If you’re like me, and I assume you are since you’re reading my blog, you spend a lot of time watching travel shows. Since those of us with limited vacation times and budgets can’t always be on vacation, it’s nice to live vicariously through the tube sometimes.
It seems like there are a million travel shows, basically appealing to a lot of different demographics. You’ve got the cool no bs guy in Anthony Bourdain, the mentally insane adventure guy in Bear Grylls, the educational guy in Rick Steves, and of course the nerd trying to be cool in Samantha Brown (no offense, Samantha, but you know its true). Then, in my favorite category (can you sense the sarcasm dripping from my fingers) the 10 best beaches, 10 best luxury hotels, 10 best mountains, 10 best trailer parks, you get my drift.
What I personally enjoy in a travel show is a sense of realness. I like the off the beaten path, seeing the locals, eating the real food, because let’s face it, there are very few spots in the world that are all rainbows and butterflies all the time. When I travel, I want to see something cool, something different, something I can’t get spending a Sunday afternoon with the Travel Channel and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
Unfortunately, I find that hard to get a lot of the times. One of the reasons why I love Bourdain’s No Reservations is that he’s not afraid to show the grimy, or really interact with the locals. Generally finding the best food in the most grimy and local people jam-packed places.
Let’s face it, most of us know how we like to travel, some people never want to go to South America, or Arkansas, or Thailand, or Spain, and that’s totally cool, remember the mantra, do you. So, for myself personally, I use shows as a tool to mentally check out some places, or subtract off my list.
One of the new shows out there I love is called An Idiot Abroad. It’s on the Science Channel of all places, but the basic premise is Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant send their friend Karl Pilkington to see the 7 Wonders of the World. What I like about the show, I find it refreshingly honest.
Sure they send him on strange side trips and hilarious antics ensue, but the fact of the matter is, Karl is a normal guy, he likes where hes from (England), he has a comfort zone, and isn’t always thrilled to get pushed out of it. The show exposes the not so bright parts of traveling some places. Which isn’t at all to say someone shouldn’t go there, but some people like a little bit of a heads up before they head off on a trip.
What I like most about the show is that its not all shinny pictures from travel brochures, you see real people, living life in their countries, which is what I find to be the best experience of all.
Picture courtesy of the Science Channel.