There are so many ways to travel these days. Whether you’re looking to get out of town for a long weekend with a quick city break, seeking some adventure with an African safari, or want to take it up a notch with a sabbatical and globe trot for a year, the possibilities are endless and usually depend on what you’re looking to get out of it.
Some people travel for romance, for family connection, for spiritual connection. Some people travel to eat, drink and be merry. Some, who are lucky enough, have travelled and done it all. So whilst the moment calls for all of us to stay home, we decided to turn to our favourite travel films to breathe a little life, variety and, who knows, maybe some inspiration, into our forays around the world. Grab the popcorn, pour yourself a glass of Pinot and press play on your next vicarious vacation – midi dress and espadrilles optional.
The Carefree City Break ROMAN HOLIDAY
Audrey Hepburn won an Academy Award for Best Actress in this undeniable classic that sees her playing a Princess stuck in luxurious confinement who evades her guardians and falls in love with an American news reporter in Rome. Aside from being one of my favourite Hepburn films of all time, with scenes depicting some of my favourite city escape activities of all time (I can sit at a café drinking espressos and people watch for hours upon end), one can’t deny the parallels towards everyone’s current situation that fuels the innate desire to elude captivity and dance through the streets à la this epic screen starlet. While staying home remains pivotal, we have Hepburn, and glorious shots of Rome, to keep us entertained.
The Family Summer Holiday CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Set during an endless Italian summer in the North during the 80s, Call Me By Your Name is as solid a film as it is a vacation from your living room sofa. Director Luca Guadagnino effortlessly transports us to a family villa painted in the most glorious colour palate reminiscent of our own summer escapes across Europe. As the story unfolds, one can’t help but feel transported to the easy, endless days of a summer holiday whilst watching the family sunbathe, impetuously jump and go swimming, congregate for unhurried meals al fresco, cycle into town to drink at bars, and in general, make me want to jump through the screen and join them instantly.
The Solo European Inter-Railing Trip BEFORE SUNRISE
Hopelessly romantic, and spanning two sequels, Before Sunset and Before Midnight (for extra viewing pleasure), Richard Linklater’s minimalistic tale of two strangers who meet on a train from Budapest and spend the night walking around Vienna getting to know each other always reminds me of the endless possibilities of travel. Travel has an almost magical way of providing opportunities for self-discovery through sequences of the spontaneous fuelled by uninhibited responses to a new environment. Being able to temporarily detach from the every day to a place where only experience and the company of others is important is why travelling is as good for the soul as it is for our complexion. A poignant film, not only for it’s strength in filmmaking and storytelling, but a gentle reminder of why we travel and why we’re all desperately missing it right now.
The Pack It Up & Globe Trot EAT, PRAY, LOVE
I know, I know, but it had to go on the list. The film, which recently helped me through the early stages of a tough breakup, and one which the VHS tape would’ve been exhausted by how many times I watched it whilst digging in to multiple tubs of Halo, is undeniably a fantastic film to inspire travel. If you’re Julia Roberts, when life gives you lemons you put all your belongings in storage and globe trot for a year. Hand on heart, I put everything in storage and planned an entire month in Bali shortly after my incessant binge of this movie, so suffice to say inspiration it does give. But beyond my own personal experience with the film, Eat, Pray, Love is as captivating as it is heart warming and a fantastic, easy watch that’ll make that fourth bowl of pasta in the last three days ever more enjoyable.
The Road Trip DUE DATE
Dudes, a dog, an impending birth and Robert Downey Jr. and Zak Galfianakis in a road trip comedy reminiscent of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, needs no introduction, but, if I must, it would start with the hilarious and raucous laughs you’ll be delivered from the moment you press play. We’ve all sat beside that person on the plane that simply doesn’t get the “I have my headphones in why do you keep trying to talk to me” memo, the annoying person on the road trip that refuses to just keep quiet and we’ve probably all had a couple itinerary mix-ups that have not gone down well. Due Date might, on the surface, lack any inspiration to start planning that road trip you’ve been discussing with your girlfriends as it sifts through one travel nightmare after another, but its happy ending reminds us that even the most disastrous trips create memories and bonds that outlive the bitter shoulda, coulda, woulda, moments.
