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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  • Seven years in Tibet, Bucket Lists, Eat, pray and love and Little miss sunshine, 3 idiots, all sound like movies I would love…
    thanks for sharing!

  • NIce list Peter. You’ve stirred my wanderlust just by reading it! I’ve seen some of the movies on your list, but now have more to see. TV shows like Born Free, Disney and Jaque Cousteau are what fueled my wanderlust. I admire how much you’ve traveled and fed your travel itch.

  • I already had the travel bug in me from the get-go, but I can totally relate with Eat, Pray, Love.

  • So many. Eat Pray Love is a great one. Lost in Translation- Japan. Angels and Demons – Italy. Midnight in Paris- France. Vicki Christina Barcelona – Spain. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Prague. Even the simple flashback scenes in rural Sicily from Godfather 2. ☺

  • Into The Wild…I kind of love that film but it also kind of frustrates me. I could never remember the name of it but my husband knew exactly what I was talking about when I said “The film where the guy makes the really stupid mistake”. Lovely soundtrack though, and very beautiful film.

  • Did you see the Reese Witherspoon one – ‘Wild’? I definitely wanted to hike after that, scary as it seemed at times! Great list.

  • I don’t know about others but The Hangover series had definitely instilled a desire to visit Thailand and Hong Kong. Then there’s all those animes beckoning me to Japan. My blood making me wander into the farthest corners of India. There’s then Spain that I came to love, source of which is still at large…
    Vietnam from my History classes, Canada, for it snows there…
    It’s not just movies or rather lets say other mediums inspired my wanderlust other than films….

  • I’m totally a sucker for fame.. Your sister dated Greg kinear? Awesome!! I love Little Miss Sunshine too :). I need to watch Eat, Pray, Love

  • I don’t have a movie that made me want to travel. Mine was a single event, a trip to South Dakota with my parents when I was but a young man. It was the only vacation we ever took. Later, when I got to travel with work for the first time, I was hooked forever. I go every chance I get. Just got back from a return trip to South Dakota with my kids and mother. Awesome.

    Great post you have here.

  • Another travel movie junkie here, too. I’ve seen most of your list and absolutely loved 180 degrees South and Eat Pray Love. And I like your blog, too! But how can one ever recover from being a travel junkie. It’s in our blood, always. 🙂

  • I’m definitely going to have to watch some of these! As soon as I saw the title I knew The Secret Life of Walter Mitty had to be on there! I have a feeling you would love Away We Go, it’s my favorite and would fit nicely in this list.

  • Check out “The Man Who Would be King”, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine 😉

  • A great list and some of my personal favorites. Your writing and blog is amazing and inspires me as I am just starting out. I relate through your writing to personal experiences in the search of finding a greater meaning on this journey we call life. Thank you ❤️

  • Amazing life, but I bet you already knew that! So inspiring.
    Would be so grateful if you could check out my blog, thank you.

  • In terms of movies that inspire me to travel, I’d have to go with Goonies and Stand by Me. They’re movies about friends who set off on adventures. In truth, one reason I don’t travel much is my belief that traveling is an experience you share. Sooner or later, I’ll get to a place that I can travel more I think.

  • I think I originally got itchy feet by moving from BC, Canada to Southern California when I was six. We motored down #101 and the views were spectacular. Movies made me want to travel even more; movies like Tarzan and King Kong let me see the world is a fascinating place.

  • You might want to check one of my former neighbors’ blog ( This guy came all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Czech Republic riding his bicycle. After a few months resting, getting his new visa and fixing his bike, he decided to get back on the road and to travel all South America. He also was on the Stampede Trail and in Christopher McCandless’ Magic Bus 142. You can also find him on Facebook. Personally, “Into the wild” is one of my favorite movies of all times. I love the title of your book (spiritually promiscuous). Take care.

  • You should check out The Long Way Round. It’s not a movie but a tv series, with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman driving around the world on their motorbikes. I think it’s on YouTube, and maybe Netflix – it’s awesome 🙂

  • How about “Tracks” a single woman’s journey through the Australian desert? Or “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed with Reese Witherspoon? Being a woman I prefer these movies -and book. Thanks for liking my posts

  • I need to look some of these up, I’ve always had itchy feet so travelling whenever I could was just a given. The travel book Wild, inspired me in a different way though, when my little girl had cancer this year and we spent from Jan till July with tests, surgery and treatment that book reminded me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Not always an easy thing to do.

  • I have seen most of these movies…. One of my recent one was ‘the way ” ..really loved watching it! 🙂

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