Dive deep to discover shipwrecks in the ocean depths, travel by train through a snowy winter wonderland, explore a supermarket, and feel the infinite hum of the universe itself… All from the comfort of your home with a slow TV tour!
Everybody and their dog is now doing a how to travel without leaving home article. My dog wasn’t very helpful. His claws are too long for typing and he seems to much prefer sleeping or food. I have to admit his life goals are on point but that isn’t helpful when blogging.
So while I am writing a “how to travel without leaving home and your very comfortable sofa and a dog that refuses to help you write blogs post” – I aim to do things a little differently. I’ve always been attracted to the path less travelled. I have a taste for the unconventional and an appetite for the odd. Sure, I love the big grand attractions too because they are famous and popular for good reasons, but there is so much joy to be found in the small and unnoticed or unregarded. For example, I love supermarkets in other countries!
So let’s travel different and take the path less travelled. Why tread the same old pathways? Shouldn’t we seek out the new? There is much joy to be found off the beaten tracks, the nooks and crannies, between the spaces, between the moments. It’s not so much the place but the eyes that see. It’s often the journey and not the destination.
So the places we go to today are a celebration of the unique extraordinary ordinary. We won’t be visiting any famous spots. The videos in this post are known as “slow TV.” A genre that originated in Norway but the popularity of slow TV has since spread around the world. What is slow TV? Wikipedia describes it as:
Many of the slow tv videos are hours long. “Nothing” really happens in these films. People find deep meditative relaxation in the videos. They promote a sense of calm. Slow TV reminds us to slow down, relax, and find beauty in everyday life. Originally made by TV companies the genre has found popularity on YouTube and you can find many examples for yourself. If you’re interested to know more you can read the full Wikipedia article about Slow TV genre.
Slow TV is perfect for travel without leaving home. There is no narration. There are only the sights and the sounds. There is only the journey. It is really the next best thing to being there. You can take a trip anywhere in the world. So let’s not waste time. Are you ready?
Let’s explore this amazing world! Let’s take a trip and go on a slow TV tour.
Let’s go for a walk…
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—– Robert Frost.
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference“.
Probably the best way to explore any city is with your feet. When I travel, I always make sure to spend some days just walking around with no real plan. I love to get lost in the streets and watch the tide of life ebb and flow. Without a destination, we are open to surprises that life might give us.
There are many videos on YouTube dedicated to just walking. There’s no distracting commentary or jump cuts only the sights and sounds of a walk through another city, another time, another place. These videos are the next best thing to being there. There is a meditative bliss to be found in these films. I find them so relaxing.
Japan: walking in snowy Saitama
Let’s go walking through the snow in Saitama, Japan. There’s something very wonderful and magical about the snow. Don’t you think? It always brings out the big kid in me and I want to rush out and play in it. I love this video. The snowflakes fall thick and fast as we walk from Kotesashi station, full of urban hustle and bustle, then along through parks to reach some beautiful lakes.
UK: Stroll along the canal
I might be biased but I love London. It’s one of my favourite cities. But I would urge any visitor to get away from the well worn and famous sites in the centre. Some of the very best things are found on the fringe. Sure, see those famous attractions but don’t spend all your time there. One of my favourite things is to stroll amiably along by the water beside London’s rivers and canals. In that spirit, let’s take a walk along Regent’s Canal.
China: A rainy walk in Chongqing
We walk the densely packed tropical urban jungle that is Chongqing. The rain falls steadily and provides a wet splash backbeat to the street life ambient sounds of beeping cars and the patter of chattered mandarin. This is a really unique cityscape and feels like something from a SF movie. So let’s explore the rainy streets of Chongquing
Japan: A walk through the streets
Let’s go walking in Tokyo Kamata which is just an average neighbourhood on the edge of Tokyo. There are no neon lights or famous landmarks. Let’s see an ordinary Japanse town. The sun is shining in a blue sky. It’s such a nice day to walk the streets of Tokyo.
Let’s go for a bike ride…
“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.”~ John Howard.
I hope you enjoyed walking those streets. Now for something a little faster? A car is too quick and we are closed away from the environment. We can’t feel the wind in our face and the world around us is gone in a blink. Even a tour bus is full of distracting chatter and yet still too fast. No. Let’s travel different. Let’s go for a bike ride…
Mexico: Bike Vs. Traffic
First, we take an exciting bike ride through Mexico City. A city of colours and confusion. It’s so vibrant and alive. One of those cities that always seems to be on the edge of chaos yet never tips over the edge. We fly past grand buildings and elaborate churches. We weave and snake through traffic – order in chaos. Let’s take a bike ride through Mexico City
Japan: Relaxing ride though Nogata
For something a little more relaxing it’s back to Tokyo, Japan. It’s summertime. The warm air is full of the singing of cicadas. The neighbourhood of Nagata is an average residential area. The afternoon is peaceful and bright. Let’s go by bike through Tokyo.
Indonesia: Racing through Jakarta
We tear through the humid palm lined streets of Jakarta. Vast roads choked with traffic and tropical heat. Follow if you dare… Bike ride through Jakarta.