The Romantic Getaway For Two TWO FOR THE ROAD
This romantic dramedy puts the infamous Ms. Hepburn on the list for a second entry in a movie where travel is a constant theme. The film, which starts by following a couple on a road trip in the South of France, uses flashbacks to look at past trips they’ve taken together that have influenced their relationship. There’s nothing better than enjoying a holiday with your S.O. – romantic candle-lit and wine-fuelled dinners, jaunts down tiny, cobblestone roads walking hand in hand, the unavoidable bickering over mis-read Google Maps directions (me, every time) and the blissful hotel room make-ups. Two For the Road is not only delightfully enjoyable as a watch, but the ‘one’ on our list that highlights why it’s so important for couples to get away together. Just don’t let me navigate.
The Spiritual, Life Affirming Trip THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Charming to say the least, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, instantly transcends time to place you alongside a delectable group of retirees who’ve decided to move to Jaipur. Alight with the vibrant colours of India, there’s moments throughout the film one feels they can literally touch, smell and taste a slice of the Fabulous East. Reminding us that renewed life and adventure waits in the most unexpected of places, that friendship is blind to time and culture, and that even hope can be found in a dilapidated, old hotel, this is a movie that instantly fuels one’s desire to explore the exotic and start planning that bucket list trip.
The African Safari OUT OF AFRICA
I have yet to go on safari in Africa, but when I do (a dream of mine, and, yes, the isolation planning is already underway), I imagine it to be much like Meryl Streep’s experience in Out of Africa – minus the syphilis, of course. This 7-time Oscar winner, which also stars Robert Redford and is directed by Sydney Pollack, was shot on location in the UK and Kenya and showcases breathtaking scenery through stellar cinematography. Upon its release in 1985 the Washington Post called it an “elevated form of tourism,” but for me it does more than that. It depicts the spirit of a culture and people, along with one of the most beautiful things that happens when we fully engross ourselves in a new place – the development of trust, undying friendship and a heightened respect for a part of the world so different from our own. It shows how to make the most of an experience by getting to know and learn from the local people who reside there and, in essence, reminds us why we should always be inspired to travel.
The Conscious Getaway THE BEACH
Danny Boyle delivers an engrossing thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat as you watch Leonardo DiCaprio play a back-packer in Thailand who travels to a remote island where rumours of the ultimate paradise await. Paradise, of course, isn’t what it seems, but the film itself, despite reminding us that venturing to a mysterious island with drug lords is probably not the best idea, heeds an even bigger, unseen lesson in sustainability. Aside from the production bulldozing and landscaping the beach to make it look more “paradise like” for the shoot, and in effect damaging the island’s natural ecosystem (which resulted in a lawsuit that went to the Thai Supreme Court), the popularity of the film drove so much tourism to the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh that the government had to close the beach to allow it to recover from all the damage caused to the bay and nearby reefs. If it takes a young heartthrob sans shirt to remind us of the damaging effects irresponsible travel has on the environment, I call The Beach the best case for why we all need to do our part to keep paradise in tact the next time we hop on a plane.
The Reunion With Friends Abroad Trip MAMMA MIA
Just the thought of writing about this movie already has me dreaming of sand in my hair, a gorgeous, golden tan, and all the whites and blues for as far as the eye can see. Set on the breathtaking Greek island of Kalokairi (although primarily shot on the island of Skopelos), Mama Mia is the epitome of true delight. Nothing beats a reunion of old friends coming together for a holiday, or in this case a wedding, to reminisce about old times over endless supplies of Ouzo and calamari. Throw in some of the most banging ABBA tunes, Meryl Streep in the coolest overalls and some baby daddy drama and I may, or may not, have just emailed twelve of my girlfriends with the subject line: If You Change Your Mind, I’m the First in Line. Honey I’m Still Free.