I have yet to experience a shortage of wanderlust in my life. Ever since I was little, the call to travel and explore has always been very loud.
When I was growing up, I lived down the street from a couple who were my travel heroes. During the winter, they left our little town to travel the world, often aboard a barge. They would take a large box of books, their luggage, and we wouldn’t see them until springtime.
In the summer, if you happened to be riding your bike past their house, it was always exciting to find them sitting on their front porch. They would usually wave you up for some tea and share stories of their adventures.
Their house was filled with interesting souvenirs and it always felt like you were entering some exotic curiosity shop. I received my very first set of chopsticks and set of Russian nesting dolls from them as gifts.
When I became a traveler myself, I realized it was not just about the adventure, but often more about personal reflection and discovery, as you are thrust out of your comfort zone and required to meet challenges you never anticipated. And possibly above all, a deepened sense of appreciation for not only the beauty of the world, but also an appreciation for all we have been given at home.
If you are dreaming of your own adventures and need that little extra push, check out these flicks…
I just watched this film last year and it is amazing. It features the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage – a trek to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, via various routes throughout surrounding countries. Many take up this walk as a spiritual quest or retreat.
Before the journey begins, you receive a special booklet that looks like a passport, and you get stamps at destinations along the way. Once you reach the final destination at the Cathedral, you get a special certificate for completion of the pilgrimage. Themes of loss, community, faith and the complexities of navigating interpersonal relationships serve as a backdrop for a touching father/son bonding story (played, perfectly enough, by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez). They were also the creators of the film, as the Camino has a special place in their own family history. This trek has definitely is now definitely on my must-do list.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This film by Ben Stiller is loved by many, but introverts especially relate. The film tells the story of daydreamer (Walter), stuck in his mundane life. Through a series of events at his job at Life magazine, he is propelled into several travels abroad that change him for the better. If you are experiencing monotony in your own life lately, this is a great flick for inspiration.
Based on a memoir by Cheryl Strayed, the story explores a time in Strayed’s life when she was headed down a destructive path following the death of her mother. She decided the place to sort all of that out was the Pacific Crest Trail. The story follows her mostly solo journey of hiking the entire trail and her struggles and triumphs along the way.
The Darjeeling Limited
All of the wonderful eccentric, whimsy of any good Wes Anderson film, this film will definitely make you want to hop a train across India. The story of three somewhat estranged brothers that attempt to reforge their bond by taking a spiritual journey across India.
Whether it is the remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond or the original with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart you will find yourself believing that “Paris is always a good idea”. A great journey of soul-searching and finding love, I often return to this film and always feel inspired to experience and appreciate more annnnd maybe book a trip to the City of Light.
A Map for Saturday
A documentary that follows producer Brook Silva-Braga on a one year backpacking journey after he leaves his job at HBO. He travels through 26 countries and 4 continents and the film features many fellow backpackers that he meets along the way. You are left with a good education on the struggles and merits of solo travel and a whole lot of wanderlust.
Images via 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Paramount Pictures and Elixir Films.