Russia: Winter ride in Moscow
Let’s take a winter bicycle ride through Moscow, Russia. The bike rides through the winter landscape of snow and ice in a frozen winter city. There are monumental buildings and parks buried deep in snow. It’s really interesting to see. I’m not sure how I would feel riding in the ice and snow. How about you?
Let’s go for a boat ride…
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking…”– Sea Fever by John Masefield.
Next in our slow tv trip, it’s time to slow it down again now. Let’s travel by boat. I’ve always loved being by the water or on the water. I always feel such a sense of serenity. There is something especially magical about the ocean. The peaceful songs lull the heart and mind. The sea’s infinity promises distant exotic lands and adventures.
Norway: Sail with the Hurtigruten
Known as the most beautiful voyage. 6 hours and 28 minutes of relaxation as you cruise along the waters along the coast of Norway. Experience the midnight sun: a phenomenon that can be seen in the far northern latitudes near the pole where the sun never truly sets beyond the horizon. Relax and take a long boat trip. This is actually part 5. The whole trip is 136hrs long! This is a slow tv classic! All aboard!
Italy: Sail boat
There is only the blue. The sky and the ocean are almost one. The lullaby songs of the ocean waves and the soft wind are the only sounds. Slow down. Life is easy. Life is beautiful. The magic is between the moments. Catania to Taormina on a sailboat.
UK: relaxing canal boat
Relax. There is only the soft put-put-put of the engine and the lapping of the water as we drift slowly along the canal. We haven’t a care in the world. If you have never been on a narrowboat holiday then I highly recommend it. Travel the waterway in a canal boat from Rickmansworth to Yeading.
Let’s travel by train…
“It’s not getting from A to B. It’s not the beginning or the destination that counts. It’s the ride in between…This train is alive with things that should be seen and heard. It’s a living, breathing something — you just have to want to learn its rhythm.”– David Baldacci.
I love train travel. The older trains are the best, great sighing creaky things of steel with windows that slide down. The modern trains are nice too but the old ones are the best. Some of my best memories are train trips In fact, some train trips have been better than the actual destination! Train travel gifts you time. There’s nothing to do but watch the beautiful landscape unfold like a magic map beyond the window. Better yet if you can stick your head out a little and feel the wind in your face! Time to read, time to relax, time to dream of your destination. Trains are time gift wrapped in steel with an iron heart.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: 99 tunnels and 65 bridges
All aboard! Make yourself comfortable as we travel 163km of track between Sarajevo and Čapljina in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Relax as we travel through the most stunning and breathtaking scenery: lakes, rivers, majestic tree lined mountains, and canyons. And of course, there are 99 tunnels and 65 bridges. This is an amazing journey. Bring sandwiches and a drink… Last call. Last call. The train is about to depart…
Bangladesh: Dewanganj to Dhaka
Take an amazing train trip from Dewanganj to Dhaka to Bangladesh. It starts with a hot bright sun gleaming through palm trees. Our journey will take us 6 hours. This is perfect slow TV. Unlike a lot of these train videos, we have a passenger view. The exotic landscape of India rolls by along with towns, villages, and other trains packed with commuters. Brew up a big pot of chai, have your Indian snacks ready, All aboard the train from Dewanganj to Dhaka.
Norway: Norwegian Arctic Circle
All your winter wonderland dreams will come true with this stunningly beautiful arctic circle train ride. Norway gave birth to slow TV with a 7 hour long train ride from Bergen to Oslo which pulled in millions of viewers. This is a similar video that clocks in at 9-hour and 50 minutes! If you watched the whole thing I would love to know! Let me know in the comments! This journey travels along the Nordland Line railway from Trondheim to Bodø. Full of beautiful snowy mountains, lakes, forests, and more. Your winter wonderland awaits…
Vietnam: Hanoi to Ninh Binh
Last of our train journeys take us to Vietnam in South East Asia. It’s not the longest or the most beautiful trip but it’s different and we do like to travel different! Climb aboard this hulking metal beast and travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.
Tour a supermarket…
“So I went down the local supermarket, I said “I want to make a complaint, this vinegar’s got lumps in it”, he said, “Those are pickled onions“.– Tim Vine.
I love supermarkets in other countries! In every country I have been to, I’ve visited at least one. They are a tourist attraction, for me, as much as any grand building or monument. If we travel to know another culture than what better way to see how they shop every day? Especially for a foodie, the supermarket is an unmissable treat! Row after row of exotic items and unfamiliar foods. The excitement of discovery and anticipation of trying something new. There is pleasure in watching ordinary people going about the task of bringing home food. Our stories are etched in dinners and lunches.
Japan: a tour of a supermarket
This is real travel different! Let’s have a wander around a Japanese grocery store. I like this video, it is almost slow TV because there is no dialogue, just some captions. I did this many times myself while in Japan. My favourite was a big supermarket in an everyday average neighbourhood in Yokohama that I stumbled on by chance. I spent almost an hour happily wandering around the store, people watching and food spotting. I really enjoy comparing prices to my home country too. Hopefully, I will inspire you to add supermarkets to your travel itineraries too! OK, let’s go tour a Japanese supermarket.
