Travel Documentaries That Will Inspire You To Travel

By Deepak Kannan on Sep 26, 2016
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Travel takes you to different places, be it physically or mentally. A nice little travel experience helps you refresh yourself from the toxins and opens up your vision to perceive life better. Explore the mysteries of life while you travel through nature's trail. To get you up and moving, there are some beautifully shot travel documentaries around the world that will inspire you and leave you speechless. Discover who you really are and understand the purpose of your life with these 10 exhilarating travel documentaries that take you on a ride you will never forget. Watch, get inspired, and travel!

1. A Map for Saturday


Rated high as one of best travel documentaries in IMDB, A Map for Saturday is filmed around 4 different continents. This 90-minute documentary is a collection of interviews of backpackers who give a real insight into the highs and lows of traveling. Directed by Brook Silva-Braga who quit his job with HBO to travel around the globe, A Map for Saturday reveals the real struggles the travelers have to go through during their loneliest moments and the hard truths of the system we live in. Connect with the emotional side of the travelers and understand why they travel around the world in this impressive documentary that will make you rethink your life's decisions. 

2. Made in Iceland

Hiking through the vast, photogenic landscapes filled with natural hot springs, fjords, glaciers, and deserted trails, Klara Harden takes you through the lengths and breadth of Iceland in this 25-day long solo pilgrimage which is one of the best travel documentaries of 2011. Accompanied by only her 550D Canon camera, Klara Harden should outrun the rabid Arctic fox while she embarks on an incredible journey tracing her way through the majestic Iceland scenery. Join the journey of this solo traveler as she sets on to experience the beauty of the Mother Nature in all its glory. 

3. Tell it on the Mountain

Tell it on the Mountain, follows the journey of seven hikers out of 300 or so hikers who attempt thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail every year. Watch this 2-hour long documentary of resilient hikers who leave behind everything they love and battle their way through the rugged Pacific Crest Trail that extends a whopping 2,663 miles from Mexico to Canada. Faced with bone-dry deserts, torrential rains, ferocious rivers, and snow-covered mountain passes, experience the adventure of the hikers as they set the tone for a nourishing and inspiring finish.  

4. Tracks 

Tracks features the journey of an young women named Robyn Davidson, who goes on a 1,700-mile long trek in the deserts of Western Australia in 1977. Supported by only her four camels and her faithful dog, Diggity, Robyn Davidson sets on a daring journey that tests her determination as she travels from Alice Springs to the Great Indian Ocean - fending off poisonous snakes, enduring the extreme desert temperatures, nursing her camels as they got injured and keeping up with the indigenous people along her journey. Mia Wasikowska reprises the role of Robyn Davidson in this riveting tale that lasted 9 months, making Tracks one of the top draws for being the best documentaries ever created. 

5. The Endless Summer

The Endless Summer is a surfing gem of a documentary from director/narrator Bruce Brown, who has been making surfing documentaries since the late 1950s. The documentary follows surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, as they venture out on a surf trip across the globe - from the coast of South Africa to the enchanting waters of New Zealand and to the islands of Tahiti and Hawaii in search of the perfect wave. Float through this timeless documentary that offers you a deep insight into the surfer culture and the hospitality of the cold ocean currents. An ode to Sun, sand and the waves, The Endless Summer will leave you spellbound and is definitely the best surfing documentaries ever made.  

6. 180 Degree South

180 Degree South captures the journey of an adventurer, Jeff Johnson, as he recreates the epic journey of his heroes, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia with a little twist - instead of driving down the road, Johnson sails his way to Patagonia only to be shipwrecked off the Easter Island. With a burning desire to reach Patagonia, Johnson surfs his way through the sea where he comes in contact with the largest wave in his life. Lined with a striking eco-friendly message that is the need of the hour, the adventure of Jeff Johnson feels complete and is certainly motivating to the viewers. 

7. Touching the Void


Touching the Void is a gripping documentary that portrays one man's fight for survival after a climbing accident that puts him down in a large crevasse in the Peruvian Andes. Following a true story of climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, as they set off to climb the Peruvian Andes which remained unclimbed during the 1980s, Touching the Void sends shivers down the spines as it slowly reveals itself. Witness the incredible journey as it happened in the Peruvian Andes that progresses to a nail-biting finish. Touching the Void will surely fill up the void and reassure your faith in life. 

8. Baraka


Shot in a period of 14 months on 6 different continents involving 24 countries, Baraka is a 90-minute documentary that is a collection of photographed scenes depicting the human emotions, the beauty of nature and the perils of life, as is seen from a kaleidoscope. Devoid of any dialogues or voice overs, Baraka captivates your senses with its amazing display, that was initially shot in a 70 mm Todd-AO and reproduced in an 8K resolution! 'The essence of life', as Baraka translates to, is an impressive ride documented by Ron Fricke and transforms you completely. Don't miss out on this pinnacle of a documentary that is a strong contingent to becoming one of the best travel documentaries of all time.

9. The Fruit hunters


The Fruit hunters from Yung Chang takes you through an exotic journey that is filled with a diverse range of deliciously looking fruits. Starring fruit fanatics, adventure lovers and Hollywood star, Bill Pullman, The Fruit hunters is a dramatic odyssey through history, culture, and geography, offering an inside look at how interwoven the fruit habits of people are. Trek through the wild jungles to understand the intricacies of fruit by listening to fruit cultivators and learn the agricultural transformation that has happened over the years. Your views on food will never be the same after watching this documentary. 

10. Nordfor Sola


Nordfor Sola tells the adventurous story of two youngsters - Inge Wegge and Jorn Ranum, who survived nine months of Norwegian winter in the desolated arctic coast of Northern Norway eating out of thrown away foods from the local store and living in a cabin made of driftwood that washed up on the shores. Left with nothing but faith and their surfboards, witness the youngsters as they struggle to keep their lives intact against the blistering cold and the vast freezing waters of Atlantic Ocean. 

To be honest with you, just writing about these documentaries made me want to travel. I am sure, you will be inspired too! Take that long pending travel of yours and make life wonderful. 
*fb cover pic: nationalgeography  
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