I started to realize I had a travel obsession when all my favorite movies were based on travel adventures. Once I’ve finished watching any of these movies, I feel the instant urge to pack up everything and head out to explore the world. The best travel movies have always helped to inspire my own personal travel goals. So if you’re looking for some motivation to push you into a backpacking adventure of your own, sit down and watch a couple of these great flicks with a bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine, and a friend. It’s the next best thing to actually traveling! Here goes 10 best movies based on traveling.
1.The Motorcycle Diaries
The Motorcycle Diaries is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s about the true story of two medical students embarking on a 5 month motorcycle trip across South America in order to use their medical training to volunteer for a remote leper colony along the Amazon river. The film is based on the personal journals of latin American revolutionary Che Guevara, and highlights the freedom, adventure, and personal discovery that is part of the travel experience. It’s a beautiful movie about one of the most influential people to have ever lived, whether you think his influence was good or bad is up to you. If you haven’t seen this yet, watch it now.
180 Degrees South is a documentary that follows the adventure of a group of friends as they travel to Patagonia in the spirt of their heros. They pack their surfboards and climbing gear as they sail and drive along the South American coast, learning about the losing battle against industrialization and the destruction of the natural world. Modern commercial interests fed by the growing human consumption of disposable goods is ruining our planet, and the film shows what some brave people are doing to try and stop it. The movie’s beautiful scenery and fantastic soundtrack mix together with a strong message and travel adventure to create a true work of art.
Que Tan Lejos (How Much Further) is set in Ecuador, as Esperanza and Tristeza try to get from the capital city of Quito to the town of Cuenca. It is normally a 5 hour bus ride. The two women decide to hitchhike when local strikes force their bus to stop. One girl is a local trying to stop the love of her life from getting married, while the other is a tourist from Spain. Along the way, they learn from each other while meeting interesting people who help them re-evaluate the purpose of their journeys. The film is filled with beautiful scenery from Ecuador, and gives an authentic portrayal of life in that country.
In July (Im Juli) is a movie about a road trip through eastern Europe and all the adventure that goes along with it. Daniel is a shy & boring young school teacher who never really does anything fun & exciting. He decides to break out of his shell while chasing a girl from Germany to Turkey on a crazy road trip that will change his life forever. His travel partner shows him what he’s been missing as they drive, hitchhike, walk, swim, get robbed, steal a car, get in fights, escape from jail, and bribe border guards to get to their ultimate destination. By the end of the adventure, he’s a changed person.
Revolutionary Road is about an American couple in the 1950′s who are filled with passion and excitement early in their lives. But when Frank and April get married, have kids, and move into a suburban neighborhood, they get hit with the monotony of daily life. Jobs that don’t fulfill them, a life that is less than they expected. Inside they feel special, this “normal” American lifestyle isn’t for them. They hatch a wild plan to leave it all behind and move to Paris. But then life gets in the way, and the plan falls apart. They become what they hate, another typical American couple with lost dreams. I loved this movie because their situation is exactly what I’m afraid of.
L’auberge Espangnole (The Spanish Apartment) is about a young, slightly uptight Economics student who goes on an exchange program in Barcelona to learn Spanish before he lands a big job. Xavier is not that experienced with the world, and is in for a surprise when he moves into an apartment filled with international students. He has to learn to live with 6 other roommates from different corners of the globe, putting up with their cultural and personal differences. The adventures they have will open his eyes to what life can be. It’s a funny and realistic movie, based on the real life experiences of the director.
Lost in Translation is based on two separate travelers, Bob & Charlotte, visiting Tokyo at the same time. They meet each other and form a friendship as they experience confusion and hilarity in a strange and curious city. Bob is an aging actor starring in commercials, while Charlotte is the bored wife of a photographer there on business. They are an unlikely pair, experiencing a degree of loneliness in a foreign city filled with millions of people. This is another beautifully shot film that also shows how funny and interesting traveling in a new country can be. Little random things that happen to you while traveling can sometimes be the most memorable moments.
A Good Year is about a high powered London stock broker who’s favorite uncle passes away, leaving him a chateau and vineyard in France. When he visits to quickly prepare the property to be sold for millions, he gets addicted to the laid back, stress-free lifestyle of the French countryside. He falls in love with a local goddess, and has fond flashbacks of his childhood at the chateau under the care of his womanizing uncle. The whole thing is very funny, and it’s a great date movie! The underlying theme is that there is much more to life than money, plus it will make you want to visit the South of France!
Encounters at the End of the World is an incredibly beautiful and funny movie about the people and animals who live in Antarctica. The film is done by Werner Herzog, one of my favorite directors. The individuals that work at the National Science Foundation research station are full of character, and most are permanent world travelers. Even if you’ve seen Discovery channel shows about Antarctica, this is totally different and fresh. I liked it much more than I thought I would, and it has earned a spot on my best travel movies list because as soon as it was over I wanted to pack up and head down there for a bit!
The Indiana Jones Collection of films are not particularly accurate travel movies, but they sure are fun! These movies helped plant the seed in my head many years ago. Who wouldn’t want to go searching for lost artifacts in remote jungles and deserts all over the world? Indy’s wild adventures have inspired many travelers over the years. It’s movies like these that make you wonder about remote corners of the globe. Sometimes group tours won’t cut it. Heading out by yourself into the unknown is a whole different kind of travel experience, and very rewarding. The Indiana Jones movies can help give you the courage to jump out there and do it.
Tags: 10 Best Movies based on Traveling, 180 Degrees South, A Good Year, best travel movies, Encounters at the End of the World, In July (Im Juli), Lost in Translation, L’auberge Espangnole, Que Tan Lejos, The Motorcycle Diaries
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