Long Way Round & Long Way Down

Articles | Jan 2nd, 2008

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Recently, I wanted to re-watch The Long Way Round mini-series with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. It’s a fantastic series that takes the two actors & best friends across the world, just on their BMV motorbikes. They go from London all the way to New York.

They travel through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Siberia, Canada and the USA. It’s a once in a lifetime journey and something I always wanted to do myself, I just don’t think I’d ever be able to do it. I’d love to just travel and take pictures along the way. I just wanted to do this going across America, and sleep in my car mostly. By watching the Long Way Round, it certainly makes you want to travel even more (despite all the troubles they encounter). Besides seeing two guys go across the globe on crappy dirt roads, the TV series does have a lot of funny moments. It’s kind of funny to see Ewan McGregor just make fun of Star Wars left & right. Clearly he seems to have gone the way of Sir Alec Guinness and completely regretted them (or so it appears). Charley isn’t as big an actor as Ewan and he even jokes about it on the show. He’s been a few movies though and his Dad is director John Boorman who directed Excalibur!

What I like about the TV series is seeing two guys traveling around the world, just on their bikes, seeing the world, interacting with people, doing charity work and just bonding with each other. Even though you’re not there, you can sense how tough & hard things are there. It’s somewhat gratifying to see them overcome it in the end though. I remember reading in the papers about Ewan McGregor being in town, visiting the Orange County Chopper guys. Some of my friends saw them riding down to New York City. That would have been cool to see. There’s a few TV series that make me sad that it’s all over and this one was one of them. I was hoping they would do this again and thankfully they just released a new series called Long Way Down.

Long Way Down was filmed over the summer and saw the whole crew back again, going from the top of Scotland all the way down to Cape Town in Africa. The DVD was only released in the UK so far so I had to find alternative ways of seeing it. I still hope BBC America or someone in the US airs it, I’ll definitely buy it when it’s released. This series was just as good as the Long Way Round, except it was a lot shorter and felt a little rushed. Even Charley and Ewan were getting discouraged that they felt rushed and couldn’t see everything. The countries they drove in this time were: Scotland, England, France, Italy, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and other African countries all the way down to South Africa. The countries are quite beautiful and I’d love to go there, but with all the violence, terrorism and genocide; it doesn’t necessarily scream “Vacation Spot” to me at the moment. Sure, everything went well for them down in Africa but they had “fixers,” local people and security helping them out. That’s one thing I noticed in the documentary, is that the people they encountered were really friendly and generous. Only if everyone in the world was that friendly & nice. If you like road trips and travel documentaries like me, do yourself a favor and watch The Long Way Round on DVD (special edition has 10 episodes). And watch the Long Way Down when it comes out on TV or DVD here (or thru other methods like I did).