Arts and Science

Movies That Fueled My Wanderlust


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Following a previous post about songs that inspired my travel adventures, I thought it would be a nice idea to share another list: I’ve prepared a selection of movies that have kindled my nomadic spirit.

  • The Motorcycle Diaries – The only movie I saw in a movie theatre more than once, this is the dramatization of Che Guevara’s road trip. It shows how values can change based on what you see on the road.
  • The Way – One man’s personal journey on the camino de Santiago. ‘Life’s too big to walk it alone‘ is the movie tag line. Anyone who rents this should buy a backpack too!
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation – The Griswald family embark on a road trip across the country to the Wally World theme park. Comedy gold with Chevy Chase.
  • Into The Wild – A tragic true story about a wandering soul and daring adventurer with a kick-ass soundtrack from Eddie Vedder. Alaska was the first place I went after leaving Miami in 2011, experiencing the great outdoors firsthand through hiking and fishing.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Cult classic and hilarious movie about a mind-bending trip to Sin City.
  • Lawrence of Arabia – I was kidnapped by a Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Part of this movie was filmed there and that’s what took me there. Next time I’ll contact my friends in the tribal council before I arrive, a lesson I should have learned from Larry.
  • Seven Years in Tibet – Made me want to befriend the Dalai Lama but couldn’t get past his security. Fun fact, myself and Brad Pitt share the same birthday.
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – I watched this on an international flight from Tokyo to LA, and maybe it was the environment, the movie was much better than the book . A nice reminder that traveling and following your dreams is possible for anyone.
  • The Razor’s Edge – A movie from ’84 featuring the legendary Bill Murray telling the story of one man’s search…for himself.
  • 180 Degrees South – Watching this has delayed my plans to go to Patagonia until I get a sponsorship from Patagonia and Columbia.
  • The Bucket List – Having faced mortality every day for a decade in the hospice care industry, I can relate to people who wish they had sprinkled their lives with a little more daring adventure. This movie showed that it’s never too late.
  • The Endless Summer – The reason behind me buying my Volkswagen bus and traveling around the country. I only actually surfed one time, managing to successfully catch a wave. Best percentage completion surf in world – 100%.
  • Easy Rider – In high school, I remember ordering the movie sound track from Germany because they didn’t sell it in US. Peter Fonda was reason I purchased a motorbike when I lived Mexico.
  • Eat, Pray, Love – Inspired by the book, it speaks to the current generation of nomad spirits that want to break free, explore and find a deeper purpose in their lives.
  • 3 Idiots – An excellent comedy set in various places around India which I managed to see up close. It was recommended to me by new friends while I stayed in Ladakh, India.
  • Central Station – Partly responsible for what made me love the Portuguese language. Even now when I walk through train stations, or see people taking dictation on typewriters, it gives me saudade of my time in Brazil.
  • Little Miss Sunshine – I initially couldn’t admit that I had seen it because my sister had dated Greg Kinnear and prohibited me from seeing any of his movies, though I begrudgingly acknowledge its brilliance.

What movies have inspired you to travel?


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70 Comments

  • This is a pretty cool topic, I seen a great many movies where the music either causes me to want to visit the location, but mostly I listen to the music and become engaged with the lyrics and thus end up in another place and time and the words speak to my current or previous “real-life” situation or future desires.
    (1) My Fair Lady – https://youtu.be/0udu4KYv1zI – I would very much like to see that street and see if atmosphere is really the same as depicted in the movie. It seems enchanting yet not like some magical place…
    (2) Point of No Return – https://youtu.be/R2ZQIMPzqOY?list=PLDfhFuWxQ02Kn3geIuDABxj2JPTmXckWN – DC has always been a foreign place for me I would love to wake up on a street in DC a crisp early fall day, leave are hanging on the trees by a tread of brown rope and the sun is shining bright, no where to go just a hang out day, a good cup of java and Nina in the background – I’ve still waiting on my “Feel Good New Day, New Dawn moment where I AM FEELING GOOD…
    Ok sorrry thought it was going to be 3 but I gotta go, email is calling my name. Thanks for this post…

  • You actually listed so many of the movies that have inspired me. “Walking the camino:six ways to Santiago” has been the last great documentary I saw and got me closer to my next journey, El camino de Santiago. Thank you for your inspiration and zest for life.

  • Well, off the top of my head I can only think of a TV series called, “Burn Notice”. It inspired me to want to go down the 7 mile bridge from Miami to the Keys. It’s on my Bucket list. Enjoyed your connecting these movies to travel experiences.

  • I am saving this list for sure. I haven’t seen quite a few of these, and now I definitely want to. Into The Wild is top of the list – anything that involves Eddie Vedder is going to be showing everything else out of the way for me 🙂

  • The Way, was definitely an inspiration for me. Although I had made up my mind to do the Camino Frances before I watched it, this movie fuelled that desire in me. Under the Tuscan Sun is my all time favourite and a dream of mind. Rebuilding your life and an old home and all in Italy.

  • Going back a little further to all time classic travel inducing movies:
    African Queen (Bogart and Bacall)
    Around the World in 80 Days
    The Sound of Music
    The Way the West was Won

  • Nice list. I have seen most of them.

    If you are interested in Bollywood movies then popular Indian Travel Movies are – Dil Chahata hai, Zindagi na milegi dobara, Anjaana Anjaani, Jab we met, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

    Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge is still in Mumbai theaters since the last 20 years 🙂

  • Cool post. I’d say from your list, The Bucket List; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; and Eat, Pray, Love (though the book inspired me more than the movie).

    And then I’d add Under the Tuscan Sun, Midnight in Paris,The Last Holiday, A Room with a View, the Bourne series, James Bond movies (pretty much all of them), and Babel.

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