It is not only for the fun, adventure and excitement of visiting a new place that we travel. Nature lovers want to feel one with nature; the poets and artists travel to find inspiration and some just want to feel like a butterfly, out of the cocoon of daily mundane. Often while travelling, at times unknowingly, we end up rediscovering our own self: our old wounds are healed and rusted bonding strengthens during a trip with friends or family. However, we travel freaks are missing backpacking, travel planning and discovering new destinations as an impact of COVID 19 Pandemic. I have found out a way to feed my wanderlust. I have made a list of travel movies to watch during quarantine. Through these movies, I can see various amazing locations and can relate to the characters and the philosophy they portray behind their travel. So here I start with a list of 10 Best Travel Movies to watch during quarantine.
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
This is a biopic based on the written memoir of an asthmatic 23 years old medical student, Ernesto Fuser Guevara, who left on an 8000km journey all across Latin America, for 4 months, on a motorcycle with his 29 year old biochemist friend Alberto Granado. Not all journeys happen as per plan, and theirs too had loads of obstacles. Set across the gorgeous landscapes of Argentina, Chile and Peru, including the iconic Machu Pichu, one of the Wonders of the World, the journey doesn’t remain a physical journey only. As the two friends see the real picture of poverty and hardships of people, their perspective towards life changes. The 23 years old guy discovers the leader in him and develops a pan-American vision. This life changing journey across 5 countries is one of the major influences which made Ernesto become one of the greatest Marxist leaders of all times, Che Guevara.
Into the Wild (2007)
Christopher McCanders, a top law student, son to a rich father, just after his graduation, renounces his wealthy family and prosperous career and future and starts driving and hitch-hiking with some books and bare minimum essentials across America. On his journey to the self discovery, he meets travellers who have left behind their worldly possessions, and encounters experiences which make him believe that ‘there is no greater joy than to have endlessly chased the horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.’ Though the ending is a sad one, the movie, set across amazing locations of wild America and Alaska, also at the sprawling Grand Canyon, is a visual treat. The movie is thought provoking and is one of the best movies to watch during quarantine, not only to satiate our love for wilderness but to rethink and reframe our ideas of resource management
The Bucket List (2007)
Jack Nicholson, as the billionaire, Edward, happens to meet Morgan Freeman, as the blue collar mechanic, Carter, at the hospital room they share. Both are terminally ill elderly people and develop a friendly bonding. Rich Edward wants to fulfil Carter’s dream of ticking his bucket list of seeing the world, before kicking the bucket. The two friends travel to the pyramids of Egypt, Hong Kong, the French Riviera, the Taj Mahal and the majestic Himalayas in India. Carter finally loses his breath during surgery but prior to the operation, has already made Edward promise to complete the bucket list on his behalf. Even if the movie doesn’t end in an altogether happy note, there is a feel good about this movie. This is one of the movies to watch during quarantine because now that we are at home and we have more time for ourselves, we can also make a bucket list. The borders will re-open, sooner than we think and the world will become a better place for travelling again.
Eat Pray Love (2010)
Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert, after a heartbreaking divorce, sets out to travel to heal her wounds and find peace. She tries to have fun and devours on gourmet meals and gelatos in Italy. She tries to soak into spirituality in India. Next, she tries to soothe her soul in Bali, Indonesia, where she finds a new love. Her mental, as well as spiritual health, evolves along her journey of self-discovery. Her wounds are healed, making her more confident and happy and open to new love. Her journey is one entwined with food, friends, spirituality and love. In reality, all these make an integral part of our journeys too.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty, is a ‘Negative Asset Manager’ at ‘Life Magazine’. During downsizing, the final issue of ‘Life Magazine’ would be dedicated to the staff and the ‘quintessence of life’ photo by legendary photojournalist, Sean O’Connell, would be used as the magazine cover. However, the negative goes missing and Mitty loses his job. The otherwise, timid and simple Mitty, a daydreamer, finally sets out on his journey to look for Sean Penn as O’Connell, to find the negative. His adventures and the places he visits are amazing. Places in Iceland and the snow leopard in the Himalayas, set travel goals for viewers. Finally the negative is found and the last issue is published. The negative was a photo of Mitty himself. The journey and the adventures make Mitty a confident man and this is true for everyone who takes up a backpack.
Cheryl Strayed leaves Minnesota to hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (2650 miles), without any prior experience or training, with the hope to find a direction for her life in future. With her mother’s death, disturbed marriage, unbalanced reckless lifestyle, Cheryl felt too distressed and unsettled. This movie is one of the odds and pleasures of a difficult journey. Amidst utmost hardships, she finds goodness in people; she frames her survival strategies in most difficult and impossible situations, as she makes a journey from the lost to found. At the end of her journey, she rediscovers herself with settled goals in life.
An Australian lady, Robyn, accompanied by her pet dog and four camels satisfies her craving for solitude by embarking on a solo trip across the Australian desert starting from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean (2700 km). She has a strong set of philosophy to justify her solo trip. It is a movie with pleasure-peril experiences.
Jule decides to drive to Portugal in her ageing Mercedes campervan and happens to meet Jan, a Berlin University student who is hitch-hiking to Spain. They travel together, across German, Belgian, French, Spanish and Portuguese countryside and slowly begin to fall in love. The Merc campervan is significant as it acts like their cocoon where they can just be, forgetting the adult world outside. The movie has attractive visuals and is definitely one of the movies to watch during quarantine.
I, being a Bollywood buff, would like to mention 2 of my favourite Hindi travel movies to watch during quarantine.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
It is a movie which is very close to my heart as it shows friends’ trip to Spain, as planned years ago. The journey is about facing their worst fears in the form of adventure sports and reviving the old friendship and the innocence of the lost childhood. The ‘La Tomatina Festival’ and the ‘Bull-run’ in Spain are also popularized by the movie. This vacation changes their perspectives, heals their wounds and makes them fall in love with life all over again. That is what we travel for.
A shy Indian girl, turned down by her fiancé, on the eve of her marriage, finally decides to go for her pre-decided honeymoon alone to Paris and Amsterdam. She comes from an orthodox Indian family and is initially left with a cultural shock. Slowly she makes good friends who enable her to shed off all her inhibitions. She holds her back no more and finally evolves as a confident lady who can make decisions for herself.
It is amazing that most of the above mentioned movies are influenced by real-life stories. These movies tell us how much travelling impacts our lives.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.