When I’m at home at the best of times, I long for travel. But that’s nothing compared to the feeling I have right now, when it’s not even possible to travel out of my front door: I crave travel. That feeling of freedom to wander, new experiences, new people, new cultures, new food.
Never again will I take travel for granted. Whilst good travel books provide some relief, there are YouTubers out there producing some incredible content that can make you feel like you’re out there too, not here, avoiding outside human contact.
In no particular order here are five YouTube travel channels deserving of your time:
1. Mark Wiens
Mark has lived in Bangkok for years, and has so much information on what and where to eat in Thailand. In recent years he has branched out beyond Thailand and now regularly travels around the world seeking the best food and vlogging about it. Mark’s videos are well-produced, given that – as far as I am aware – he does all the editing himself. You’ll find his expressions hilarious and endearing as he bites into the food, and you’ll also find yourself drawling as you almost taste the food on the screen in front of you.
If you travel for food, as Mark does, I would strongly recommend you watch his videos. Also, for street-food recommendations and more, check out his excellent blog: Migrationology.
2. Ras Kitchen
A few years back, Canadian national and film-school graduate Matt, with a passion for the food, music, and culture, bought a bunch of camera equipment to take over to Jamaica. It was in the foothills of the Blue Mountains that he met Mokka who lives a Rastafarian lifestyle with his extended family. Taking an interest in Ras Mokka’s traditional Ital cooking and Rastafarian living, Matt began making films, initially with the view to pitching them to a TV network. In the end, he found YouTube worked better, enabling him to retain creative control over the content. The results are awesome.
If you’re looking for some time to kick back, relax and forget about troubles of the modern world, this it what you should watch. Open up a cool Red Stripe, and prepare to be transported to rural Jamaica. You can also stay with Ras Mokka at his bungalows – something I hope to do soon.
3. Sailing Kittiwake
In May 2017, Elena and Ryan quit the rat-race, bought a yacht, and set sail from Falmouth, England. They’ve been sailing ever since, spending most of their time in the Mediterranean, now having just crossed the Atlantic and arrived in the Caribbean. Their films document life onboard, everything from what it’s like to sail through rough seas to mundane tasks. It’s a good break from city life, and they make you feel like you’re there with them.
Even if you’re not that into sailing, you’ll still enjoy the escapism. Personally, they’ve inspired me to buy a boat, one day.
4. Strictly Dumpling
Similar to Mark Wiens, Chinese-born American Mikey Chen’s motivation for travel is food, and he never seems to stop eating. Where ever Mikey travels, he seeks out the very best street-food or local restaurants, and documents it all on YouTube. As well as food, he’ll also give you a walk around the destinations, usually filming himself, talking to the camera like an old friend. He started very much Asia-focused but these days travels the world, covering some fairly off-the-beaten-path, as well as some more familiar places.
If once lockdown is over, you’re planning on travelling to any of the places he’s been to, and want some food tips, watch his videos. But equally, if you just want to feel immersed in the food of these countries, have a watch, and you’ll eventually be addicted.
5. Paolo from Toyko
One of the most enthusiastic YouTubers you’ll find, Paolo has lived in Japan for years, and documents every aspect of life there. He dives into each video with a big smile, and tells you everything and anything you’d like to know about life in Japan. My favourite are his ‘Day in the life of’ series where he shadows and documents a typical day of a particular worker. Something like this could be boring, but the way it is produced and edited, it is far from that. It’s fascinating, and almost soothing to watch.
If you’re interested in Japanese society, check this one out. It may well be your catalyst to travelling there.