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Intense National Geographic Series, 'Locked Up Abroad,' Documents Inept Travelers
Yet, I've recently become obsessed with a National Geographic show called "Locked Up Abroad." I don't recall hearing about this harrowing documentary series when it first aired in 2007, but it caught my eye about a month ago, during a late-night Netflix bender. It's now in its sixth season on the National Geographic Channel.
Each episode profiles one or two subjects, most of whom have been imprisoned in developing nations. While a few episodes detail hostage and other kidnapping situations (Warning: if you're at all easily disturbed, please don't watch ... nightmares are almost guaranteed), most involve drug smuggling gone awry.
As a die-hard adventure traveler, I find "Locked Up Abroad" absorbing (that's not an intentional diaper pun) because it's a real-life dramatization of my worst fears. As a solo female wanderer, I can't help but worry sometimes about kidnapping or becoming an inadvertent drug mule, no matter how self-aware I try to be. Many of the episodes on "Locked Up Abroad," however, involve people with the intellect of dead hamsters, and it's hard to feel much in the way of empathy, given their greed and gullibility.
Perhaps I've just watched "Midnight Express," "Brokedown Palace," and "Return to Paradise" one too many times, but I've often wondered how I'd fare in such a situation, and I hope I never have to find out. But documentaries like "Locked Up Abroad" are more than just sensationalism. They're a window into our desperate, greedy, grubby little souls, as well as testimony to the will to survive.
For some reason, YouTube and National Geographic Channel video links are disabled or broken, so if you want to check out some footage, click here.
[Photo credit: Flickr user Svadilfari]