6 TED Talks to Ignite Your Wanderlust

Need a little travel inspiration? These TED Talks will have you packing your bags.

It’s like Gandalf said, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off.”

Travel is expensive, inconvenient, and a huge hassle. So why pony up thousands of dollars to leave the comfort and safety of your home and venture beyond your doorstep? These 6 TED Talks guide you through the tricky, glorious experience of travel and in the process, just might inspire you to book a ticket.


The Joy of Surfing in Ice-Cold Water by Chris Burkard. Burkard is a renowned photographer and somewhat of an Instagram legend with 1.8 million followers. He explores risky (sometimes dangerous) locales to capture the most stunning images in the world.

“Anything that is worth pursuing is going to require us to suffer, just a little bit,” says surf photographer Chris Burkard, as he explains his obsession with the coldest, choppiest, most isolated beaches on earth. With jawdropping photos and stories of places few humans have ever seen — much less surfed — he draws us into his “personal crusade against the mundane.”


Why Bother Leaving the House by Ben Saunders. Extreme sportsman and skier Ben Saunders undertakes feats few humans would dare (or want) to try, but his fire and passion for exploration might ignite yours.

Explorer Ben Saunders wants you to go outside! Not because it’s always pleasant and happy, but because that’s where the meat of life is, “the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days.” Saunders’ next outdoor excursion? To try to be the first in the world to walk from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again.


What Does It Mean to Be a Citizen of the World? by Hugh Evans. Evans is the creator of the Global Citizen Platform, which unites humans as members of one tribe aspiring to make this world a better, safer, happier place. This talk will not only inspire to travel and connect, but also to become a better person.

Hugh Evans started a movement that mobilizes “global citizens,” people who self-identify first and foremost not as members of a state, nation or tribe but as members of the human race. In this uplifting and personal talk, learn more about how this new understanding of our place in the world is galvanizing people to take action in the fights against extreme poverty, climate change, gender inequality and more. “These are ultimately global issues,” Evans says, “and they can only be solved by global citizens demanding global solutions from their leaders.”


For More Tolerance, We Need More…Tourism? by Aziz Abu Sarah. Personally, I heartily concur with Sarah’s take that tourism can break down barriers and help unite us. Although we use the word “tourist” with an eye roll, getting out, touring and connecting is what will lead to peace.

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. He starts with Palestinians visiting Israelis and moves beyond …


The Surprising Thing I Learned Sailing Solo Around the World by Dame Ellen MacArthur. Simply put, MacArthur is a badass. She circumnavigated the globe and came back with theories on how to use our finite resources moving forward.

What do you learn when you sail around the world on your own? When solo sailor Ellen MacArthur circled the globe – carrying everything she needed with her – she came back with new insight into the way the world works, as a place of interlocking cycles and finite resources, where the decisions we make today affect what’s left for tomorrow. She proposes a bold new way to see the world’s economic systems: not as linear, but as circular, where everything comes around.


Unseen Footage, Untamed Nature by Karen Bass. Bass, a filmmaker who has created for BBC and National Geographic, aims to capture footage from every environment around our world. Our world astonishes and amazes and if this doesn’t inspire you to go out and see the world for yourself, at least you’ll take away a profound appreciation of it.

At TED2012, filmmaker Karen Bass shares some of the astonishing nature footage she’s shot for the BBC and National Geographic — including brand-new, previously unseen footage of the tube-lipped nectar bat, who feeds in a rather unusual way…

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