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7 inspiring Netflix documentaries that will change your perspective on life

In need of a reality check without the travel costs? Here are 7 documentaries that will get you off the couch and living a more meaningful existence.

*Please note that since some of these documentaries are no longer available on Netflix, we have included updated links below for viewing them elsewhere online.

The Minimalists: Less Is Now

The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, delve into the history of consumerism and how marketing during the industrial revolution has led us to believe that accumulating more possessions is the key to happiness in this moving documentary. They also share their personal journeys of discovering minimalism, explaining how it has positively impacted their lives and allowed them to experience greater fulfillment.

“We’re binging on all the wrong things, and dying of hunger for the things that really matter.”

Practical advice and strategies for living a more minimalists lifestyle are offered, including decluttering, simplifying finances, and embracing experiences over possessions to create a simpler, more meaningful way of living.


What is happiness and how do we achieve it? While scientists have been measuring depression for the last century, there hasn’t been a huge amount of research done into happiness and the small things we can all do to find one the most soughtt- after emotions in our lives.

Academy Award nominated director Roko Belic explores this very topic in this eye-opening film which takes us on a voyage from the Himalayan hilltops to the plains of Africa. He speaks to a woman whose life was changed for the better after a horrendous car accident, and explores why some of the families living in the slums of Calcutta are amongst the happiest people on the planet.

One not to miss, this documentary might have you seeing the small things in your life as some of the most profound.

Living on One Dollar

First world problems bogging you down? Get a slap-in-the-face reality check when you watch this film about four friends who challenge themselves to live on $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala.

In a place where life seems simple and slow, the companions learn about the different reality a third-world family faces during the ins and outs of their daily lives.

What’s beautiful about this story is its ability to expose the things most of us take for granted, like fresh water, parasite-free food and enough calories in our daily meals to give us sufficient energy.

A true inspirational lesson to appreciate the privileged existence we are living in wealthy nations, no matter what our individual hardships.

Expedition Happiness

Thinking of running away and hitting the road? Get a glimpse of the realities of leading an alternative #vanlife inside the renovated school bus of the Expedition Happiness trio, Selima, Felix and their dog Rudi.

Attempting a lengthy road trip across North and Central America, they experience the ups and downs of life on the road, from a homesick puppy to a cartel hijack in Mexico.

While slowing down and taking in the beauty of the landscape this way of life has to offer, the hardships of travel are exposed rawly and honestly in this true-to-life, self-made travel documentary.

Under an Arctic Sky

If you love watching epic adventures that require courage and commitment, this is your film. This doco trails along the journey of photographer Chris Burkard and filmmaker Ben Weiland, who take a crew of passionate surfers to the remote island of Iceland to surf in the most colossal conditions on earth.

With only three hours of daylight each day and inside the worst storm to hit Iceland in 25 years, the group embark over ice-laden seas, snow-covered roads and sub-zero temperatures to capture footage that is jaw-dropping, stunningly surreal.

Under an Arctic Sky is incredibly inspiring for anyone who has ever wanted to push the boundaries to live their dream.


This cinematically beautiful story, told through the narration of a six-year-old, follows an intrepid family through 15 different countries, headed by professional surfers, Aamion and Daize Goodwin.

With a toddler and newborn baby in tow, the couple travel across the globe, witnessing the charm of both the natural and man-made environments. Through their first-hand experience, they teach their young ones about life and culture in far away villages, the delicacy of nature and the extent of the global family of humans that awaits them in their adult life.

Gracefully shot imagery fills each frame, leaving you questioning why you are sitting at home watching TV and not out there doing the same thing yourself.

Down to Earth

This engaging series follows actor Zac Efron and wellness expert Darin Olien as they travel the world to genuinely learn about sustainable living practices and explore the connection between human health and the environment.

The show’s emphasis on positive, solutions-oriented storytelling, rather than only highlighting the problems facing the planet offers a hopeful perspective on sustainable living.

From geothermal energy and sustainable tourism in Iceland to plant-based diets in Costa Rica, the show highlights the different paths that people from around the world are taking to create a more eco-friendly future.

In November 2022, the second season of this series follows Efron and Olien as they travel across Australia, discovering sustainable food, culture, and lifestyle along the way.


Katie Gannon

Life Unhurried co-founder, Katie Gannon, has long sung from a sustainable song sheet having created and run her own successful indie fashion label, Mother Maria, before transitioning to graphic and web design. She now puts her stamp on tourism content and sustainability campaigns for clients such as City of Sydney (when she's not walking her two dachshunds, Ruby and Rafa).

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