What a better way to get you inspired and make spontaneous travel pans than watching travel movies?! Nothing! Okay, maybe not nothing, but travel movies have played a large role in my life to go to places featured in them. So here is a list of 15 travel movies to get you inspired. They are not in any particular order.
1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty, a negative assets manager at Life magazine. When Life announces its last issue, Sean O'Connell, a mysterious independent photographer, sends Walter a package of negatives. Sean instructs senior management to use negative 25 for their last ever cover. Walter, however is unable to find it, and embarks on a worldwide hunt for Sean. His adventures take him to Iceland, Greenland, and Afghanistan, making the journey unbelievable more extraordinary than he could have ever imagined.
When this film came out, I just had a feeling, as one does, that this was going to be an incredible film. It was. It mixed comedy, drama, and adventure to create an inspiring story of a man who left his comfort zone to do something great (in this case, get that negative for his employer). There were also great shots of the countries he visited. I fell in love with Iceland after seeing this film, and it bumped up to my top five countries to visit.
2. On the Road (2012)
On the Road is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Jack Kerouac. Sal Paradise, a writer, beings a close friendship with free spirited and charismatic Dean Moriarty. Both embark on a number of road trips across the American southwest and are joined by friends and hitch hikers along the way. Kerouac, a pioneer of the Beat Generation, wrote the book based on his own adventures across the United States.
3. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Based on a true story of Ernesto "Che" Guevara's thrilling adventure across South America with his friend Alberto Granado and a beat up motorcycle. The film, based on Guevara's memoir of the same name, reveals the origins of the revolutionary man he would become. Whether you love Che Guevara or you hate him, this movie is a must-see.
4. Into the Wild (2007)
The real Christopher McCandless in front of the "Magic Bus" in Alaska
Into the Wild is an adaptation of Jon Krakauer's non-fiction book of the same name, based on the true story of Christopher McCandless' journey across North America and the time he spent in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1990s.
Where do I even begin ( I can probably do a whole post on this movie and guy)...I came across Christopher McCandless' story a few years ago on an internet article about people who lived in the wild. I was so fascinated by his story because he was a normal guy (although upper middle class and money), who was done living a privileged life and dropped everything to go on an adventure. For me, the movie (and his real life story) was part inspiring and part tragic. Inspiring because of everything he did including his will to survive and connect with the earth, but tragic because (SPOILER ALERT!!!) of the circumstances of his death. I don't know if I would ever have the guts to go into the wild like McCandless, but I know that his story touched me in a way that none ever has, and that he has inspired me to live my life to the fullest.
5. Wild (2014)
After losing her mother to cancer, Cheryl Strayed goes into deep depression, and resorts to heroin and sex to deal with grief. To heal herself, she goes on a 1, 100 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail alone. She begins her journey in the Mojave Desert in Southern California and ends at the Bridge of the Gods between Oregon and Washington. This film captures the struggles and pleasures of travelling alone, and a journey that also strengthens and heals.
6. Eat Pray Love (2010)
Starring Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert, this movie is an adaptation of a book of the same name. Liz Gilbert, who had a 'perfect' life one day realizes that she is unhappy. Divorced and not knowing what to do, she goes on a self-discovery journey around the world. Her trip takes her to Italy, India, and Indonesia, an along the way has new experiences, meets people, and falls in love.
7. Tracks (2013)
Based on a true story, Robyn Davidson, a young woman from Brisbane, Australia, goes on a 1,700 mile trek through the deserts of western Australia. Starting in Alice Springs, Robyn, 4 camels, and her faithful dog cross the desert and end their trip at the Indian Ocean. Along the way, Alice meets interesting characters including National Geographic photographer, Rick Smolan who documents her adventure.
8. Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)
Hector, a psychiatrist, becomes bored and unhappy with his predictable life, so he decides to go on a trip around the world to find what makes people happy. Along the way he meets interesting people who challenge his views and opinions, all which helps with his research. Hector's trip takes him to China, Africa, and back to the USA.
I love this movie as much as I love the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It is similar in that the main character goes on a round-the-world trip to find answers. What I really connected to was that in some ways, my life is like Hector's. When I am home in Toronto, I have a routine that is unchanged and boring. So I take random trips to places I've never been to to break that predictability. The film is also funny and lots of excellent scenery.
9. Into the Cold: A Journey of the Soul (2010)
In this documentary, Sebastian Copeland and Keith Heger go on a journey to the North Pole in 2009 on the 100th anniversary of Admiral Peary's trek to the pole. The film follows the two as they train and then go on their two-month, 400 mile expedition on foot in unforgiving weather.
10. One Week (2008)
One Week is a Canadian film about a man, Ben Tyler, who finds out he has terminal cancer. With only a couple months to live, he sets out on motorcycle for a week long adventure across Canada, from Toronto, ON to Tofino, BC. Ben stops at many iconic landmarks and meets many people along the way who help him to find meaning in his life.
I loved and enjoyed this movie because it is Canadian!!! (and also because it was great all around). The other movies on this list, and many more that are not, are mostly set in America or Europe. Canada is a massive country (second largest in the world), and there are more things to see and do here than one can imagine. So I was excited and happy to see a film set in Canada about a Canadian adventure :)
What are some of your favourite travel or adventure themed movies? Perhaps a TV Show? Let me know below in the comments!