5 Inspiring TED Talks About Travel

I know you love travelling and I know you know that I do, too. Unfortunately, loving travelling and actually getting off the couch and travelling are two very different things.

I know I have spent countless hours browsing the internet and marveling at the sights the world has to offer without moving an inch – seriously, once I went two days without eating because I was too busy googling pictures of baby foxes or something equally useful. Oh, don’t look so surprised, darling – I bet you’re just as bad!

Although compiling photos of exotic cities in a “Travel Porn” folder (not that kind!) is great, nothing beats exploring the world yourself. These five TED talks about travel have given me a little kick in the butt in the past, spurring me forward on my journey around the globe. Hopefully they will manage to do the same for you!

1. Robin Esrock: Learn to Travel, Travel to Learn

Robin Esrock is a travel writer, originally from South Africa. I normally don’t care where people are from, but it feels relevant here because I could watch his talk for the fabulous accent alone! Anyway, moving on… Robin hosts the TV show “World Travels”, through which he gets to explore the globe and share the stories of his travels with an audience in over 100 countries. What a lucky man!

Get off the couch, switch off reality TV and start participating in reality itself.”

“I smile when I’m nervous and I laugh when I’m scared, because it sure beats screaming and crying.”

“Don’t panic, surround yourself with good people and just know that people would rather help you than hurt you. Listen to your instinct, smile”

2. Rick Steves: The Value of Travel

Rick Steves hosts his own TV series about European travel, aptly named Rick Steves’ Europe. He also has a travel show entitled “Travel with Rick Steves”. Despite his lack of creativity when it comes to his travel programmes’ names, his talk proved fascinating and at times deliciously controversial!

Travel wallops my ethnocentricity and I’m very grateful for that.”

“There are so many misunderstandings between people and when we travel, we straighten them out.”

“A third of the people on this planet eat with spoons and forks like you do, a third of the people eat with chopsticks and a third of the people eat with their fingers like I do and we’re all civilised just the same.”

“I’m going here because I think it’s good character to know people before you bomb them.”  (on why he traveled to Iran)

“I learned once again that fear – and there’s a lot of it in our society – fear is to me for people who don’t get out very much.”

3. Francis Tapon: How and Why Travel Transforms You

Francis Tapon is a former project manager at Microsoft, who quit his corporate job in 2007 to get to know the world – and himself. He is currently on a three-year journey through Africa, on a mission to visit all of its 54 countries. His goal in life is to visit every country in the world, and it seems like he’s well on his way to achieving this! He’s also a very sweet man and has given me some very helpful travel blogging advice in the past for which I am extremely grateful.

“Pilgrimages are another way to find the truth.”


“The prophets are teaching us that perhaps some of the answers to life’s most profound questions lie in the wilderness.”


“What would you do with your time if you had a billion dollars? Whatever the answer to that question is, that’s probably your passion.”

“Travel below your means. Don’t necessarily always go to Paris and London. Don’t always stay at the fanciest hotel you can stay at. Maybe do some couchsurfing.”

4. Tony Wheeler: The Road Less Traveled

Tony Wheeler is the founder the infamous Lonely Planet guidebook company, so you know this will be pretty awesome! In 1972, he married his wife Maureen after graduating from London Business School and he and his wife set out on an epic journey “to get travel out of their systems”. Thankfully, they did not succeed. This video is mainly a compilation of funny stories about his travels to destination off the beaten path.

“A few years ago, Mr.. George W. Bush came along and gave me a reason for some travels. When he said there was an Axis of Evil, I thought – ‘Well, I wanna go there!'”
“I think it’s terrific, where we are in the world today, that you can still go to places which you may have heard about, but you haven’t actually seen pictures of.”

5. JD Lewis: On Travelling and How to Just Do It

JD Lewis – an actor and musician – is a single gay dad. One day his son Jackson, who was 13 years old at the time, came home and asked him why they weren’t making more of a difference in the world as a family. So he packed some bags and started the Twelve in Twelve foundation. Watch the video to find out what it is & what happened!

“Run as quickly as you can from Middle America thinking. … I was raised in a country where we were taught to live by the straight and narrow, be part of the status quo, to get the corporate job for the insurance.”
“We are insecure in moments and we take on information from people that is not ours. It’s someone’s belief system that doesn’t belong to us, because they live in fear.”
“There are two kinds of people – the people that succumb to their fear and the people that go: ‘I’m just gonna do it because I have to. It’s my calling, it’s my mission.'”
“When you put a pen point on the horizon and you make a choice and a statement and you claim it in front of your friends and family, amazing things occur. Things that you would never have imagined come to the forefront.”
“Behind every no you get, there’s always a yes. There’s always a way and an alternate route to get where you’re going. All you have to do is claim it and go do it.”




What do you think about the advice in these videos? What’s the number one piece of advice that’s inspired you to travel?