A nomad wades through the waters on a sandy beach, picks up a stick and draws a large, near-perfect circle in the sand. The camera lifts off from the flaming circle with a rousing soundtrack to introduce a radiating globe and inviting one to explore. That in a nutshell is what viewers would vividly remember of the programme ‘Globe Trekker‘.
Recently, I got a chance to walk down memory lane when Lonely Planet launched its first-ever travel only TV platform. Re-runs of such classic shows with adventures, breathtaking visuals, and unique insights remain the hallmark of the programme.
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For many of us in India during the late 90s and early 2000s, that viewers experienced lifestyle and travel programming via satellite TV channels like Discovery. It became a window to the world. The textures, colours, sounds, and cultures all came gushing through the television sets into our living rooms. A heady mix of epic programmes covering remarkable cities from one corner of the earth to the other. The fear of the unknown gradually eroded. The imaginary “us and them” felt needless. The more you watched these shows, the more you realised that all humans are the same and craved for the same; liberty, freedom, respect, love, compassion, gratitude, pride in one’s culture, and extending warmth and hospitality to any stranger one encounter. Be it the Andes or Zanzibar. People essentially are the same.
The programmes created one common fraternity of an aspirational, intrepid traveller wanting to spread the cheer. And of course, live to tell a tale of adventures and experience that came out of travelling.
With the reintroduction of these epic shows, Lonely Planet is providing some succour to the restless traveller stuck at home during the quarantine. The jumpy rides, the canted shots, the racing highways, the grainy and sepia-coloured visuals transport you to the destination you had always dreamt of visiting. The presentation is relaxed, casual and a friendly banter draws you in instantly. Guess why most of the shows and its presenters bonded so well with a global audience. They excelled in bringing the travel experience with simplicity and soulful narration. That quintessentially is travelling without any baggage.
Amidst all this, little did one realise, Lonely Planet silently spread a global pandemic that caused itchy feet and bug-bites that mysteriously induced fearless travel. The vaccine still seems unknown to fight this pandemic. However, people only seem to be willing to suffer long bouts of it.
Lonely Planet – more than ever before we need you to reassure, reclaim, enlighten, energise and provide a sagely and comforting vantage point to suspend all our biases and judgments and see the world, its people and culture, all as ONE.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.