The Best TV Shows for Armchair Travel

Generally a passion for adventure and a desire to see the world are qualities that will enrich your life and present you with opportunities you would never have had otherwise. However, what about the days you wish could be exploring but are stuck at home? For me, I find the best antidote to unfulfilled wanderlust can be a good book, movie, or TV show. While I am working on dedicating a section of the All Aboard Beat to book reviews, it’s not complete yet. In the meantime, I’ve uncovered a few great shows I’d recommend to anyone itching for a taste of the rest of the world … from their couch.

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Cuba in 2016

Parts Unknown – In this show produced by CNN, restaurant veteran and chef Anthony Bourdain travels to some of the more obscure parts of the world. Some of his destinations include Thailand, Budapest, Sicily, Iran, Marseilles, Madagascar, and, yes, Cuba. While there is a definite focus on food and booze in the show, he also interviews locals, shares the history of the country, and visits some of the most ancient and beautiful monuments in the world. What I love most about the show is that he often visits places that are not easy to get to, nor close to the top of most travelers’ lists, and in doing so, the show allows you to see places you have always been curious about, but don’t expect to have the opportunity to visit in the near future.

Dessert at Le Bernardin, New York

Avec Eric – Full disclosure: I have not actually watched much of this show yet. However, I have such a strong recommendation, and am so hooked on the host’s food, that I’m recommending it anyway. In the show, world-renowned chef Eric Ripert travels around the world exploring the cuisine and culture of food of the countries he visits. Often, his travels relate to the many parts of the world from which his restaurant sources its magnificent flavors. Later in the show, he often teaches the audience a recipe (while we all dream of becoming the kind of chef he is). His restaurant, Le Bernardin in New York, is one of the best in the country, and has been awarded three Michelin stars. I have actually had the privilege to eat there while visiting last year, and it was the best meal I have ever had. Left, check out one of his incredible desserts, and in the meantime, check out the show.

Flavigny, France

House Hunters International – This show can be a bit of a guilty pleasure, as it certainly falls under the category of reality TV. However, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are seeing areas of the world you never would have, and, if you’re like me, you’ll end up reconsidering where you want to travel next (or maybe buy a vacation home). Between this show and its sister show, House Hunters International Renovation, some of the most interesting locations I have seen lately have been Greenland, Flavigny in France, Serbia, and Mallorca. I’ve found the show offers a unique opportunity to see smaller towns in beautiful countries that are normally overshadowed by their famous capitals. Many of the episodes take place in Europe, which means there are always old, beautiful, and historic buildings to admire. My favorite episodes convert old relics into livable homes; the buyers end up truly living surrounded by history.

What travel books, movies, and shows are your favorites?

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