Every movie you watch transports you to an actual location on the map or to some made up place from the minds of its filmmakers. Some of these places stay with you long after you have left the theater, shut off your computer, or turned off your television. From breathtaking vistas to cobblestone cities with winding streets, movies motivate you to travel to a new destination. Here are some of my favorites, to offer you an escape if you are unable to take your own adventure. For the future traveler, I hope they will inspire the wanderer in you to pack your bags and set off to create your own story.
We’ll start off on a journey around the world with the Goodwin family. In Given, a six-year-old boy narrates the story of his family’s adventures and their quest to fulfill a legacy of taking travel expeditions. Their 14-month trip starts on the black sand beaches of Iceland with its contrasting white mountains as a backdrop. They venture on to Ireland’s rolling green pastures dotted with sheep. Then to the brightly colored outdoor markets in Israel, “the land of milk and honey.” A man that dances with snakes in Thailand and monks in bright crimson robes in Nepal will captivate you.
Given transports you to 15 countries with the Goodwin’s, celebrating birthdays, witnessing breathtaking sienna sunsets, and dancing with locals. Many other places they visited are on my bucket list Peru, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Senegal, and Fiji. Are they on yours?
Our next movie adventure takes us to the quaint countryside of France with actress Diane Lane. Lane portrays, a neglected married woman who is traveling to France with her husband’s business partner in Paris Can Wait. It’s a foodie’s delight, they consume fresh fruit, bread, homemade sausage, pasteurized cheese, gourmet meals, and excellent wine, as they road trip to Paris.
The Disney movie Coco transports the entire family to the colorful world and culture of Mexico. It is Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. When the leading character, Miguel, pursues his dream to become a musician, Coco takes us on a mystical adventure to the Land of the Dead. Multi-colored flags decorate the plaza, and orange flowers adorn the bridge. The film also treats us to the accordions, singing, and guitars of the mariachi band, the music of Mexico.
Another great animated movie is the Oscar-nominated and award-winning, Klaus. Set in the northernmost city of Smeerensburg, that once existed in the real-world as a whaling town in Scandinavia. At first introduction it is a dismal, dreary, and dangerous place where all the townspeople are in a terminal feud, not at all where you would want to visit. It’s a story about a pretentious postman, Jesper, sent to the middle of nowhere to start a postal service. He befriends Klaus, a statuesque man living isolated in the woods who makes toys.
Jesper implements a letter-writing campaign, where the children write letters to Klaus for toys, and they deliver them. This Santa origin story has reindeer, stockings by the fireplace, and a workshop in the forest. While Smeerensburg no longer exists, this movie will leave you wanting to learn more about the region and its culture.
The Way follows Martin Sheen’s character on a trip to recover the remains of his son who died while walking the Camino de Santiago, a Christian pilgrimage from France to Spain. He decides to continue for him, trekking through medieval villages and lush farmland. Along his route he befriends an international bunch of characters, each on their own personal expedition to the tomb of St. James the Apostle.
Having walked the Camino myself with a group of teens a few years ago, this movie is a fairly accurate depiction of the pilgrimage and ignites my desire to walk it again on a solo journey.
Letters to Juliet is a delightful romantic comedy set in Verona, Italy on the river Adige. It is a tale of love discovered in a letter left for Shakespeare’s Juliet at Casa di Giulietta, the House of Juliet. This movie helps you escape to one of Italy’s largest cities. It will have you dreaming of finding romance in the beautiful Italian countryside with its grandiose villas, family-owned vineyards, and lush hills where time seems to have stopped.
The most well-known movie that tells an adventurous travel tale is Into the Wild. It’s an epic story of a young man’s solo quest to take to the road and live off the land in the wilderness of Alaska. The 49th State of the U.S. is presented with breathtaking vistas that can quickly turn dangerous because of harsh weather conditions in its back-country terrain.
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but nature more."
~Lord Byron opens the movie Into the Wild
Where Can I Watch These Movies?
Given: Rent or Buy on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes
Paris Can Wait: Rent or Buy on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes
CoCo: Rent on Disney+, Rent or Buy on Amazon Prime and Google Play
Klaus: Rent on Netflix
The Way: Rent or Buy on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes
Letters to Juliet: Rent or Buy onGoogle Playand iTunes. Buy on Amazon Prime
Into the Wild: Rent or Buy on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes