Sometimes life gets in the way of being able to travel as much as you’d like. For those times, I like to escape through one of my other favorite past times, going to the movies! Below is a partial list of some of my favorite travel-inspired films to help you get through being grounded.
One of my top go-to travel inspiration films, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a character that many of us can relate to. Walter starts the movie living a pretty unextraordinary day to day life, choosing to live out his adventures solely in his imagination. Pushed out of his comfort-zone Walter must chase famed photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) around the world to recover the film negative that was to be the final cover for Life Magazine. As the movie goes on, and Walter has more real-life adventures, he begins to stop living so much in his own imagination and more in his own life. I think that’s something we can all strive for.
“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”
–Walter Mitty, reciting Life Magazine’s Motto
Much like Walter Mitty, Hector (Simon Pegg) is, deep-down, looking for something more from life. As a psychiatrist, he feels like he is failing to help his patients become happier people and goes in search of the keys to happiness, for them and himself. Through the experiences he has and the people he meets on his journeys he begins to understand that happiness is more about the journey than the destination.
“There a big difference between being here, and being here to be photographed being here.”
Midnight in Paris (2011)
This film speaks to those who have not only dreamed of traveling to a new place but also to a different time as well. Gil (Owen Wilson) is visiting Paris with his fiancée (Rachael McAdams) and her overwhelming family. Escaping for some alone time he takes a solo walk one evening and finds himself transported to 1920s Paris where he encounters F. Scott (Tom Hiddleston) & Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), and Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody). While it’s easy to romanticize the past, it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.
That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me.
Up in the Air (2009)
This film always makes me want to become a high flying, frequent flyer point accumulating, road warrior. As Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) says, “All the things you probably hate about traveling. . . are warm reminders that I’m home.” I always feel a little like Ryan as I make my way thru the airport with precision efficiency comparing myself to the common traveler struggling with their overpacked bags, searching for their ID, and fighting to get their back shoes on (Global Entry was worth it just to keep my shoes on and my laptop in the bag. Seriously).
“Life’s better with company. Everyone needs a co-pilot.”
How could Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) not make anyone’s list of top travel movies? The man is synonymous with adventure. While I would choose any of these movies (Yes… any of them. Looking at you Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), I had to go with my favorite, The Last Crusade. It has Indy, his dad (Sean Connery), Marcus (Denholm Elliott), Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), and of course, Nazis. If Nazis are in an Indy movie, it’s going to be a good time. I can’t look at a flight tracker without hearing the theme song play in my head.
“You call this archaeology?”
–Professor Henry Jones
Roman Holiday (1953)
A stressed out Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) escapes her handlers in Rome and has a chance encounter with American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) and together they run around the Italian capital for a vacation romance, however fleeting, that we all hope to have once in our lives. Not only a great travel movie but also my favorite Audrey Hepburn movie.
“The best thing I know is to do exactly what you wish for a while.”
Walk, Don’t Run (1966)
Taking place during the Tokyo Olympics in the 1960s, we follow two Brits (Cary Grant, Samantha Eggar) and an American Olympian (Steve Davis) sharing an apartment in the already overcrowded city. This is a great film to watch with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics right around the corner and one of my favorites as it was Grant’s last movie (although I wish he could have made many more).
Aiko Kurawa: [Referring to bedlam at police headquarters] “You say all you have to do is place an advertisement on the bulletin board?”
Christine Easton: “Uh-huh.”
Do you agree with the movies on my list? What are your favorite travel movies? Add them in the comments below and help me, and everyone else, add to their travel movie library.