The times are rough. The pandemic of covid19 has taken over and the world is quickly going into an indefinite quarantine. Transport systems are being shut, industries are being closed down, people have adopted their homes as a place of work and “going out” means buying essential groceries or making chemist runs. With the virus spreading so wide and so fast, there is no scope of social interactions anymore, rendering movie halls, shopping malls, cafes and restaurants to all shut down until things seem to get better. And with this covid19 quarantine, the travel industry has taken a hit too. All nations and all states have ceased their borders and rightfully so. But what does that means for people like me and you? For people who do not recognize a “home”, for those who are forever curious about what’s on the other side, for those who have not known a life of stability, of monotony, of sameness? The covid19 quarantine has made life come to a halt for all of us, whether we may like it or not.
So while we do not know when you and I will get to step out of our houses next, let alone travel, the internet has been taken by storm. People are trying to stay as positive in these trying times of coronavirus as possible. Online, I see posts of people baking, trying new recipes, upcycling, cleaning, redecorating, learning a new instrument, creating. And me, I am trying to take one day at a time. I am teaching my dog new tricks, baking, reading and most importantly, writing now more than ever. Amidst all this, I often like to get back to my life of travelling- if only virtually. I have taken up on Netflix and YouTube and have created the perfect list of travel shows and docu-series to watch during the covid19 quarantine and I’m here to share my list with you, in hope of helping you relive your travel fantasies too!
In no particular order, these are:
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Docu-Series/ Shows to Watch During Covid19 Quarantine
Unstoppable (or Desenfrenadas in Spanish) is a Mexican show following an epic road trip of 3 friends (and a stranger)- Vera, Carlota, Rocio and Marcela- from Mexico City to Oaxaca. While this may not come as your typical “travel” show, apart from some epic scenes of the coastal landscapes and cultural and gastronomical richness of Oaxaca, this road trip leads the four girls into a journey of self-discovery, trust and friendship. As the girlfriends deal with their different social and economical statuses, other themes like feminism, class difference, body image, self-confidence, girl power and sex come into play.
With one season and 10 episodes, I absolutely loved how each of the characters grew infinitely over just a span of a weekend and learned that there are so many possibilities other than the ones that bind them at home. They learn to break free, take control and turn their lives around for the better with the help of new experiences and unknown and (sometimes) uncomfortable circumstances. It’s just a perfect mix of laughs, sobs and gasps and the absolute perfect show to binge-watch during the covid19 quarantine.
Pro tip: Watch it in Spanish with English subtitles to pick up a new language!
Narrated by David Attenborough’s unforgettable voice, this Netflix series takes you through life on Earth and how its fast-changing, thanks to human interference. The important part that each and every creature play in maintaining this planet’s perfect balance is astounding. With vivid cinematography and some surreal shots of life both on earth and under, this documentary series will make you gasp and cry in equal proportions.
It’s a hard-hitting show about how this perfect balance has been thrown off and how damage to life on Earth will be irreparable if we do not act fast. You can only watch an episode a time, for, after each, you need some time to soak in all that you have seen and compose yourself- because you’ll be left a mess!
Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father
An unusual couple- comedian Jack Whitehall and his father- take an epic trip across the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in a typical “gap year/ backpacker” fashion. This hilarious and honest journey takes the pair on unexpected adventures and mishaps like an elephant polo match and a full moon party amongst many more.
The 20-something jovial Jack and his stuffy, 70-something father provide two starkly different perspectives over their shared experiences. Scenes like their disagreement on Jack’s choice of accommodation- a backpacker hostel- are witty and a hundred per cent relatable!
Dark tourism. Yes, it is a thing. In this twisted yet quirky docu-series, journalist David Ferrier takes us through some of the darkest and most dangerous travel destinations in the world. Unlike the usual tourist who prefers snowy ski slopes or sunny beaches, Dark Tourist takes the meaning of offbeat travel to a whole new dimension and makes for an interestingly educational watch during the covid19 quarantine time.
This show has some of the most unique and unusual destinations that you would (virtually) ever visit. Ferrier’s experiences are- safe to say- extreme and never seen before. These include swimming in a nuclear lake, witnessing an exorcism, dining with vampires, attending a voodoo festival and many more!
Extreme Engagement is one…interesting show. It follows the journey of an engaged couple- PJ Madam and Tim Noonan- who travel together for a year to test if they’re really fit to get married- or not. While the tribes and countries visited, and the customs experienced are extremely educative to watch, there’s a certain white gaze, especially from Madam’s side, which makes the show problematic.
The couple visits Cameroon, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Nigeria, China and Brazil. At times the show seems scripted and sometimes melodramatic but I have not yet firmly made an opinion on the show. While it was definitely entertaining to watch, the ethnocentric and colonial remarks here and there really put the mood off and makes it seem like the couple willingly entered into this decision just to create content- and not actually learn from it. All I’m going to say is, maybe watch it for yourself and decide. Because after all, we’ve got nothing but time during this covid19 quarantine!
Okay, I said these are in no particular order, but I gotta be honest. I saved the best for the last, hehe. Soul Trails by Ronnie and Barty is a series of an epic overland journey of five friends from Manali to Leh. Throughout their journey, they cross the most difficult of terrains, cook gourmet (looking) meals, set up the fanciest of camps and take us through such stunning Himalayan sceneries that I can’t stop watching the series over and over!
Ronnie and Barty (Rohan and Bharti) are a couple living in the mountains and documenting their mountain life while having some of the most insane adventures ever. Truth be told, each of their videos is to die for. Their Zanskar Series is another series I hold very close to my heart.
If you do end up watching one (or all) from this list, do drop in your reviews in the comments section. I’d love to read how you these shows made your covid19 quarantine time (slightly) less unbearable! If you have more suggestions for travel shows to watch during the coronavirus quarantine, please feel free to add them in the comments below!
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Note: Please remember to be responsible global citizens in these trying times. Make sure you do not travel until absolutely necessary and practice social distancing to prevent from becoming a carrier or getting infected to help minimize this pandemic.
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