Movies are like magic, they transport us to a bygone era so that we may learn lessons in history; they take us to the future so that we may see the promise of what is to come; and they make everything impossible seem possible. These are pretty much the same things that travel does for me.
Every traveler has a list of movies which inspired him to break away from the norm, seek his own direction and satisfy the inner yearnings of his soul for undiscovered places; strangers with whom they can share their love of travel; and partake of cuisines novel to their palates.
Here is my very own list of movies that inspired my wanderlust. They make my heart go pitter-patter every time I watch them and they make me want to pack my bags and leave everything behind in reckless abandon. My unrestrained desires to travel somewhere new and strange is an addiction with no cure in sight.
Mamma Mia (Greece)
We danced on the beach, kissed on the beach and dot, dot, dot.
I love Abba because I grew up listening to them so it was such a delight to see a movie filmed in Greece with a soundtrack full of nothing but ABBA songs. The movie may pale in comparison to my list of critically-acclaimed favorites but the sights of Greece just makes me want to sell all my possessions and go there, pronto! Sadly, that is something, which I cannot afford to do as of now so I am going to satisfy my Greek cravings for now by watching this movie over and over again.
Under the Tuscan Sun (Italy)
Never lose your childish innocence. It’s the most important thing.
If you are battling some overwhelming emotions, I always find traveling a great comfort and this is just what Diane Lane’s character in the movie did. She eventually found love and a new beginning with the beauty of Tuscany, Italy as the backdrop. The characters and the story are superb and if I find myself in a rut, I am going to watch this film again to get inspiration.
Lost in Translation (Japan)
The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.
I can never forget the scene when they were shooting a Japanese whiskey commercial. I was in fits of laughter while watching that scene. A lonely aging movie star and a young newlywed found each other in Japan and end up with a growing connection to each other. Dynamic Tokyo is the perfect backdrop for two people who are not only lost in a strange place but also lost in their personal relationships.
Midnight in Paris (France)
We all fear death and question our place in the universe. The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.
To walk the streets of Paris is one of my lifelong dreams. If I get to do that and meet literary colossi at the same time just like Owen Wilson did in this movie, it would be a dream come true. Paris is definitely on my bucketlist. I would like to sit in one of the cafes, eat macaroons and watch the pedestrians passing by, How French! Joie de vivre!
Julie and Julia (France)
You are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life.
This movie has three of the things I love the most in this world, cooking, writing and Paris! I now understand that France is just too picturesque to have only just one movie with it as one of the major characters. France and food, just the perfect combination!
Eat, Pray, Love (Italy, Indonesia, India)
Listen, balance, my darling, is not letting anybody love you less than you love yourself.
This movie starred one of my favorite Hollywood actresses and it was about traveling to various places to find oneself so it didn’t take so much prodding to persuade me to watch the movie. The vibrant colors of India, the beaches of Bali and the cuisine of Italy; all very beautiful things for travelers to look forward to. I am very fortunate to have been to Bali already and it was just magical.
Only You (Italy)
To almost love a woman, and then lose her; enjoy the pain…
Do you believe in destiny? How far are you willing to go for destiny? This obscure movie which starred no less than the charming, handsome and young Robert Downey Jr. and the equally gorgeous Marisa Tomei, gave me endless dreams of the Mediterranean. I dreamt that I had salt and sea on my hair while traversing the tricky waters of love.
The King and I (Thailand)
When a woman who has much to say says nothing, her silence can be deafening.
This movie may not be historically accurate but the costumes; the two lead stars, Jodie Foster and Show Yun Fat; as well as the scenery just beckons the viewer to go to Thailand (ancient Siam) and discover the culture, the people and the cuisine. I must admit that I do not like love stories but King Mongkut’s and Anna’s love story is just endearing. Although the movie did not earn as much money as expected in the box office, I still prefer it from that of Yul Brynner’s.