Whether it's the person that dictates your life or the person that lurks somewhere underneath waiting to be uncovered, there's undoubtedly a traveller in all of us. If you think you fall into the second category, this list of films might just help to spark that passion for travelling you never knew existed, or even just give you some ideas for potential destinations. In either case, watching films for research can't be a bad thing.
Into The Wild
Sean Penn's film based on the true story of backpacker Christopher McCandless who set off into the Alaskan wilderness to find himself is more than just our blog's namesake and a powerful study of relationships and independence; it's a celebration of adventure and travelling, of getting off the beaten track and really exploring what the wilderness has to offer. The scenery throughout is utterly compelling and beautiful, and anyone looking to explore American or Canadian regions ought to give this one a look in.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
This is a film that really epitomises the urge for an individual to travel - so much so that even the trailer is likely to raise hairs on the back of your neck and having you champing at the bit to get up and see the world. Like the eponymous Walter Mitty, it's not uncommon to feel stuck in life, to feel like your situation is definite and there's no escape, but the film shows us that all it takes is that first step. Watch it and be inspired to make the decision, pack your bags and step out the front door. It won't be something you regret.
Midnight In Paris
One of Woody Allen's better films in recent years, Midnight In Paris is essentially a love letter to France. As it delightfully whisks between both present day and historical time frames, we're given a taste for a country with an incredibly rich culture and compelling history. Impressively, though, the film sells France and Europe as much as it does Paris, and is bound to have you longing for a dash of European culture.
The Darjeeling Limited
Irreverence and wackiness are prominent in Wes Anderson's predictably peculiar tale of three brothers navigating India's vast railways, but it's the combination of enamouring visuals and a truthful, layered depiction of the incredible people who live there which leave the strongest impact. Painting a wonderfully broad, detailed picture of a country with immeasurable substance and culture, it would be hard watch The Darjeeling Limited and not feel an unquenchable desire to get out and travel this country in a similar way - or, indeed, travel any country.
Have you ever felt like dropping everything, buying a camel and trekking across Australia? Perhaps not, but while Robyn Davidson (played by Mia Wasikowska, in another true story) displayed an extreme example of backpacking, there's so much in Tracks to inspire a similar kind of exploratory desire. This is a film which romanticizes the idea of forming a relationship with nature and really getting lost in a vast and beautiful landscape. It reminds us of the world beyond our hectic, technologically-driven lives, a world where we can look up and actually see the stars, a world that demands to be explored and appreciated.
So whether you're thinking of seeing the world, getting involved as a volunteer somewhere or you're just curious to see whether there's a fire under you waiting to be lit, hopefully these films will whet your appetite and provide you with the nudge you need. Travelling is a wonderful thing that should be experienced by everyone in some capacity, so don't wait. Get yourself on the couch before you get yourself out the door!
Check out 'Into the Wild' for more articles like this.
Edward Gardiner is an Online Media Intern for Frontier, a non-profit conservation NGO that helps people plan their gap year with over 300 opportunities to volunteer abroad and take part in adventure travel across the globe.