the movies though is that for instance the movie can be supposedly set in let’s say Belize, but in fact it was shot in Puerto Rico – a little difficult to find that beautiful spot when in Belize if it’s in Puerto Rico 🙂 WE would LOVE to receive your suggestions in the comment sections for TV or Movies with amazing travel or scenery!
This page is a work in progress. We have a zillion ‘travel’ related shows we like to watch and as I remember them, have time to sit down and write I add another to the bottom of the page.
Distant Shores was probably the program that started the TV wander lust for travel. Featuring Canadian couple Paul & Sheryl Shard who built a sail boat and travel the world filming their adventures. It’s a really nice balance between wonderful scenery and really helpful sailing tips with a strong measure of good fun thrown in along the way. You can order the complete set online – well worth it and fun to go back and watch! Our trip to the Caribbean Island of Saba was inspired by this show. We have had the pleasure of chartering a sailboat and spending 10 days in the British Virgin Islands so have a ‘real life’ idea of how fantastic Paul & Sheryl’s life must be!
House Hunters International although primarily a real estate show featuring amazing destinations around the world, this is still one of my all time favourites. Given that I am a REALTOR® I get to mix my business and my pleasure while watching this one.
I love seeing the different styles of living and unique locations. I’m most partial to the highly unusual relocation destinations and anywhere with a beach in this program. Not quite enough scenery from a travel perspective, but a nice little glimpse into different cultures.
Departures is another Canadian program with two young Canadian fellows Scott & Justin travelling the world with their friend and amazing camera guy Andre. They have done an amazing job of putting this show together while travelling to some very remote areas of the world and experiencing things that the average individual will never have the opportunity to do. In some ways it has a ‘coming of age through travel’ vibe.
Scott & Justin were the perfect team to present the world from different angles with Andre skilfully providing the film for posterity. I truly miss this show and still enjoy re-runs when I can find them! I ‘glimpsed’ Scott at the Vancouver airport back in 2009 I believe, he was with a group of fellows and possibly off on another adventure!
Location, Location, Location followed by Relocation, Relocation followed by some other spin offs such as Vacation, Vacation, Vacation. Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer with their perfect chemistry and British cheek made these British TV shows fascinating from both a home and travel view. I am enamoured with British country side so Location, Location, Location was perfect! When they branched out to Relocation, Relocation, Relocation they dabbled in lifestyle changes within Britain and some interesting European destinations. Vacation, Vacation, Vacation didn’t have as many episodes but I enjoyed the ‘slant’ which was comparing various locations on different budgets.
Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan Honestly, Dominic’s voice and A type personality both make me a bit crazy. That said, he travels to some wild and exotic places seeking some of the worlds most unusual species. Well worth a watch!
Word Travels Two journalists traveling to the same places all over the world and writing/televising each with a different perspective on the same place. Great program!
Bizarre Foods Love Love Love Andrew Zimmern. I hope this guy is as awesome in his real world as he was on this show. Love his attitude, the way he eats, the way he travels and pushes himself to do things that may have been just beyond his comfort level. This show takes you into the nooks and crannies and private spaces of urban and not so urban places around the world. Did I mention I love Andrew Zimmern? 🙂 It’s totally not just about the food!
Originally more on the food slant then morphing more into the destination/cultural side of different parts of the world and even the psychological aspect of eating/breaking bread. I’m not personally a fan of him as a person, however I do enjoy the show and his take on the world. I would say that now that it’s not primarily food I find it better. His travels range from the seedier side of a destination to the high end restaurants. OK, I admit, he did start to grow on me after years of watching him.
No Reservations The first series I watched had a somewhat less palatable Bourdain and a definite more food show experience while still presenting glimpses of different countries/place and cultures.
The Layover There is a little more North American in this series. The concept is a 24 hour layout (hmm, maybe 48) in various International Airport served cities across the world.
As always Bourdain can be a raunchy guy and he certainly ate, drank and explored in a big way during these ones.
