I have a confession. I’m a TV junkie! As much as I love to travel, I love channel surfing equally. Predictably, I am always looking for shows that bring me somewhere around the world on a guided tour. I grab my remote and my Listography book and go destination dreaming. It used to be rather easy in the early days of the Travel Channel to digitally travel the globe. But these days it seems like ghosts and ridiculous scandalized history fill up the time slots there and you’ve got to search the channel listings elsewhere. Where does one go to calm their inner traveler? Where can you go to ensure that you are still educating yourself as a global citizen? The most surprising place these days is that rock of television education, PBS.
You may not have checked on PBS since your Sesame Street Days or you may think that the only thing you will find for adults is historical British drama on Masterpiece, but, trust me, there’s more. PBS has developed a wonderful lineup of travel related shows to inspire you to book your next trip to places you’ve never dreamed of. Check out some of these gems:
CBS journalist Peter Greenberg has been traveling the globe for years and seems to do it in a fearless manner. He has that wandering Gypsy spirit feel and digs beyond the surface in the places he visits. While he’s done a few other series (just google him for a full list), The Royal Tour has an interesting take on each country as he tours with the head of state. Check out Poland, Rwanda, and Ecuador with more to come. Peter has several series so it’s worth searching out other shows like Travel Detective.
Mickela is here to show you how much she loves dance. Mickela is also a travel junkie like the rest of us. Bare Feet take those two ingredients and shakes them together to create a frothy mixture of traditional dance and interesting locals from around the world. I am a particular fan of the series of shows that she follows her own DNA across the globe. Talk about following your inner traveler!!!!
The world’s happiest traveler has cut ties with the Travel Channel and shaken hands with PBS. Her new show gives her a travel freedom like never before as she weaves destinations both here and abroad simply because they are a place to love. The show has turned her into a host that doesn’t just tour the hotel rooms and hit the top sites but, instead, works to relate to the local people and create lasting memories. Just what everyone’s inner traveler needs! Jumping channels may be the very best thing she has done for her career and the TV loves her. So do I. From New Orleans to New Zealand and Baltimore to Shanghai, you’ll be inspired to love these places as much as she does.
The king of the European travel guide is here to help you every step of the way with his long running series. Rick;s pragmatic view of Euro life and his no nonsense approach to seeing it all will have you packed for Normandy to see D-Day beaches and Norway to cruise fjords in equal measure. He’s been to almost every nook and cranny and has a cult-like following. You will easily spot Americans in Europe with their tell-tale blue and yellow guide books leading them every step of the way. His show is a great capsule look into each Euro destination you can think of. Watch, plan, travel. It couldn’t be easier.
If you have done so already, you may be yearning to trace your family’s genetic history. Henry Gates, Jr. is your host as he explores the backgrounds of some high profile guests. Get ready for them to meet surprise after surprise in this incredibly important series. If you need inspiration to get yourself back to the fatherland or the motherland, look no further! Henry and company will have you finding those roots in no time. Of equal help is TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? Which is co-produced by season 1, episode 1 star Lisa Kudrow from Friends fame. This show is more travel minded as celebrities track down their roots across the globe.
While all of these shows are tailor made for adults, what would TGC be if we didn’t have something for the kids? So, here is our bonus pick that’s just right for the younger set to develop their inner traveler (but you don’t have to take my word for it.)
Reading Rainbow with LeVar Burton
You may need to read no further because you are already singing the theme song. I get it! What I didn’t get when I was little was this show’s undeniable commitment to our kids. And making sure those kids have an understanding of their planet. From culture to science, LeVar and company strung together shows with books that helped kids understand one essential thing- humanity. This show is far ahead of it’s time and, once you get past the super 80’s shorts, never fails to bring kids to a new level of understanding. So, take a look, it’s in a book 🎶🎵🎶. Reading Rainbow is where it’s at! Honorable mention goes to the newer series, Between The Lions, for carrying on LeVar’s book legacy.
Note: I would provide a link to a dedicated web page but Reading Rainbow is available (free or a small charge) through most carriers. Start with YouTube.