Return Ticket

By ABC Radio

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Pack your bags! Come with us on a journey of the mind…to destinations both near and far-flung, the familiar and the unexpected… in search of what the tourist never sees. An armchair travel show that scratches the surface of the world around us.

Episode Date
S2 08 | Reykjavik's lightness of being
Iceland's capital Reykjavik is a place where people navigate geographic isolation, long periods of light and dark, unforgiving weather… and the intermittent threat of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Put together, this perhaps has led to a portrait of Iceland being an intrepid, exotic place — a place where visitors want to live out their Game of Thrones fantasies. But in actuality, daily life is — as many things are in the Nordics — beautifully pragmatic.
Dec 01, 2022
S2 07 | Timbuktu — a true story
Its name is a byword for remote obscurity and intrepid adventure, a medieval trade centre and cradle of African scholarship perched on the edge of the Sahara. But those historical perceptions are so far removed from the reality of the Malian city's current predicament. A place worn down by a decade of conflict, desertification, and sheer isolation. So, what's the truth about Timbuktu?
Nov 24, 2022
S2 06 | Hollywood — boulevard of broken onions
It was Columbia Pictures President Harry Cohn who once said, "If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont" — and trouble they had. In uncovering the razzle-dazzle of Hollywood, we track the 95-year history of the Chateau, from its beginnings as onion fields, to its rise as a place of decadence, scandal, fame and murder. Plus, how did the palm tree become an emblem of LA, and could Marilyn Monroe really act?
Nov 17, 2022
S2 05 | Tasmania — it's a terrible place
Tasmanian residents and cartoonists First Dog on the Moon and Jon Kudelka tell everyone they know that Tasmania is awful. The snakes. The weather. The people. But in truth, why does half of Australia want to live there? 
Nov 10, 2022
S2 04 | Slow death in Venice  
Venice is the anti-tabula rasa. Here, residents and visitors alike must rise up to meet its demands. But you can't help but feel this old and adored city is being crushed under the weight of history, the literal weight of tourists, and the twin pressures of having too much water and then, not enough. So, is the Venice we know slowly dying by a thousand cuts?
Nov 03, 2022
S2 03 | Kuala Lumpur — would you like rubber with that?
The story of the Malaysian capital is a story of resources, from tin, petrol, and palm oil. But if there's one resource to understand the metropolis that is Kuala Lumpur today it's rubber. It's responsible for the city's art deco architecture, modern multiculturalism, and a roaring global trade. It's no wonder Malaysia still supplies half of the world's natural rubber. Editor's note 18/11/22: This episode has been revised to include an important reference to Malaysia’s ethnic tensions.
Oct 27, 2022
S2 02 | Las Vegas by numbers
In a city where every flip of the card and roll of the dice could cost you, are the odds ever really in your favour? Exploring the maths of chance, we ponder: what are the odds of running out of water in Las Vegas? What are the odds of getting married by an Elvis impersonator? And what are the odds of coming home with more than you started with? Card sharks and the King may have the answers. Guests: Chad Collins, Elvis impersonator and wedding celebrant at the Little Chapel of Hearts, Las Vegas Michael Shackleford aka The Wizard of Odds, a former professional actuary who has made a career of analysing casino games Giulio Boccaletti, a physicist and climate scientist. He is the author of Water: A Biography Credits: Jonathan Green, presenter  Hayley Crane, producer  Alan Weedon, producer Rhiannon Brown, executive producer  Brendan O'Neill, sound engineer
Oct 20, 2022
S2 01 | Paris by baguette
Can it be true that 94 per cent of Parisians live less than five minutes from a bakery? In a country where eating lunch at your desk is illegal, and people-watching at the local boulangerie is a philosophy, what can the rise and fall of bread tell us about Paris and its inhabitants? 
Oct 13, 2022
INTRODUCING — Return Ticket season two
