Travel on Your Couch

It has been so cold and gray and slush-filled in Chicago recently that I’ve barely wanted to leave my couch. Fortunately, this doesn’t need to prevent me from traveling. The Internet is too broad a destination, so let’s focus in on one corner of it: Netflix Instant’s travel documentaries.

I am a huge sucker for the educational and historical documentary, so I’m excited to dive into all twelve hours of Ken Burns’s documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. I can and do quibble about many things about the United States, but the fact is, it’s a gorgeous country with a huge variety of environments and natural features. For years, my travel has been focused mainly internationally, so I think this series will be a good reminder to me of everything that I can see right here at home.

The Greatest Places is a movie about, as one might guess, the greatest places in the world, as determined by director Mal Wolfe, I guess, also known for… some documentaries about sharks? Also, this one was meant to be viewed in IMAX, so it’s probably not going to look its best on my tiny laptop. So even though Iguazu Falls is included, I may take a pass.

I’m not quite sure how Michael Palin made the decision to transition from surrealist clown in Monty Python to world explorer, but transition he has. He’s circumnavigated the globe and gone pole to pole, and on Netflix Instant, you can also find the series he did about the Himalayas and New Europe. Also, A Fish Called Wanda, if you’re so inclined.

Speaking of following strange Brits around, Stephen Fry in America is also available for streaming on Netflix Instant, in which he crosses the country in six episodes. He’s an intelligent, curious, and hilarious guide. It won’t necessarily reveal anything new to you about our country, but it might give you some insights into what people from other countries think about us. And it’s not all bad!