I like to watch travel shows on TV. Globe Trekker is a favorite, especially with Ian Wright or Zay Harding as the travel guides.

 These congenial hosts bring you along on their adventures to remote parts of the world. You can imagine yourself hiking up a mountain in Switzerland or trekking in Patagonia. Useful facts and amusing side trips add to the viewing experience.

I also like cooking shows with travel included as part of the episode. When I watch Pati’s Mexican Table, I may not make the recipes that Pati Jinich is demonstrating in her home kitchen, but I do enjoy watching her travel to small Mexican towns. We get to see local chefs cooking in their rustic kitchens. I’ve learned a lot about different varieties of chili peppers, as well as tiny beachfront towns that tourists have not yet discovered. 

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For a culinary travel experience of a completely different kind, I enjoy watching New Scandinavian Cooking. Affable host, Andreas Viestad, takes viewers to locations in Norway to see where the ingredients are grown or caught. Breathtaking views of fjords, lush green valleys and quaint villages are on display since Andreas always cooks outdoors. He may be cooking on a portable grill or stovetop set up on a windy dock by the sea or on a rocky outcrop. I am rarely tempted to try any of these recipes but I am tempted to grab a sweater since many of these excursions are in cold and windy locations.

Another travel-oriented show that I often watch on PBS is called Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozi. Mickela is an American dancer who likes to travel to different locations across the U.S. and around the world to learn ethnic and popular dance styles. I particularly enjoyed the episode on Uzbekistan. The sightseeing included gorgeous examples of 15th century Islamic architecture. The blue mosaic tiles and vibrant colors of the ancient buildings and pottery were beautiful. Mickela sampled the national lamb and rice dish, plov, but her main focus was on learning some of the folk dances and wearing the colorful regional costumes for a dance performance.

Recently, my friend, Ellen, called to tell me that she just returned from a 27-day trip to South America. “South America!” I exclaimed in surprise. My momentary travel envy got the better of me and I snarkily asked, “But did you go to Easter Island?”

“YES!” replied Ellen. “We stayed there for three nights!”

Easter Island is one of my favorite someday-I’d-like-to-go-to dream destinations. I have read extensively about the Moai statues on Easter Island going all the way back to my days as a Creative Writing/Anthropology double major in college.

Ellen explained that the three-day trip to Easter Island was an add-on to her organized adventure vacation trip to Brazil, Argentina and Chile. She told me in detail about her vacation itinerary. I could picture each stop from episodes of Globe Trekker. “No one knows how the Moai got to their positions around Easter Island,” she said.

“Yes, they do!” I answered. I had watched a PBS documentary where archeologists tried to figure out how those massive stone statues were moved from the quarry sites where they were carved to various locations around the island. Oral histories told of seeing the Moai “walking.” Archeologists finally succeeded in moving a large stone Moai by using three long ropes tied around the stone head and shoulders. Three groups of team members pulled and tugged on the ropes to slowly move the tall statue across the ground. This jerking forward motion actually made the giant Moai statue look like it was “walking.”  Ellen’s guide hadn’t told her that! 

Kim Kovach appreciates the convenience of armchair travel. www.kimkovachwrites.com