2 min read

Down to Earth with Zac Efron and Darin Olien

Traveling the world without leaving our couch
Down to Earth with Zac Efron and Darin Olien

Traveling the world without leaving our couch

Photograph by Ben White on Unsplash

On July 10, 2020 Netflix released Down to Earth with Zac Efron. I’m a little too old to be of the High School Musical generation, but my 9 year old loves it. When we found out about Down to Earth with Zac Efron we thought, “Why not? Let’s see what he has to say.”

At a time when we can’t travel and the kids have been distance learning, the Netflix series has been a welcome reprieve. We travel around the world visiting different countries, while learning different ways to use natural energy, environmental concerns and healthy eating all without leaving our family room. While the ideal would be to do all of this in person, in a time of a pandemic, this suits us just fine.

Zac Efron and health guru Darin Olien travel to various countries and share with the viewers a little about the culture, the food, and the environment. The series is simple and the landscape is gorgeous. My children, ages 5–14, enjoyed the geography lesson and have started talking more about what they can do to help with the environment. Dinner conversations have centered around food and healthy eating.

Personally, I enjoyed the episodes surrounding Costa Rica and Peru, as a young woman I had visited both. I had done some of my student teaching in Costa Rica and it was fun to see the country in a new light. It also made me miss a simpler way of living. Life runs a little slower following “Tico Time.” Fortunately, the pandemic has made it a little easier to go back to a more nonchalant way of filling our time.

My husband enjoyed the episode on Sardinia and has convinced our family of six to take a “Sardinian walk” everyday since we watched the episode. We had seen an sprightly elderly gentleman show Efron his daily route, which involved a glass of wine at the end.

We have traded the glass of wine for family friendly Klondike bars, and I call it a fair trade as we include a little more movement in our lives at a time when it’s too easy to be sedentary. Usually our summer time would be filled with swim practices and swim meets, so I’ll take the Sardinian walk and appreciate the time we have together during quarantine.

The family friendly show is meant to share some information, but not overwhelm the viewer. It’s not hard science. The language is simple and gives the average person something to think about as the hosts discuss environmental concerns.

Down to Earth provides an easy way to sit as a family and learn something new in a time when there’s been too much chaos and frustration. I’ll happily take this quarantine type of learning with my family as each of us can learn a little something new, from the youngest to the oldest.

The takeaway for our family has been to be more aware of our environment, love our world, and eat healthy. When the world opens back up, we plan to add more travel plans to our agenda. Until then, we’ll live vicariously through Zac and Darin.