Can Television Motivate Travel? (Part 1)

Our the tagline for Globetrotter Travel Tips reads “From Couch Sitting to World Spinning.” Which means, we want to get you off the couch and to somewhere else. What if I told you that sitting on the couch and watching television was actually a good first step, and actually helped me get started on my first travel adventure? Using the thing we most often do while sitting on the couch, watching television, in our opinion, is a great motivator for travel when used well. Can television motivate travel? Let me explain my story.

Back in 2008, I was going through a personal life crisis. It sounds dramatic. It was, and I am. My university life was nearing an end, and I had no concrete plans for what I wanted to do with my Philosophy degree. Deep thoughts about being poor seemed to be my destiny. I had a white hot desire to get out of Canada and

A photo of Mr. Belding and I, at about this time in my life.

A photo of Mr. Belding and I, at about this time in my life.

explore, but I had no idea how to even do that. I couldn’t even think of how to get started and off of my couch when my entire world view was consumed with making enough money to survive. Apart from making money, how could I leave this lifestyle? I mean, what else is there other than working a position and living a lifestyle similar to my friends or family? This paradigm was about to be turned upside down when I called my friend Jon over to hang out.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. Jon said to me, “Sure, I’ll come over after dinner. There is this awesome program I want you to see. I think you’ll really like it.” At this time in my life, I was really into motorcycles and dreamt of some day owning one. I’d watch American Chopper into the wee hours of the night. So, Jon came over with his copy of Long Way Down. Jon explained that it was a reality-type travel program where Ewan McGregor (who I loved in Gattaca) and his friend, and actor, Charlie Boorman decide to travel on motorcycles from London, England to New York, USA by driving clear across Europe, Asia, over the Bering Strait through Canada and to NYC. 12 countries in total. I was amazed. It sounded so interesting and had all of the things I was looking for. We started watching it immediately.

Check out the trailer for the show:

(If you would rather read about this, there is also a book ‘Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across The World’)

As we watched I was in awe. It was then that I asked myself a question every person should ask themselves…

Why not me?

What is standing in my way of travelling like this? I might not want to travel by motorcycle, but why am I sitting here watching such an incredible adventure and not having one myself? Ultimately for me at that time, it came down to not having the money, but also not yet having the courage. As Jon and I continued to watch and finish the program over the next while, I knew that the seed of an idea was planted and I would not be able easily avoid the desire to have my own adventure.

Fast forward to the following spring

I had been continuing my university studies and occasionally thinking about my future adventure while also attempting to be reasonable about what I wanted, and what I thought other expected of me. There was a job fair in the gym, and I came upon a booth looking for qualified applicants to teach English abroad. Suddenly, I had the answer to both my money and travel issue by doing both at the same time. With this, I was on my way in my own adventure around the world.

While I may have had the curiosity and interest by visiting the job fair alone, I cannot say that I might have been mentally ready to make such a decision. It is only because I had spent most of my waking moments prior in the headspace of wanting to go on a grand adventure that I was able to make the steps to leave Canada for a long period of time.

So, in our opinion, television can absolutely motivate you to travel. It can give you ideas that you may not have even thought possible, or even the courage to question yourself like I did with the simple question..Why not me? Leave us a response in the comment section!

I urge you to ask yourself this same question, because we should hold ourselves accountable for our own happiness. Prepare yourself for part two of this topic where we will discuss another important type of television show which we continually use to motivate our travel to different areas of the world!

-Happy Globetrotting