Departures: Take A Virtual Holiday

By Trilby Goouch

Blogs Editor

November is one of those ‘in-between’ months where things turn a little grey; it’s too early to get in the holiday spirit, fall weather has come and gone and exams are looming and approaching quickly. You might find yourself feeling a little stifled here in Kingston, perhaps googling beach destinations or looking for cheap flights.

Wouldn’t it be nice to pack up your things and hitchhike around Europe? Explore the Amazon? Unfortunately student life doesn’t usually permit for such adventures, however there are other ways to cure your travel bug: Departures.

The three-season travel series follows Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach, Canadian 20-somethings in search of adventure and thirsty for culture. The pair treks across the globe along with their single cameraman, traveling to some of the most beautiful and remote places on earth. The cinematography alone makes the show well-worth watching; the shots are truly breathtaking. What I love about this show is it gives you a first-hand experience, and the up close and personal nature of the series makes you feel like you’re traveling along for the ride. Unlike most travel shows, Departures provides a more youthful, action-packed viewer experience; whether it’s Justin’s goofy antics or Scott’s thought-provoking perspective, the duo make for entertaining, often hilarious episodes. From Thai wrestling to crocodile handling to climbing volcanoes, their fearless, gung-ho attitude gives the series a serious excitement factor. Each episode features a different area of the world, with every visit tailored to the respective cultures. This includes experiencing local customs, food, wildlife and activities. I’ve compiled a few highlights of the series to get you started.

Japan-two parts

Their time in Japan is split between two episodes; one features Japan from a commercial, metropolitan perspective, the other from a historical, natural viewpoint. The contrasting experiences give a well-rounded look at the Japanese culture from both ends of the spectrum.

Video: Japan- The Future

Video: Japan- The Past


In typical boisterous fashion, the duo takes sand-dune exploration to new levels: sand-boarding. I loved this episode because it gave me two unique experiences in one: stunning, inspiring landscape and entertaining antics.

Video: Libya


The guys travel by boat on an exploration of the rainforest. They encounter all sorts of wildlife, from poisonous insects to vicious snakes. This proves to be a memorable episode when they get themselves stuck in a 70-meter-high tree in an Amazonian thunderstorm, followed by an attack by vicious pink dolphins. The episode ends with some scuba diving adventures and the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience of watching the hatching of close to 1000 baby sea turtles.

Video: Brazil


This episode gives great insight into the culture of Mongolia as the guys get up close and personal with the locals. Scott and Justin camp out and experience the cultural cuisine of fermented yaks-milk and goat-organ soup. They rent ATVs and drive through the Gobi desert, providing a unique visual experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

Video: Mongolia


This episode reveals Chile as an oasis of natural phenomenon. With a 15,000 ft. climb in the Altiplano of northern Chile, Justin experiences altitude sickness, giving a very real perspective of the dangers one can encounter while traveling. Their camp out is surrounded by beautiful landscapes of active volcanoes, salt flats and pink flamingo reserves, which is a real feast for the eyes. It was really interesting seeing an area preserved as if it was hundreds of years ago.

Video: Chili

Papua New Guinea

This is perhaps one of the most unique episodes on Departures. The guys explore the remote, virtually untouched areas of Papua New Guinea, complete with a climb up an active volcano that the pair realize in hindsight was incredibly dangerous. Nevertheless, the landscape and nature they come across is beyond that of National Geographic; I felt like I too had experienced Papua New Guinea after watching this episode.

Video: Papua New Guinea- Part One

Video: Papua New Guinea- Part Two

Take a study break and watch an episode of your choice. Bet you can’t watch just one.

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