Parts Unknown The best of the three, this one is where it has turned into a whole cultural exploration of the world. Quite enjoyable to watch (yes, inspite of AB himself)….Ok Ok..I like the program 🙂 He’s a pretty raunchy guy but he’s evolving *waves*
Kevin McCloud’s Escape to the Wild This is a relative new UK series. It features a sometimes pompous Kevin McCloud flying (and then taking whatever mode of travel required) off to remote places where UK families (with families) have elected to live of the grid. I can’t even imagine how they start with nothing and continue to expand to form their own little paradises from nothing. My personal favourite is Episode 1 – Tonga
Huang’s World Oh my….whatever can I say about this program. Eddie Huang is a character, love the exploration of the darker side of a destination. Love the fact that he appears to be a homie style pothead with a developed palette and a righteous sense of morality thrown in the mix.
Worth a watch, Eddie grows on you 🙂 Also, check out the page link above – he has a web series!
The Secret Caribbean with Sir Trevor McDonald This is a 3 part mini-series with the refined and well spoken Sir Trevor wandering the Caribbean and presenting us with a more refined view than one or two of the above shows 🙂 Sir Trevor himself originally from Trinidad-Tobago is obviously enjoying his exploration of the Islands. He has done a few other similar series in other areas, none of which I have seen (YET).
check back – this is an ongoing list
Favourite Movies with Beautiful Scenery:
Set on a Greek Island: Mamma Mia – 2008
The Hundred-Foot Journey – 2014 – filmed in southern France (and I believe The Netherlands – go figure :). Fun movie about a family with aspirations to open a restaurant in rural France featuring their native cuisine with some great scenery in the first part of the movie.
check back – this is an ongoing list
Favourite Non-Travel Related TV shows with GREAT scenery:
Supposedly set in Belize – but really only has ‘after shots’ of Belize – actually set in Puerto Rico Mad Dogs 2015/16 – only 1 season – they stopped filming due to creative differences I believe 🙂
Death in Paradise mixes my desire to watch cheesie comedic detective/police shows with an awesome location! Set in the ‘fictional’ island of St. Marie this is actually filmed in Guadelupe. We dream of living in the main character’s beach side shack 🙂
Shetland – yet another ‘cop show’ this one set in the Shetland Islands. Some of the filming is in the Shetland Islands – but a lot of it is mainland Scotland.
check back – this is an ongoing list
This was the trip that spoiled me for all other vacations. The following is a little verbage I wrote about the trip for a class I was taking. The majority of the planning was taken on by the experienced couple captain/1st mate and our planning sessions were more or less to rubber stamp their great plans! There is a minor amount of poetic license taken in this story.
One dark, frigid February morning six fair skinned, sunburn prone middle aged Canadians some of whom were veritable landlubbers set off on a Caribbean bareboat sailing adventure. ‘Bareboating’ simply put, is renting a boat and crewing it yourself. Twelve months in the planning, this holiday was more ardently anticipated than any previous sojourn. On numerous occasions we huddled together over wine, fervently laying the groundwork for ten days of marine cohabitation. Two of us had previously attained Bareboat Certification and were thereby dubbed Captain and First Mate. Drawing upon their experience, we scrutinized charts, selecting routes, targeting Islands with special events or particular points of interest. A skeleton plan evolved for each day complete with menus for onboard meals and locations of restaurants featuring authentic local cuisine to tickle our Canadian taste buds. We aimed to pass by preeminent snorkel sites while treating ourselves to bits of the multi-faceted BVI culture.
Arriving at Beef Island Airport, exhausted after a long day, we revelled in the warm air as our shuttle wound itself through the gentle rolling hills until stopping at The Moorings charter base. Gear stowed, we ate, drank and restlessly awaited our first day on the water. Day two as the sun arose, we welcomed the arrival of supplies ordered online from a Road Town grocer, safely tucking all into heel proof galley cupboards and storage lockers. Fully provisioned we inspected the ship from stem to stern and were ready to set sail! The winds were high in the narrow channel as a gargantuan cruise ship was bearing down upon us. The challenges of our inaugural sail of the 50 foot Beneteau yacht were apparent as we soldiered on, finally freeing ourselves of the harbour, and setting our sights for Cooper Island and beyond.
