I remember when I first started watching Ted talks nearly a decade ago. It was, and still is, a great platform for the everyday person to expand her horizons and learn about different topics from experts in various fields. From artists, to musicians, to entrepreneurs, to writers and more, Ted talks have been instrumental in opening up conversations and discussions on a dizzying array of topics. I love all Ted talks but I gravitate towards those that discuss travel and cultures around the world.
Here are my picks for some of the top Ted talks on travel.
Aziz Abu Sarah: For more tolerance, we need more … tourism?
Aziz Abu Sarah is a Palestinian activist with an unusual approach to peace-keeping: Be a tourist. The TED Fellow shows how simple interactions with people in different cultures can erode decades of hate.
Vincent Moon: Hidden music rituals around the world.
Vincent Moon travels the world with a backpack and a camera, filming astonishing music and ritual the world rarely sees — from a powerful Sufi ritual in Chechnya to an ayahuasca journey in Peru. He hopes his films can help people see their own cultures in a new way, to make young people say: “Whoa, my grandfather is as cool as Beyoncé.”
Kitra Cahana: A glimpse of life on the road
As a young girl, photojournalist and TED Fellow Kitra Cahana dreamed about running away from home to live freely on the road. Now as an adult and self-proclaimed vagabond, she follows modern nomads into their homes — boxcars, bus stops, parking lots, rest stop bathrooms — giving a glimpse into a culture on the margins.
Francis Tapon: How and Why Travel Transforms You
Travel author Francis Tapon shares some of his traveling adventures, which include walking across America four times and spending three years visiting all 25 Eastern European countries. He discusses how travel can be a catalyst for transforming your life, giving you insights that are hard or impossible to achieve through other means. He also shares a personal story about his father, who motivated him to keep pursuing his dream of visiting every country in the world.
Robin Esrock: Learn to Travel, Travel to Learn
Robin Esrock’s success as a global adventurer, travel writer, TV producer and international TV personality was no accident, although it did start with one. Struck down on his bike at a Vancouver intersection, Robin hobbled away with a broken kneecap, and one year later, a modest $20,000 insurance settlement. It was just enough for him pack up his things, quit his job, and set off on a one-year solo round-the-world backpacking adventure to 24 countries.
JD Lewis: On Travelling and How to Just DO IT
JD and his family set a world record as the first family to visit all 7 continents in a year specifically to do humanitarian work.
Rick Steves: The Value of Travel
After spending 4 months a year for the last 30 years living out of a suitcase, Rick Steves reflects on the value of thoughtful travel. Sharing lessons learned from Iran to El Salvador and from India to Denmark, Steves tells why spending all that time and money away from home has broadened his perspective, enriched his life, and made it clear to him, as he says in his talk, “Fear is for people who don’t get out very much.”
Pico Iyer: Where is home?
More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. Writer Pico Iyer — who himself has three or four “origins” — meditates on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.
Lavinia Spalding: Travel Writing and Global Change
Award-winning food and travel writer Lavinia Spalding encourages listeners to become travel writers, and speaks about how sharing travel stories can contribute to global understanding and change.
Stefan Sagmeister: The Power of Time Off
Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.
There are countless other Ted talks on all sorts of topics. So go explore and share some of your favorites!
What are the top Ted talks that you’ve seen?