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5 Cartoons That Taught Us The Meaning Of Wanderlust

by Turner Wright Mar 30, 2009
From the living room carpet, to exotic adventures around the world, these cartoons showed us how to imagine.

We travelers all tend to look inwardly at times, searching for the source of our desire to travel.

Whether we’re exploring Buddhist meditation or just walking along the street to work in a different country, each of us may arrive at unique conclusions. Were we always this way? Probably not, but it’s hard to imagine at what point in our lives we finally decided to run with our dreams.

Maybe you were exposed to more culture at university than that which existed at home. Maybe you set out to spite the author of your less-than-appealing high school prophecy.

Maybe the actual source of your wanderlust started back at a time when you cared for nothing but sugar and Saturday morning cartoons.

What animated classics most influenced us twenty-somethings in our passion for travel?

1. Ducktales

It’s always one travel adventure to the next with each passing episode of Ducktales.

Join Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack, and the nephews as they travel to Scotland and match wits with everything from an ancient Druidic cult, to the heart of the Yukon to pan for gold, and to ancient temples to discover buried treasure and hidden tombs.

Ducktales taught us to reach out into the world, while never losing sight of that enormous Moneybin waiting back home.

2. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

The franchise that spawned a cartoon, a successful line of computer games, a board game, and even a game show.

Where is Carmen Sandiego?

Somewhere in the world, that’s for sure, and only through a series of geography and history questions will you find your way to the next clue, and that much closer to catching the elusive woman.

3. Talespin

Talespin is the ideal cartoon for those with their minds on Alaskan bush pilots or island-hopping the Polynesian chains.

Although there are a few episodes completely land-locked, the bulk of the series is all about flying from island to island in search of adventure with Baloo and Kit Cloudkicker in the SeaDuck.

Dodging the dangerous Air Pirates, stopping for a well-deserved drink on Louie’s Island, and flying “free as a bird… the skies are yours!”

And from later years…

4. Pokemon

Despite the marketing intent backing the Pokemon cartoon, kids still have the chance to pick up on some valuable tips, not one of which is “gotta catch ‘em all”.

Ash Ketchum does in fact teach us the appeal of traveling by foot for the majority of the journey. When he and his team arrive in a new town, they immediately turn to the nearest “Pokemon Center” for local information, food, and company – I suppose the equivalent would be youth hostels.

And every week it’s an adventure to a different town and a new world of possibilities.

5. Dora the Explorer

Many of my generation were in our teens by the time this show premiered, but I applaud Nickelodeon for trying to instill the virtues of travel at a young age.

Each episode features Dora and Boots – her monkey and best friend – venture to three or four new places, meeting friends and speaking foreign languages (depends on the country of broadcast).

Although the show is intended for a very juvenile audience and thus a little repetitive, Dora teaches children the value in being bilingual, to always have a map handy (in her case, a talking map), and to pack for any eventuality (Several ladders, Dora? Really?)

What cartoons influened your wanderlust growing up? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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