These kinds of shows are all over TV now, but there are very few that can compare, at least in my mind, to those done by Michael Palin. If you are not sure of the name, it may well be because he is best known for his part in the Monty Python comedy team. Palin may be a legendary name in comedy circles, but he approaches his travels with an everyman type mentality that is very endearing. He started off his tours with a show called “Around The World In 80 Days” where he tried to take the same route as the character in the book of the same name, without the aid of flight. The concept was magnificent, but rather than delivering a shoe that felt rushed, which you might expect, Mr. Palin took time on his travels to show the sights that many of us can only dream of ever seeing.
During his travels, Michael Palin often speaks of how the places he is visiting are those that he has always dreamt of going to. In short, he is getting to live out his travel bucket list, while the rest of us get, in some small way, to come along for the ride. With so many viewers entranced by the pictures that Palin painted, it was only a matter of time before he was asked to do a little more travelling. His next trip was “Pole to Pole” which took him to the opposite ends of the Earth in the space of a few short weeks. Sure, they may be cold, but the Poles are very much on the bucket lists of many people that want to travel.
I’m not sure how Palin and the producers of the shows came up with the destinations, but you have to imagine that there was some level of input from the viewing public. If you ask people who do have a bucket list complied where they would like to travel to, you can almost bet that the places they mention are found in one of these shows. Further shows saw Michael Palin travel through Europe, cross the Sahara Desert, and explore the world that lies at the base of the Himalayas. Palin is not a young man and the toll that these journeys take on him is clearly visible by the time he reaches the end. There are no 5-star hotel stays on these trips, with much of his time spent slumming in all manner of roach motels, but it all adds to the realism and I think he knows it.
The viewers of these shows likely wouldn’t be so enamored with the journey if he spent his downtime living in luxury, simply because the vast majority of us wouldn’t be able to do so if we were given the opportunity to travel there. Making your bucket list happen sometimes means cutting corners and saving on a little bit of luxury, which I believe explains why the Michael Palin shows are such a huge hit. If you haven’t seen any of them yet, you really should try to do so. You might even be able to feel as though you can scratch some places off your bucket list, so vivid is the experience.
by Morgan K. Taylor