As we approach the long Easter weekend, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, Herald writers offer their recommendations on the best books, TV shows and movies to help keep your travel dreams alive.
This one feels kind of apt right now, as we continue our stint in self-isolation. Tom Hanks gets washed up on a tropical island, with only a volleyball for company. He gets used to and adapts to his situation — learning how to fish, doing daily exercise, collecting water etc — then decides he can't take it anymore and attempts to escape.
Please do not take inspiration from the latter half of the movie though; we are all staying put until lockdown officially ends, okay? Because let's not forget who the first celebrity was to reveal he had coronavirus ... Tom Hanks. Isolation is definitely the better option.
— Stephanie Holmes
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Lost In Translation
A trip to Tokyo last year included an itinerary peppered with some of the film's highlights. So corny, but a couple of karaoke sessions at Karaoke Kan in Shibuya and a classy cocktail or two at the Park Hyatt Hotel's New York bar overlooking the city at sunset were experiences I'll treasure forever.
— Dan Ahwa
Not technically a travel movie, but this film with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet was literally the reason I moved to the UK and lived in a tiny village for a year on my OE. Jude Law sadly did not come knocking.
— Jenni Mortimer
The Darjeeling Limited
Loads of cliches here, but still a stylishly filmed movie from Wes Anderson that highlights the beauty of Indian culture, and takes you on a journey aboard The Darjeeling Limited train.
— Dan Ahwa
Lagom, ubuntu, hygge: How different cultures are coping with lockdown
This adorable French film is about a guy who climbs Everest to impress a girl. The cinematography captures Nepal in such incredible glory I was practically packing my old rucksack by the time the credits started to roll, until I remembered I have a job, and kids.
— Megan Wood
Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre deRoche
This book retells the story of the author meeting a handsome Argentinian man and deciding to sail the world with him. Except she's got no sailing experience, is terrified of the ocean and generally panics and assumes the worst-case scenario at every hurdle. She's the least prepared sailor to undertake this type of circumnavigation, but it makes for a hilarious journey as the couple sail though beautiful destinations and stormy seas - both literal and metaphorical.
— Juliette Sivertsen
Holidays in Hell by P J O'Rourke
Former foreign correspondent of Rolling Stone, satirist O'Rourke toured the world's hell holes in the 1980s. He was, said a publisher, looking for trouble, the truth and a good time. Much of it is hilarious in a "should I really laugh at this" way. I loved it and it was the first of many of his books to stay on my shelves.
— Maureen Marriner
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Great humour and satire, jarringly honest but also laced with wonderful descriptions, great characters and plenty of history as the legend of travel writing attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail.
— Michael Burgess
Michael Palin's North Korea Journal
Who better than a Monty Python Alumni to tell the tale of a country that surely would have a ministry of silly walks if any country was to!
— Ilona Hanne
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
When I've travelled over the last few years, mostly through Asia, I've always made sure to visit one or two places listed in the Atlas. They're always a bit special — a grounded ship in Hong Kong that's been turned into a shopping mall, one of Guangzhou's last traditional medicine markets hiding in plain sight, a shrine in Tokyo to the mythological beast Kappa, where locals leave cucumbers as offerings. They're great for if you want to leave the crowds and queues of the better known tourist destinations behind, and can give you a real insight into the history and culture of a place.
The book — and the ideas that inspire it — really encourage you to look twice at the things you see everyday at home too, things that might be a bit beyond the ordinary to someone who's come from far away.
— Amber Allott
The Beach by Alex Garland
I've read this book about three times and it always conjures memories of desperately wanting to finish 7th form and go on my big O.E. Such a rite of passage for many New Zealanders. The story was my first insight into what it could be like going on a backpacking adventure to one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.
— Dan Ahwa
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
From the sugar plantations of Barbados to the Arctic circle, Canada, London and Morocco, this stunningly written novel takes you on an unforgettable journey around the world.
— Megan Wood
A House in Fez by Suzanna Clarke
My daughter gave me this scrumptious book after I'd spent some time in Morocco. It takes me straight back to a riad in Fez every time I even look at the cover.
Suzanna and her husband — now Australians, but Suzanna used to be a Kiwi — decided to build a life in "the ancient heart of Morocco" so they bought a dilapidated house in Fez and intended to restore it. Everyone thought they were nuts.
It was a wreck — no plumbing, walls about to collapse, buried in a maze traipsed by donkeys. They don't speak Arabic and only had a little French. They wanted to restore the building to its original glory using only traditional craftsmen and handmade products, just as it had been built. And they had to negotiate with craftsmen in another language and another, very different culture.
Her writing is lovely, and you'll find yourself immersed in Moroccan culture and ordinary life.
— Linda Thompson
Inca Kola by Matthew Parris
Crazy adventures of the former British politician and his three companions, on a hiking/backpacking trip through Peru. It sounded like another world, as I read it sitting in suburban Auckland as a teenager, and was one of the first books that sparked a dream to explore South America.
— Michael Burgess
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
If there's one thing that will help change your perspective on the world's current situation, it would probably be leaving planet Earth entirely. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, known for his rendition of Space Oddity filmed from the International Space Station, shares some insightful and unique perspectives on how to think like an astronaut. A key philosophy of his work is to always prepare for the worst-case scenario.
— Juliette Sivertsen
Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd, Gadget Man) is the exact sort of person who should not host a travel show. This is exactly what makes him so damn good at it. Travel Man is best described as an anti-travel show. Don't confuse that with being anti-travel, although Ayoade frequently voices bemusement or dissatisfaction at the various tourist traps he visits. Instead, I mean it's the complete opposite of the typical saccharine nonsense that passes for telly travel.
Not only is it hugely funny, it's also, surprisingly, hugely informative. Ayoade doesn't miss a chance to drop some sweet facts and frequent onscreen pop-ups display the cost of everything, from hotel rooms to haircuts.
Unlike those phonies over on Getaway, Ayoade keeps it real, making this most reluctant TV travel guide the most inspiring of the lot.
— Karl Puschmann
This Netflix documentary is a travelogue by New Zealand filmmaker David Farrier, who sets his sights on the world of dark tourism. From a nuclear lake to a haunted forest, he visits macabre — and sometimes dangerous — tourist destinations around the world.
— Shauni James