11 Awe Inspiring Travel Documentaries

For those with a curious nature, documentaries are a way of living. And I especially mean this for travelers. The explorers, the free willed men & women of the world end up spend hours trying to capture their journey’s essence & beauties through the lens. For those who’ve thought documentaries are just plain boring, I reckon these films can change your perception…for good. They have been made with a lot of heart & of course, unforgivably back-breaking dedication & patience to do something no one else will probably dare to.

Here’s a list of 11 awe inspiring & thought provoking travel documentaries that will make you want to leave home (in no particular order)

  1. Between Home- Odyssey of an unusual sea bandit:

When the young, Nick Jaffe living in Berlin decided to sail solo from UK to Australia, treading the waters of Pacific & Atlantic Oceans, no one really thought he would actually be crazy enough to do it. Guess what? He did it and he also made a film while at it. An exciting, brave & poetic adventure documentary that captures two years worth of footage of Nick on a boat is scintillating in every unique way. Of the 3 travel documentaries I bought this year, this one will stay. A must watch for those who’ve wondered where the spirits of travelers lie. This is it, Between Home.

Watch the trailer:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jxed78H5KA">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jxed78H5KA</a>

You can also buy the film here

2.     Made In Iceland:

Iceland is beautiful, we all know it. But no one can see through the beauty of it like Klara Harding probably did. Her proof is the self made short travel documentary, shot over a 25 day solo-hike in Iceland. It captures the magical mists of Icelandic landscapes, the glaciers, the . The journey as you can imagine must have been tough (the fear of being prey to a rabid Arctic Fox) but the final result of it was a wonderful documentary, all shot on foot by herself. Why it’s important for this film to be on this list is because Karen did this without the help of any friends or family, with a Canon 550D and did not miss a single beautiful moment that was worth putting on film. Realizing that a car traveling at 70 kmph will reach the same destination as hers in 1 hour, for what will take her 3 days is not really a morale booster. But then, where’s the fun of it all. Her message: “Pack your stuff, buy that ticket and live, explore, discover! It’s always worth it!

Watch the film:

3.     Love Madrid:

More like a colorful clip of sights & sounds of Madrid than a full fledged documentary, Love Madrid is true to it’s title. It’s about love, Madrid & everything else that makes the city’s visitors fall in love with it. I strictly believe if a a travel documentary can steal the spirit & sense of a city’s culture, history & it’s inhabitants, it’s a celluloid success. Love Madrid get’s just that without being pretentious. Shot superbly with a Panasonic GH-1 & featuring the timeless classic, Shree 420’s “Mera Juta Hai Japani” played by a street entertainer on an accordion, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to be on the next flight there. You can follow the makers on Twitter: @

Watch/Download the film:

4.  National Geographic Megastructures Angkor Wat:

National Geographic’s Megastructures was always a mesmerizing montage of splendidly shot details of some of the biggest man-made structures across the globe. One of the best episodes of the series I have caught till date is the one based on the largest Hindu temple complex & largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat (even bigger than any European cathedrals). The temple was built in 12th century by King Suryavarman II & has attracted massive groups of tourists from all over the world after being declared a World Heritage Site. It has survived for centuries & has a breathtaking historical significance. This free online documentary explores the art & science of the ancient structure which is soon losing itself in the forests of Cambodia. A must watch!

Watch the film:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvqqja0r-pg">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvqqja0r-pg</a>

5.     Flying with Vultures- Path Into The Future

Flying with Vultures is a magnificent look into one the flamboyance of one of the rarer species of vultures, Cape Vultures. There are no more than 2900 pairs of these birds left all over the world. Two paragliders decide to take this trip in South Africa to feel & better understand how it must be actually fly with them. This one will leave you wanting more, not to forget another excuse to take that long awaited paragliding trip. Breathtaking!

Watch the film:

6.     Tobias- A World Traveler Since 3 Years

Tobias’s short travel documentary shows us what it really means to be a free traveler. Tobias has been living out of his backpack for the past 3 years, covering everything from Denmark to Thailand, Poland, Indonesia & a ton of other sweet spots. How does it really feel to be baggage free and be on the road, hotels, tents & sometimes even couches. Tobias and his friend, Steve shot this travel documentary during his couchsurfing days in Poland & Ukraine.

Watch the film:

7.   Discovery Atlas: Brazil Revealed

If you want to taste Brazil in a unbiased & strong flavor, you need to sit and watch this film. It not only highlights the common clichés of Brazil like soccer, shanty towns & beaches, but also focuses deeply on what the foreign tourists love about the one of the most wanted party capitals of the world.  The travel documentary also gives an overall perspective of the average Joe survives there. Watch this one for the picturesque scenes from many parts of Brazil.

Watch the film:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL6B1EAFF7342E06DF&v=33cV9fjiVbQ">http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL6B1EAFF7342E06DF&v=33cV9fjiVbQ</a>

8.    Kilimanjaro: To the roof of Africa

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and documentary film maker David Breashears after making Everest thought there was no way he could not get down to shooting this one. A group of hikers (aged 12 to 64) are led by a local mountain guide who shows to them the beautifully striking landscapes during various passing climates. One of the most well made and produced travel documentaries you will ever find. Armchair traveling at its best, Kilimanjaro promises to deliver a spellbinding experience you never thought you could catch at home. Do not miss it!

Watch the film (Part 1):

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzKcnP_CoQ0">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzKcnP_CoQ0</a>

9.   A Life In Japan

A Life in Japan is an extraordinary, independent film made by a Finnish filmmaker who dives deeply into the lives of people living in Japan. The film rather than focusing entirely on Japan’s economic success touches upon the personal experiences of the foreign residents who have actually lived in the country since decades. The view of the island nation is left upto the audiences to derive instead of shoving down the throat, Japan’s cultural attitudes. Great insights for anyone willing to relocate to Japan.

Watch/Download the film:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prNYOW0_kms">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prNYOW0_kms</a>

10.         Into The Wind

Into The Wind is Chris Page’s masterpiece that managed to stir quite a buzz at the time of it’s release among enthusiastic paragliders. A year long tale of paragliding adventures shot in panoramic locations of Colarado, Florida, Texas & Mexico, you get to see everything from the eyes of a man who hung in the air. The documentary is a take on the self journey of two new pilots who take up the challenge to learn paragliding. What kept me glued is the beautiful cinematography and unforgettable soundtrack & wittiness. Mark this one for a must have!

Watch the trailer:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3QAqTRWfPE">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3QAqTRWfPE</a>

11.      Sacred Planet

You can only imagine what it must be like when Walt Disney Pictures plans to make an itinerary for you to see the world’s most awesome places in flat 40 minutes. It’s a spectacle indeed. With narration by Robert Redford, this is a breathtaking journey across the globe, shot aesthetically that can provoke any armchair traveler to take a sabbatical & run for the wild. Preachy at times, Sacred Planet at its best is visually entertaining & thought provoking.

Watch the trailer:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-90AO5zNvI">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-90AO5zNvI</a>

My advice:  If any of these films, leave you even a little mesmerized, plan a trip instantly. And if you’re living in India, we at Camp Roxx could pretty much do the vacation trick.

These films were handpicked because these & a few more were the only films I could catch in my country. I would love to hear back from you on the ones that I might have missed out. Feel free to share thoughts or comments.

2 Comments to “11 Awe Inspiring Travel Documentaries”

  1. Avi says : Reply

    You missed the best one – A Map for Saturday!

    1. Sameer Gupta says : Reply

      Thanks! That goes up on the list then. 🙂

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