Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Art of Travel

The Visitor - magical fantasy travel - art by Anne Vis
My own expertise would be travel through the realms of fantasy, surrealism and magic, but I also like to watch travel documentaries.
It is interesting to see how the topic and approach between some countries in Europe differ when it comes to travel.
The Dutch for instance have as main focus the trade: they promote countries with a (supposedly) sexy presenter who has the adventurous look.
Then you have on the other end the research documentary into the evil on the planet, like what Shell is doing in Nigeria.
The French have an altogether different approach and like to take France and the history of France as their starting point and then like to focus on architectural accomplishments. They can have a documentary for instance on the effects of the arrival of the French in some place on the buildings. Or follow the craftsmen who manufacture details involving the construction of the French cathedrals.
And then the British. I think they probably invented the travel documentary. Starting with Michael Palin to put it permanently on the map. But he was followed by many other great travel reporters. Their strong point is that they are telling a story. It is not just about travel, but there is always a story to get you involved with local people, habits, culture and history. And then I am not even talking about the impressive accomplishments of the travel discovering wildlife all over the planet, which has been made famous by sir David Attenborough. (I haven't quite figured out yet why the Dutch version of Frozen Planet does not have his voice in it any more ...) An area where the Frenchman Jacques Cousteau with his oceanic discoveries cannot be left unmentioned.
One of the reasons I am so happy that all these people show their travels, is that it means that I don't necessarily have to endure the mosquitoes, heat, cold, danger and other uncomfortable stuff, yet still get a chance to see it ... :-)
Neil Oliver, presenter of the Last Explorers, talks about this in an interview on the Stirling Observer. I think it is already the last show that is on BBC 2 tonight.
I only saw the last one about Livingstone in the Zambezi area in Africa ... adventures indeed!

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