China: Shanghai market
Another video in the slow tv style. I like these kinds of videos because I feel like I’m really there walking around without the distraction of running commentary to distract. These kinds of videos are much harder to find though! We wander around a Chinese local food market at Zhujiajiao in Shanghai. It looks amazing. So different from anything we have here in London.
Relax on a beach…
“BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN THE WAY THE OCEAN REFUSES TO STOP KISSING THE SHORELINE, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES IT’S SENT AWAY.”– SARAH KAY
Our journey has covered so many forms of transport. It’s time for some relaxation! There’s nothing quite like relaxing on a beach. It’s especially wonderful if you can find a beach all to yourself. Although I can only personally sit on the beach for a few hours before I start to feel the wanderlust tugging at me like an overly insistent nagging child. It calls to me to come explore. Occasionally I would love to be free of it and just enjoy those moments for hours on end.
Thailand: A tropical beach
If you are going to be laying on a beach then it has to be a deserted tropical beach. Well, not totally deserted because I would like a parade of quality restaurants and a few bars. I just want the beach deserted. Hey, it’s a fantasy, I can totally have it in my dreams! Crystal blue waters, palm trees, white sand, I got you. Or maybe this one? If you’ve spent the day on the beach then you may as well spend the evening there too. The light fades and we build a fire right on the shore near the shushing waves.
View the world through other eyes…
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand– William Blake
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
Travel’s greatest gift, perhaps, is a fresh pair of eyes. You see everything brand new and marvel at it, you see the wonder in the every day, and each moment holds the promise of a new discovery. Travel grants us new eyes to see another’s point of view. We gain insight and understanding and new ways of thinking that were just not possible before. That’s the gift of travel. So with these next trips in our travel different without leaving home tour, we grant ourselves a fresh perspective and new eyes. We will see the world new. We will travel truly different.
To take wing and fly like a bird must be what absolute freedom feels like. What must it feel like when the world unfolds at your feet like a magic carpet as you glide and swoop and soar. There is only the sound of the wind. Only outer space and the earth below bind you. It’s hard to imagine what that truly feels like but this epic slow tv movie gives you a taste of what it could be like. See with the eyes of an eagle on the wing. What a world we live in when wonders like this are possible? We take so much for granted. We live in an age of miracles and wonders. We can fly.
Dive into the ocean depths where the sunlight’s fingers dance in the whooshing gurgle of bubbles and endless turquoise. Here we travel to a truly alien world we are permitted only to visit briefly. Another slow tv marathon at 10 hours long! We take a tropical scuba diving adventure and explore the ocean and the shimmering creatures that live in the below. Sift through almost forgotten past and explore these shipwrecks from the comfort of your own home.
There are few creatures, I think, more joyous than a dog! We can learn to be more like them. Take absolute joy in the simple things like a walk outside, worry less – eat and sleep. We travel along with an excited happy dog as he goes for a run. This is bruce the dog. Be more like Bruce.
Next, we travel to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room The Drone —The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away to experience a mystical meditation of the universe itself, our place within that, and infinity. The Drone was and is originally an art installation at The Broad Museum in LA. Obviously covid19 has shut this, temporarily, along with everything else. It’s now on YouTube so we might experience the next best thing to being there. I love this haunting meditative work. It lets me travel in a way that I couldn’t with any other way. There are five parts to this serious. Here is a playlist for The Drone.
See the sky.– Me.
We travel with our hearts and minds as much as legs and feet. Travel gives us a fresh pair of eyes to see the world. These slow tv videos are a great way to get to know a place, see another world, and experience other lives. Sure, it’s not as good as sailing over clouds on silver wings and being there yourself but in our age of miracles, we can still travel. We can tour the world with slow TV.
Sure this pandemic, COVID-19 prevents us from actually being there but it gives us time which is the most precious of things. You will never get back this moment again. We get more time to spend with our loved ones. We get time to explore and experiment and to learn. We get time to…
Time to slow or Just stop.
When would we have had this time otherwise?
There is always a bright side to everything. Never forget. Look for the magic in your days. Explore. Stay positive, stay happy, stay home, and stay safe.
Have you ever experienced slow TV before? It’s almost a form of meditation. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment box! Did you have a favourite?
I’ve published some other ways to travel from home articles so if you are interested you might enjoy those too. Check out:
Travel By Taste With 6 Delicious Dishes from around the world. 6 recipes from around the world to fuel your wanderlust! Fill your travel dream bank. Travel by taste.
80 Days Around the World in Movies. Travel around the world in movies! I suggest some eats and drinks to enhance your sense of time and place. Travel by movie.
12 Best Travel Songs. Fuel your wanderlust and keep the dream alive with these great travel tunes. Travel by music.
Finally, I have created a handy YouTube Slow TV playlist to go along with this post.
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