Return Ticket is back with a new season… and we've got questions about travel. Like what the odds of getting married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas?  Does bread make Paris or does Paris make bread?  Why is Kuala Lumpur so rubbery?  What's making Venice drown? And is Tasmania really that terrible?  To find the answers to these questions and more, come with us on little journeys of the mind to destinations familiar and obscure. First episode out on October 14. 
Oct 06, 2022
S1 E8 | Tokyo's small spaces
Tokyo is one of the world’s most densely populated urban areas. So how do they manage the human crush? To answer that you need to look at Japan’s rich design history, and specifically, that design culture’s fondness for simplicity and efficiency.  It’s a hugeness constructed of smallness. A density set against the constant possibility of fragments of calm. In Tokyo, we find beauty in busyness, a place where minimalism soothes the maxi city. A place where mess is more.
Jun 25, 2022
S1 E7 | Order and chaos in Mumbai
The human crush of Mumbai is a sight to behold. Places where tens of millions make the jump from informal to formal space — or vice versa — daily. But there's one thing that unites one of the world's most populated cities — the need for a good feed. We're going to spend a day in the life of Mumbai via the routes of the city's famed tiffin delivery workers. By, foot, motorcycle, train, or car, a seemingly unimaginable number of home-cooked meals traverse the city in metal tiffins, making their way from home to workplace, or from more industrialised made-to-order hubs.
Jun 18, 2022
S1 E6 | Bangkok's love affair with malls
They’re universes unto themselves. Thailand’s newfound wealth has spurred on the development of Bangkok’s mega-mall. It’s a totalising form of urbanism that helps us understand the tensions of this modern, cosmopolitan capital.   In this episode, we head to a new mall that’s delivering Vegas Casino camp alongside Michelin Star eateries. IconSiam is multi-billion-dollar development where you can grab cheap street food in a mock Thai village, and then blow a million on a new Rolls Royce.
Jun 11, 2022
S1 E5 | Beijing by bike
Welcome to a never-ending story. Beijing's the world's most populous capital city, and it's a place where the trials and tribulations of China's ascendancy are being played out in real-time. So how do you even begin to get into a place as complex and rich as this? Well… it's time to hop on the bike. In this episode, we'll be looking at how Beijing's relationship with the bike tells a bigger story about China's development, its current class tensions, and how some locals find sanctuary in an otherwise forbidding environment.
Jun 04, 2022
S2 E4 | Christchurch renewed
The story of post-quake Christchurch is the story of a place where citizens have had to make hard decisions about what a 21st-century city looks like… what to take or leave… and what to do with the residue of tragedy. What's resulted is a city in constant search of renewal: of its waterways, its built environment, and its history. In this episode, we'll be tracing the bends of the Avon/Ōtākaro, understanding how local music supported disaster recovery and seeing how this city is shedding its neo-Gothic architectural skin. Stay put for a bonus trip to Lyttelton, a stunning bohemian port town about a 20-minute drive from the centre of Christchurch. It's been responsible for nurturing the sound of musicians including Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding and Nadia Reid.
May 28, 2022
S1 E3 | Banal New York
Explore New York at it's most ordinary: a walk through Manhattan in search of snacks, a garbage bin and a hot dog.
May 21, 2022
S1 E2 | The 'real' Bali
It's a place known to Australians for its beer, beach and massage; others are drawn to it as a place of spiritual solace. But what is the real Bali like? Is there such a thing?
May 14, 2022
S1 E1 | London underground… literally
London is a layer cake of history — and we're burrowing in deep. We're purely going to stay underground to reveal bigger stories about this storied capital. But the thing is, the further deep you go, the newer the city's subterranean structures get. It's archaeology in reverse.
May 07, 2022
INTRODUCING — Return Ticket
Pack your bags! Come with us on a journey of the mind…to destinations both near and far-flung, the familiar and the unexpected… in search of what the tourist never sees. An armchair travel show that scratches the surface of the world around us.
May 02, 2022