14 fabulous films to ignite the wanderlust within

I’ve previously talked about books and movies inspiring people to get out there and see the world, so I thought I would share some of my favourites. So in no particular order, here goes…

1. Lost in Translation – Japan

It may come as no surprise that someone who writes a lot about the Land of the Rising Sun would choose this film. Some call it a beautiful and touching story of loneliness and friendship, others would argue that this movie is just plain dull (err… Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Tokyo – what’s not to like?!). I would encourage anyone with an interest in Japan to watch it and it may even inspire you to have your own ‘Lost in Translation’ moment like I did!

Make like Scar-Jo on the Shibuya crossing

2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – India

Another movie I have written about before, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is similar to Lost in Translation in that it tells a story of friendship and people who are thrown out of their comfort zone – namely a bunch of retirees who didn’t expect to be spending their golden years in chaotic India. I haven’t yet been to India but it’s on my list and I’m looking forward to watching the sequel to this film.

3. The Beach – Thailand

The Beach is one that sparked a whole generation of backpackers to grab their passports and fly to Thailand to discover their own secret beach paradise. Based on the book by Alex Garland, I have to say that in my opinion, Hollywood pretty much butchered it. There are quite a few differences between the movie and the book (I much prefer the book) but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the film and all that lush scenery.

4. Eat, Pray, Love – Italy, India, Indonesia

Another film adaptation of a book, this is the story of a woman named Elizabeth Gilbert and her journey of self-discovery after a divorce. She travels to Italy to eat, India to pray and Bali to, well, I’ll let you find out. This time round I enjoyed the film much more than the book as it was a lot more condensed and not as intense on self-talk, plus all those shots of Bali made me want to go there even more than I did before.

5. Hector and the search for happiness – China, Africa, USA

This movie, rather than being about “finding yourself” is about finding what makes people happy. Hector is a psychiatrist who jets off to China to do just that. This is a bit of an odd choice to include on this list because while it inspires travel and being happy, quite a few dark things happen to Hector on his journeys which could quite easily have the opposite effect!

6. The Inbetweeners 2 – Australia

Perhaps another odd choice if you are familiar with The Inbetweeners tv show (the British one, not the travesty that is the American version). While I didn’t find the first movie as funny as I had expected, I loved the sequel! Sure, cringeworthy things happen all the way through, but I bet it has inspired even more students than ever to head off on an adventure Down Under.

7. The Hangover – Las Vegas, USA

The Hangover is probably a grown-up version of The Inbetweeners – lads getting carried away and all that! I love any movie set in Vegas but the first Hangover movie is definitely the best. It’s far fetched but you’d be disappointed if it wasn’t over the top in this city of excess.

Viva Las Vegas!

8. Sex and the City 2 – Abu Dhabi, UAE / Marrakech, Morocco

And now for the girls getaway… Sex and the City 2 – I’ve written about before in my girl’s guide to Marrakech, although the movie is based in Abu Dhabi, it was actually filmed in Marrakech. Definitely one to make you crave your own glamourous and exotic journey to the Middle East when you watch Carrie and pals living it up in that swish hotel.

9. Tomb Raider – Cambodia

As someone who played (and completed!) the first few Tomb Raider games on the PlayStation 1, Lara Croft was a bit of a teenage hero of mine – a strong female character going on adventures around the world to find hidden treasures, and then returning to that fabulous mansion with swimming pool and butler – jealous! Tomb Raider sees Lara Croft (played by Angelina Jolie) running around Angkor Wat in Cambodia – a place that looks so mysterious and beautiful (despite the tourists) that I imagine photographs don’t do it justice.

10. Just Go With It – Hawaii

Starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston – the plot of this movie seems a little strange and silly – Sandler’s character convinces his assistant (Aniston) to pretend to be his ex-wife in order to cover up a lie he told his girlfriend?! Far fetched, yes, but I say – just go with it! The lead actresses in this movie gave me serious hair and body envy but most of all I was jealous of the laid-back holiday vibes and Hawaiian sunshine – why haven’t I been to Hawaii yet?!

11. Blended – South Africa

Another Adam Sandler movie, but this time with Drew Barrymore as leading lady, where they find that one bad blind date leads them to holidaying together with their respective children at a family resort in Africa. They have lots of fun on safari, riding quad bikes and other shenanigans, that I even felt a pang of end-of-holiday blues (as you do) when it was the last night of their vacation!

12. Mamma Mia – Skopelos, Greece

Mamma Mia did for Greece what The Beach did for Thailand. With a soundtrack of ABBA songs, Mamma Mia is set against a backdrop of the blue skies and white-washed buildings of Skopelos Island. Even if ABBA isn’t your thing, you can’t deny that scenery looks stunning.

Agios Ioannis Chapel

13. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Iceland/Greenland

Walter is a daydreamer. He fantasizes about these exciting scenarios and amazing adventures, yet his life is pretty humdrum – until his job is threatened and he decides to embark on an adventure to track down a missing negative from a mysterious photographer. Filmed in Iceland (but set in Iceland and Greenland) this movie inspires us to live life to its fullest.

14. Up – Venezuela

Last but not least, no movie list is complete without an animated offering. One of my favourites, this film is sad and touching but also funny and uplifting – quite literally when the lead character, an old man named Carl Frederickson, ties thousands of balloons to his house to lift it up and away on a journey to Paradise Falls, South America (a fictitious place inspired by Angel Falls in Venezuela). A place he and his late wife had always dreamed of going but never quite got there. Perhaps one of the most iconic and memorable quotes from this film is ‘Adventure is out there’ and I couldn’t think of a more apt way to end this post!

What are your favourite movies to inspire wanderlust?

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  1. Stopped by as part of Suzie’s Blog Party. This post really spoke to the screenwriter in me. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I was literally just on your blog too 🙂

  2. I love these movies – most of them I have seen. Really related to the “Lost in Translation” as I lived in Japan and felt so isolated and lonely and weird. Walter Mitty and Hector are both great movies as well. Have been watching the BBC – Human Planet and how cultures around the world manage to survive in their challenging environments – and now I want to drop everything and go and explore the world!!!

    1. Oh wow how long did you live in Japan for? I haven’t seen Human Planet but it sounds interesting.

  3. I’ve actually seen about half of these movies already – I’d venture to add Midnight in Paris and To Rome, with Love if you can stomach Woody Allen. He makes the cities a character in his films…great post! Visiting over from Susie’s Blog Party 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 I haven’t seen either of those movies but I hear Midnight in Paris is good.

      1. It is – the other one is not so good but I’ll watch anything with Italy as a backdrop 🙂

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