Monday, March 30, 2015

What We've Been Watching: The Long Way Round ... and Down

We've been really enjoying a couple of travelogue style documentaries starring well known actor Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman. Both motorcycle enthusiasts, they came up with the idea of  a round-the-world trip.

Thus was born The Long Way Round. They set off from London, traveled through Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia, over to Alaska, through Canada, North America and finished in New York. They took the Road of Bones in Siberia and saw wildfires in Alaska. When they could, they camped. Often they were welcomed into local homes. They also stopped often at Unicef projects and it was fascinating to see the many ways they help people around the world

In some ways this is similar to the Michael Palin trips which we've enjoyed watching over the years. However, you see this trip behind the scenes from the beginning of soliciting support through the cameraman not having his permits through support vehicles bogging down during floods. It feels a lot more real when you see a country "fixer" fretting to get them through customs after an 8 hour wait.

Naturally after we finished this we were happy to see that McGregor and Boorman had since taken another long trip, this time The Long Way Down from John O'Groats, Scotland to the tip of South Africa.

As in any such trip you see many aspects of Africa that make you feel closer to a place that is so far away and so very different. I have to say that I've never been particularly interested in Africa as a travel destination but after this I'd love to go to Botswana and Rwanda to see the animals.

Naturally a good deal of the fun is in getting to know Ian and Charley as they face challenges and rejoice in triumphs.

This is showing on Netflix and I know they have dvd sets for sale on their site (links are above).

I've love to see The Long Way go through Latin America. Fingers crossed!

Thanks to our friends Kim and Mike for turning us onto these great series. I'd have hesitated to bring these up since the trips took place several years ago except we've found that no one we mentioned it to has heard of it either. So I'm passing the word along ...

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