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12 Travel Shows And Books That'll Fuel Your Wanderlust


Faruq Senin •  Mar 29, 2020


In an ideal world, we'd love to have the ability to travel all the time but let's face it; real-life and more pressing matters beckon us daily. Plus, with the COVID-19 outbreak and travel restrictions imposed across the world, travelling doesn't seem like an option right now ☹️ Credit: Giphy But that shouldn’t stop your wanderlust! The amazing thing is that you can still take a mental vacation and live vicariously through travel movies, shows or books. That's why we’ve rounded up 12 travel shows and books to (temporarily) transport you to the right destination ?
Travel shows/movies:
1. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller) is a chronic daydreamer who’s stuck in the monotony of his job at Life magazine. All is about to change when he is given the task to find the pièce de résistance for the magazine’s final print issue.

With a little help from his encounters, Walter breaks out of his shell and revels in an adventure he has long imagined. Well, we can't help but to see a little bit of Walter Mitty in ourselves ?

Skogafoss Waterfall, one of the locations where the movie was shot Fun fact: the scenes where he was supposedly in Afghanistan, Greenland and the Himalayas were all shot in Iceland! Visually stunning, this movie has been the inspiration for many to plan their itineraries. Would you be next? Check out our 12D11N Muslim-friendly Iceland itinerary for the adventure of your dreams ?
2. Street Food
If there's one thing that we travellers love to do, it's to try unique local food and Netflix's Street Food lets you go on a gastronomic adventure around the world from your TV screen. It's from the same creators as the highly acclaimed Chef's Table (more on that later!). Featuring street vendors from across 9 countries in Asia, each episode talks about the life of the vendors and how the food they make is a significant part of their lives. From Seoul's Gwangjang Market to the streets of Delhi, Bangkok, Yogyakarta and even Singapore's famous Haig Road putu piring, the sights and sounds will make you feel like you're right there ? P.S. By the way, check out these 13 Muslim-friendly and yummy street food you've got to try in Seoul!
3. Our Planet
If all you need to fuel your wanderlust is a visual feast of nature and wildlife around the world, then let Our Planet take you on that journey. This programme has been said by many to be Netflix's answer to BBC's Planet Earth, even with the same narrator, Sir David Attenborough.
Travel virtually around the world from the Serengeti safari in Tanzania to coral reefs in Raja Ampat, polar bears and penguins in the Arctic and more. The stunning visuals are awe-inspiring (it took 4 years to film!) and if you're wondering how they managed to create this, behind-the-scenes footage are available on Netflix too. The underlying message is how climate change has impacted the lives of all living creatures. Perhaps, it is also a great reminder that we are but a small vessel on this Earth and that beyond our daily lives, the world out there is so much greater than we are and we should strive to protect it ❤️ P.S. Here's why you should travel, according to Islam
4. Conan Without Borders
If you've watched American talk show host Conan O'Brien's late-night show, you'd know he has a knack for cracking jokes. In Conan Without Borders, he brings his sense of humour around the world as he immerses himself in local cultures.
Credit: Team Coco on Facebook It's interesting to see how Conan strikes conversations with locals and in some aspects, it is probably reminiscent of other travel shows you've watched. But what it does differently is that it offers a lighthearted take on breaking barriers and meeting people from other countries. It's not all fun and games though. In some episodes, Conan talks about serious topics with his interviewees but the great thing is that he lightens the mood with his personality.
5. Chef's Table
Before Netflix's Street Food came Chef's Table (both from the same creators), a docu-series in which some of the world's most renowned chefs share their personal stories and inspirations. Through this show, it's even more apparent that food goes beyond survival; it cuts across boundaries and it's the perfect way to get to know a culture better. But if you just need one reason to watch Chef's Table, it'll definitely be how palatable the dishes look and it's a delight to watch the chefs prepare them ?
6. Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father
