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Filmmakers have been documenting our beautiful planet for decades by allowing us to get a glimpse of places we might not get the chance to visit. If you have a need for wanderlust but don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your own couch, check out these six travel documentaries. From Antarctica to Thailand, there’s a globetrotting film to pique your curiosity about the world around you.
"A Map for Saturday" (2007)
Pull out your (virtual) backpack and voyage alongside budget travelers of all ages as they roam across four continents. “A Map For Saturday” explores the intense relationships formed when wandering. The film documents happiness and heartbreak in hostels and the adventurous friendships that might last a lifetime or pass on the next train. From helping tsunami victims in Thailand to running red lights in Rio, Emmy award-winning producer Brook Silva-Braga shares the stories of 26 long-term solo travelers.
"Antarctica: A Year on Ice" (2013)
This award-winning documentary will make you thankful for sunny days. For the scientists and crews working in Antarctica, clear skies and sunshine aren’t common. Visually arresting with time-lapse photography, "Antarctica: A Year on Ice" transports viewers to the bottom of the globe at the most isolated and extreme location on Earth.
“Expedition Happiness” (2017)
Filmmaker Felix Starck made his mark with the documentary “Pedal the World” by piloting his bike through 22 countries. In “Expedition Happiness,” he joins his girlfriend, singer Selima Taibi, and their Bernese mountain dog Rudi on the ultimate road trip. They travel from Alaska to Mexico in a converted school bus. From visa problems to drug cartels, the couple encounter wildlife and characters aplenty along the open road.
What were you dreaming of at age 15? New Zealand teenager Laura Dekker was determined to circle the world alone in a 40-foot sailboat. After a court battle, the brave teenage girl set off for a 518-day odyssey — braving storms and dodging pirates. The documentary “Maidentrip” recounts her incredible voyage.
"Christiane Amanpour: Sex & Love Around the World" (2018)
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour lifts the covers on bedroom behavior in this six-episode docuseries exploring the carnal side of life in Berlin, Tokyo, Shanghai, Delhi, Beirut, and Accra. From topics ranging from hymen repair surgery to the hierarchy of wives, mistresses, and girlfriends, this globe-spanning series gives a new meaning to the term wanderlust.
“America Wild: National Parks Adventure” (2016)
On a more wholesome but no less thrilling note, Robert Redford narrates this 2016 love letter to mark the 100th anniversary of America’s amazing national parks system. Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and more are explored with stunning IMAX photography. If you don’t already own a National Parks Pass, this documentary will push buying one to the top of your agenda.
Featured Image Credit: ocvisual/ Unsplash