Last summer, almost to the day, I flew into Resolute, in Canada's Arctic, on assignment for these pages. I spent a week on board a ship there, meeting members of this tiny, vibrant community and had the pleasure of travelling with the local Eckalook family and their two beautiful, inseparable little girls, Gabrielle and Cheyenne.
Last week Resolute was devastated by a plane crash that killed 12 people, including six-year-old Cheyenne; her seven-year-old sister was one of the three survivors. The crash also robbed Resolute of several other residents, including the charming Ches Tibo, who worked at the community's hub, the South Camp Inn.
My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of Resolute and Canada's north, who have lost loved ones. I may be far away but my thoughts are by your side.
As travel movies go, it will be no gold statue winner but The Inbetweeners, the feature film spin-off from the popular E4 television series, has definitely secured the golden ticket at the box office. The movie, which sees the show's four teenage misfits go on a post-exams, booze-fuelled holiday to Malia in Crete, took a record-breaking £13.2m at the box office last weekend, outearning opening weekends of hits such as Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The plot sounds about as original as a sixth-former's fart gag but that is entirely the point. If you are a fan of the show's gross-out humour, daft writing and creative ways to describe female body parts, then expect more of the same, only with a sunnier backdrop. This is definitely not one of those travel movies where the scenery is the star.
If you're after a summery, youthful travelogue without the full frontal boy nudity, then go to Vimeo.com and have a look at a triptych of travel shorts from independent film-maker Rick Mereki entitled Eat, Move, Learn.
"Three guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38,000 miles, an exploding volcano, two cameras and almost a terabyte of footage," pants the tagline. And all of this condensed into three sharply edited movies that each last about a minute. Within 24 hours of posting the films online they had been played a million times and quickly earned Mereki shout-outs from career-launchers including Oprah Winfrey. Last week they had received in excess of eight million viewings.
The footage, which moves through destinations and themes like a flicker book, jumps the presenter (such as he is, his words aren't audible) from one scene and situation to the next in a blink of an eye. It's quite beautiful, mesmerising stuff and in many ways blows a lot of the more verbose travel TV right off the map. Yet I can't help but wonder about all the out-takes. Can the essence of a trip like this really be condensed into three minutes? Does it simply reduce it to a glossy travel ad style experience? (The trip was sponsored by STA Travel as a marketing campaign, although it didn't expected it to go viral from Mereki's personal Vimeo site.)
It's hard to say, but if a picture is worth a thousand words then this short, sweet visual treat, with its average of 180 images per minute, is worth 540,000 words. That would be a very big guidebook.
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