Credit: Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father on Facebook Never thought of travelling with your parents? Perhaps you will (or won't ?) after watching comedian Jack Whitehall travel with his father, Michael. Both of them go out of their comfort zone and backpack across Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and more. With disagreements that happen so often and a difference in personalities, the show is both funny and relatable. But one thing for sure, it's an eye-opening take on travelling with your parents. P.S. Planning to bring your mom and dad on a trip? Check out these 12 essential tips you need while travelling with your parents!
7. Ugly Delicious
Credit: Ugly Delicious on Facebook If Chef's Table is all about the "pretty" food, you'd most probably be able to tell that Ugly Delicious doesn't really care how the food looks, as long as it's delicious. Hosted (and produced) by renowned Chef David Chang, the show goes beyond the kitchen to find out about the cultural history behind popular dishes like pizza, tacos and barbecued food. It's not just a food show as Chang travels to places like India and the Middle East to challenge the idea of food as we normally know it.
Travel books:
8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
If you need a book to spark your wanderlust, then The Alchemist is a book you need to pick up. The novel follows the story of a young shepherd boy called Santiago from Andalusia, Spain who leaves his comfort zone to find a supposed treasure near the Pyramids. It isn't such an easy road as he faces obstacles along the way but through it all, he discovers himself. With dozens of inspirational quotes, the book teaches you a whole lot about overcoming boundaries and chasing your dreams. P.S. Talking about chasing dreams, why not start by checking these 10 amazing things off your travel bucket list?
9. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love might be a cliche and obvious choice for a travel book but it shows how travel can enrich your life even when you thought that you have everything you needed. This memoir follows author Elizabeth Gilbert's year-long journey to Italy, India and Bali where she sought to find what she really wanted out of life. Her anecdotes of learning Italian and eating the best pizzas in Rome will make you want to visit Italy (after this pandemic, of course!). Not to mention that her explorations and discoveries in India and Bali showed just how much travel heals your soul and inspires you ❤️
10. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
Credit: Matt Baboth on Facebook If you've always been toying with the idea of embarking on a long-term travel adventure but never knew where to start, then Vagabonding is perfect for you. The idea of long-term travel sounds fun but author Rolf Potts dishes out some advice on preparing yourself physically and mentally for a long journey. While the book gives lots of tips on planning for your long-term trip, it also changes your perspective about travelling. It shows that you don't need big bucks to go on a trip as long as you've got a sense of adventure and curiosity. Perhaps, this travel advice is just what you need during this uncertain period. P.S. Here are 10 easy but essential steps to save up for a trip of your lifetime!
11. Lost Japan by Alex Kerr
Yes, we feel you! It's hard to accept the fact that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been postponed and that all cherry blossom festivals have been cancelled ☹️ While travelling to Japan (or anywhere in the world) is a no-go for now, perhaps this is the best time to pick up Lost Japan and rediscover Japanese culture as you've never known before. Author Alex Kerr lived in Japan as a child and grew up to take Japanese Studies before moving permanently to Japan. This deeply personal book reveals a lot about different forms of Japanese culture and how it has slowly vanished with the age of technology. It is both beautiful and poignant, and it definitely makes you understand more about this country that many travellers love. P.S. Transport yourself to Japan with these 7 livestreams and webcams of popular attractions!
12. Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne
This classic tale of adventure and exploring the world never seems to disappoint avid travellers. Set in Victorian England, you won't just be transported around the world but back in time too. The story follows the journey of a wealthy Englishman, Fogg and his servant as they embark on their 80-day adventure. It's fascinating to see how destinations like India, Japan and the US were like in the 1800s and how the spirit of travel had always been present since time immemorial. Together with its unforgettable characters, you'll definitely be living vicariously through this book and reinforce your passion for travelling. With these 12 travel shows and books, we hope you'll still be able to fuel your wanderlust! While travelling is definitely not on the cards right now, a little bit of dreaming and imagination wouldn't hurt ? Time to pick up that remote or book and start travelling from your couches!