As the holiday season swiftly comes to an end, many of us begin to yearn for a time when our lives will no longer be contained by the limited space between the kitchen fridge and living room couch. To help garner ideas for trips to come, we’ve put together a list of 10 movies guaranteed to awaken the wanderer in even the most sedentary of spectators.
1. Into the Wild
A quintessential piece for free-spirited adventure-seekers, Into the Wild is a film that follows one footloose wanderer on his journey across the North American continent. The biographical story of protagonist Christopher McCandless (an actual historical figure) is one completely devoid of comforts of modern travel. Into the Wild makes for an excellent, nostalgia-evoking exploration of the resilience of the human spirit and our deep-seated, irresistible desire to roam.
Where the film takes you: Georgia – US West Coast – Alaska
2. Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation is a slow-paced, pensive motion picture telling the story of a two lost souls’ chance encounter in a foreign land. Neon-lit Tokyo is shown through a dreamy lens, one that helps transport viewers into the land of magnificent cherry blossoms and hectic street life as seen through the eyes of a cultural outsider. The stellar cast (Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson) add to the film’s appeal.
Where the film takes you: Tokyo, Japan
3. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel & The Darjeeling Limited
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a light-hearted exploration of the eternal “never too late” motif, following the life and wacky adventures of a struggling Indian hotel’s residents who have travelled half-way across the globe for retirement. Those enthralled by the film’s setting may also enjoy Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited – a story of three brothers’ travel to India in hopes of re-connecting after the loss of their father (filmed in the acclaimed director’s distinctive style).
Where the films take you: India
4. The Bucket List
Starring the brilliant Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, The Bucket List is a movie classic that tells a spirit-raising story of two unlikely travel companions (who initially happen to share a ward for terminally ill cancer patients) circling the globe in an attempt to complete their lives’ to-do lists. These happen to include some of the most scenic locations around the world, from the Pyramids of Giza to Tanzanian wilderness to the Great Wall of China.
5. Under the Tuscan Sun
Although the movie itself may not be the brightest example of excellent cinematography, Under the Tuscan Sun certainly succeeded in capturing the one-of-a-kind ambiance of the fabled Italian province of Tuscany, making the shortcoming of its rather straightforward storyline easy to overlook.
Where the film takes you: Tuscany, Italy
Exploring similar motifs to the acclaimed Into the Wild, the film narrates a story of one woman’s loss and recovery, all while following her way across the thousand-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail – a route she chooses to travel solo, in hopes of getting over her mother’s tragic passing. Her journey isn’t without calamities, all of which play out against a changing backdrop of desert landscapes, endless fields, and godforsaken dirt trails.
Where the film takes you: US Pacific Crest Trail
7. Y Tu Mamá También
Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too) was an instant success when it first came out in 2001, despite the uproar caused by the film’s controversial subject matter. A Mexican production that made it big worldwide, this road movie is a story of an incidental trio of travelers on their way to the fictitious beach of Boca del Cielo, a place fabricated by two male teenagers headed for a journey of self-discovery in the company of their new acquaintance Luisa – a recently cheated-on twenty-something.
Where the film takes you: Mexico
8. Motorcycle Diaries
The grand 8-month motorcycle journey portrayed in this film is an adventure that served as inspiration to one of history’s most prominent leaders. Based on the memoirs of iconic revolutionary Che Guevara, the film traces his route as he makes his way across the South American continent in the company of a good friend and garners inspiration for his life’s work.
Where the film takes you: South America
9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Co-starring Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a whacky fantasy adventure spanning locations across the globe (most scenes were, however, filmed in Iceland – including those set in Greenland, the Himalayas and Afghanistan).
Where the film takes you: Iceland
10. A Map of Saturday
One of the most highly regarded travel films of all time, A Map of Saturday is a documentary telling the story of one reckless enthusiast who quits his stable job to follow a lifelong dream of travelling the world – and does so successfully while living out of his back pack for an entire year. A Map of Saturday takes the bad with the good, depicting the rewarding parts of travel together with some of its most challenging lows, and serving as testament to the old-time “where there’s a will, there’s a way” adage.
Where the film takes you: North & South America, Europe, Australia, Asia