Each morning was glorious as we awakened to the sounds and unique scents of the Caribbean. Our days starting with a refreshing swim in the tepid salt filled sea. As a team we prepared on-board meals. While en-route to the next unexplored port we layed anchor to swim, snorkel, or explore cave formations. Diving below surface we were awe struck by the multitude of rainbow coloured marine life allowing us to swim alongside. Late afternoon, always with a fair wind, we sailed to a new destination, latching onto a mooring ball or navigating into an available slip confident that we were living the lives of true sailors, marine radios screeching as the onshore operator called out instructions to our awaiting vessel.
British Virgin Islands is a stunning destination for bareboat sailing. When organizing your trip to the BVI’s, highly recommended stops would be the Full Moon Fire party at Trellis Bay, a walk through the fascinating geological formations of The Baths and a trip to the northern most, least populated Island of Anegada. Your trip will be exhilarating and filled with that sense of freedom that can be a challenge to surpass.
After our 10 days aboard Hull #5 (it didn’t have an official name yet as it was a brand new boat), Johnny and I left for St. Martin, we stayed on the Dutch side and did some exploring throughout the island. It was a bit of an adventure, I got caught in a rip tide, got sandblasted by a jet, and had Johnny’s wallet and my phone stolen from a rental jeep!
Our 4 nights in St. Martin were interesting to say the least. We had just spent 10 idyllic days on board the Beneteau relaxing, in the very safe BVI’s. We were staying in Phillipsburg on the Dutch side at Little Divi Bay Beach Resort. It wasn’t an ideal location and the beach wasn’t wonderful. We were able to get a bit of snorkeling in out at the point beyond. On Day 2 we were spending the day with our friends who had rented a jeep. Our goal was to do a bit of exploration. We stopped first at the world famous Maho Beach which is at the beginning of a runway into the airport. As you sit on the beach, plains are landing and/or taking off right behind you (feet away). The first challenge was not however, the planes, it was that the water was fairly rough. 3 of the 4 of us went in for a swim, Johnny seemed to have no issues..he was out beyond where the waves were breaking and having a lovely swim. One of our friends and I weren’t however so lucky. He got caught by a big wave and more or less got slammed down inuring his neck (not hospital bad, but bad enough that he did seek attention when he got back to Canada). I got caught in what was a bit of a rip-tide I think, and couldn’t get in. The problem is, you get out there and feel a bit embarassed, plus it’s so loud. I wasn’t near Johnny or our friends and the waves just kept pulling me back and submerging me. Finally, someone else noticed that I was in trouble and a big guy came and grabbed my hand and pulled me to shore…..this was my first lesson in ‘respect of the water’, and I carry this experience with me always. OK…so….I almost drown (well, not quite), friend hurt neck, and Johnny swimming happily and comes in out of the same water with no issues. This brings us to experience #2 on the same beach. Everyone gathers on this beach to watch the planes come in and take off. The taking off part is something we had NO CLUE what was going to happen. Essentially, the plane is sitting not far away, just beyond a fence. It revs up, you can smell the jet fuel, and when it takes off it creates a hot windstorm picking up the sand and everything that’s loose on the beach and just blows it away. I lost my shorts *sigh* – blown away into the water, never to be seen again. The sand blast was so severe that it was almost embedded in your skin – it wasn’t something we prepared for. OK…can this day get better? 🙂 Oh yeah, we headed out driving around the Island over the the French side. We came across a sign for a beach and parked in a parking lot and went over a little hill to the lovely beach. We spent quite a bit of time there, walking, playing, relaxing & having a drink. When we went back to the car, our friend opened the trunk and my bag was gone and some other things were missing. Unfortunately, the trunk wasn’t locked and my bad had Johnny’s wallet, my cell phone, some clothing *sigh*….oh what fun. We had to borrow money from our friends who were leaving on Day 3 so that we could get by the rest of the trip. It’s my understanding now that this type of thing is known to happen in that area. The thieves are probably sitting there in the bushes somewhere and check the cars as soon as you leave…BEWARE 🙂 Again, another lesson, and thus ends my first trip to St. Martin. Now…don’t get me wrong, I love St. Martin and have been back and had no issues (as I had learned many lessons from this trip :)!
Here is a link with a bunch of Youtube video’s of the planes coming in and going out…you MUST watch a few Click Here.