Don’t you just love watching documentaries about destinations? Learning about other countries and their citizens, getting inspired for new travel plans. In this blog I share my favorite travel series. Many of them are about Russia, a country that has intrigued me for a long time. But also China, Japan, etc.
This also connects to my article about St. Petersburg.
Ruben Terlou – NL
- Series Langs de oevers van de Yangtze (Along the banks of the Yangtze River, VPRO)
- Series Door het hart van China (Through the heart of China, VPRO)
- Series Chinese dromen (A Chinese dream, VPRO)
- Series De wereld van de Chinezen (The world of the Chinese, VPRO)
Ruben studied Mandarin in China and Medicine in Amsterdam. Before, during and after his studies he was active as a photographer, mainly in China and Afghanistan. He won various prizes with his series.
Ruben lived for quite some years in China and speaks the language very well. The Dutch guy has a great feeling for interviews that make you laugh and cry. The main image of this article is his, really an amazing photo It was made during Ruben’s first television series about the Yangtze River in China.
His second series Door het hart van China (Through the heart of China) is also amazing! Especially the episodes about healthcare and funerals were very special to watch. Thanks Ruben!
Jelle Brandt Corstius – NL
- Series Van Moskou tot Magadan (From Moscow to Magadan)
- Book Van Moskou tot Medan (From Moscow to Medan)
- Series Van Moskou tot Moermansk (From Moscow to Murmansk)
- Series De bergen achter Sotsji (The mountains behind Sotsji)
- Book Rusland voor gevorderden (Russia for the advanced)
- Series Grensland (Border country)
- Book Van Bakoe tot Batoemi (From Bakoe to Batoemi)
- Book Kleine landjes (Small countries)
Jelle is a Dutch journalist who lived in Russia for many years. He made many series and wrote several books, about Russia but also India and traveling in general. His books make me laugh all the time, I have them all. His series made me want to go to Russia. Because he speaks Russian so well, and is able to ask the right questions at the right moment, he is able to have excellent conversations with locals that are enjoyable to watch.
Simon Reeve – GB
- Series Russia with Simon Reeve (BBC)
- Series Simon Reeve’s Australia (BBC)
- Book Step by step – the perfect gift for the adventurer in your life
Simon is a cool, relaxed type of guy. His series about Russia was really nice to watch. I noticed he made a lot more series about many other countries, so I guess we have enough to watch for the next couple of months…
Paulien Cornelisse – NL
Paulien is a writer and makes theatre plays, but she also made a wonderful TV series about Japan called Tokidoki, which means ‘sometimes’ in Japanese. Both the series and her book learned me a lot about Japan. Unfortunately the series only consisted of four episodes. In each episode a different Japanese word is explained, including interviews with locals. The book is very funny too. I recognize her story about being very interested in Japan from an early age.
Arnout Hauben – BE
- Book & series & book De helden van Arnout (The heroes of Arnout, VRT)
- Series Rond de Noordzee (Around the North Sea, VRT)
- Book & series Dwars door België (Straight through Belgium, VRT)
In episode 1 about Joseph Abbeel, Arnout travels to Russia. His travel series is based on historic stories. He follows the path of old books written by his Belgian travel heroes from the past. By doing so he travels through one or more countries, including South Africa, France, USA, Peru, etc. He walks a lot but also hitch hikes or other forms of transport. I liked all episodes of this series, most noteworthy the one he travelled to and trough Mongolia by horse!
Arnout made numerous other series, of which I watched and enjoyed the ones mentioned above. Arnout is a very sympathetic guy who gets into all kinds of conversations along his way. He makes you wnat to go on a hiking trip. And he knows a lot about history, which he easily weaves into his destination stories. Lovely guy, great stories.
Floortje Dessing – NL
- Series Floortje naar het einde van de wereld (NPO, Floortje to the end of the world), various episodes for example on Pyramiden (Russian mineworkers’ village on Svalbard) and Wrangel (Siberian island)
- Series RTL Travel (RTL), episode Floortje tussen de bruine beren op Kamtsjatka (Floortje between the brown bears at Kamtsjatka)
- Book 365 dagen onderweg (365 days on the road)
- Series 3 op Reis (BNNVARA), for example several episodes on Siberia (including Krasnoyarsk, Barnaul, Tura, Bajkonoer)
- Series 3 op Reis (BNNVARA), numerous episodes including the mini series Van de Dam in Amsterdam naar het plein van de Hemelse Vrede in Peking (From Dam Square in Amsterdam to the Square of Heavenly Peace in Bejing, via Moscow)
- Book 100 wereldplekken die je gezien moet hebben (100 places around the world that you must have seen)
Floortje Dessing is THE travel hero for a lot of Dutch people. She is very well known, as she made a lot of travel series for Dutch TV. She also wrote a couple of travel books. Not sure how many countries she visited, but it’s really a lot (150+ I think). Those mentioned above are just a glimpse of what she made, but all worth watching and reading!
September 1, 2021 Floortje’s new book 50 inzichten na 25 jaar reizen (50 insights after 25 years of traveling) will be available.
Tom Waes – BE
Tom loves traveling to unknown, somewhat extreme countries, such as Venezuela, North Korea, Vanuatu, Bangladesh, Georgia, etc. He also went to Pyramiden, a Russian village on Spitsbergen. This guy is always fun to watch. Although not all destinations in his series are suitable for tourism in my opinion.
Jimmy Doherty – GB
- Series Jimmy Doherty’s Escape to the Wild (Channel 4)
Jimmy is originally a farmer and he is Jamie Oliver’s best pal. In Escape to the Wild he visits British couples who live in very remote places around the world. Very cool! Similar to the earlier mentioned Floortje to the end of the world.
Joanna Lumley – GB
Joanna is a retired model who made several TV series, also about on India and Japan. Her way of speaking annoys me sometimes (sorry), but I really liked her Trans-Siberia train series! It was also really cool she reshot a photo in the Moscow metro she made decades before as a model.
What a travel heroes, what a job to do! I know how great it looks, but I also know from personal experience how hard it can be to travel for work constantly. As a consequence, I have a lot of respect for these people. And yes, they make such unique trips, it’s really great to watch!
Which travel series did you see? Any recommendations of travel series that I missed in this blog?
In addition, a happy picture of me in Moscow…
You may also be interested to read my article Three world-class travel photographers that inspire me to travel.
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Last Updated on 03/09/2021 by Elisa Flitter Fever