These are hard times for travelers, who are struggling with numerous restrictions or financial limitations. For those who are used to their share of new places but have a full schedule, Start Adventure has created a list of travel films to quench your thirst for traveling… no spoilers.
There is no denying that all movie bucket lists for and about travelers or hikers start off with the unique story of Christopher McCandless — we embrace that fact.
Directed by Sean Penn in 2007, Into the Wild recreates the journey of a graduate who leaves the East Coast, crossing the great wilderness of the USA, and heads towards the Alaska mountain range. Here, he would set camp in an abandoned bus (nicknamed magic bus) and, after what is estimated to have been 113 days, he would die at age 24.
This film is extremely faithful to the diary that this unique traveller kept while in Alaska, and which can be read online, containing 113 entries that tell of the loneliness and wonder that McCandless lived in the great north. Several undeveloped photos were also found in his camera.
Christopher McCandless was guided by intense ideals about humanity, society and Nature. according to himself, “the very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
The screen adaptation of this real life adventure is an extensive work set in an introspective and spiritual tone as Chris deals with a traumatic past with his parents, all the while creating a strong impact on the lives of the people that he encounters along the way.
It is a captivating film for its aesthetic and visual beauty. It’s in key with the color schemes of a true hiker: greens, browns, the great American forests and lakes, dust, rail tracks, hiking boots, backpacks, caravans, camp fires and majestic dawns. It also has the perfect soundtrack, containing an incredible collection of songs by Eddie Vedder — dreamy, genuine and rustic.
To be a traveller is to be an adventurer, and a woman that distinguished herself for her intrepid nature is Amelia Earhart. The 2009 movie Amelia, directed by Indian director Mira Nair and counting on Hillary Swank for the main role, it narrates the story of one of the first female pilots.
Throughout her short life, Amelia Earhart traveled across the world, having started living and working early on in varied corners of the USA. Amelia was the first woman to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean (in 1932).
She remained in History for her mysterious disappearance over the Pacific Ocean while she was trying to circumnavigate the world in 1937, an adventure that took her to many different parts of the globe. The American authorities concluded that the plane ran out of fuel and crashed onto the ocean. Many rumors have circulated ever since about what might have happened, because, up until today, not one sign of Amelia, her co-pilot or the plane have ever been found.
This film is true to the books and journals written by Amelia, whose accounts described how much she appreciated flying over Africa and seeing the wild animals roaming free. It was shot in diverse locations of great natural beauty, in Canada and South Africa. In this biographical adaptation, Amelia’s life seems to alternate between a luxurious and complex civilization where the main focus is to sell her public figure, and the time spent aboard planes over far-off places.
There are a lot of ‘visual treats’ for travel enthusiasts: compasses, radios, weathered leather jackets, tight cockpits, rivers, forests, sunny gorges, African plains… Through this interesting movie, Amelia perseveres as a born traveller and a symbol of adventure at everyone’s reach.
Wes Anderson has become a big name in the movie industry, known for his differentiated cinematographic language on many levels: composition, visuals, dialogue, character development…
Each of Anderson’s films is unique, and the Darjeeling Limited, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, is no exception. It is a film that mixed comedy and drama, but, above all, is it a travel movie that goes to India.
It narrated the highs and lows of a journey that three brothers, now estranged adults, start off in this singular and spiritually powerful country. It becomes clear that the brothers are dealing (or not dealing) with a range of unresolved issues, both on an individual and a relational level, which have increased ever since their father’s death. More or less willing, they are searching for closure and they end up getting it… but not in the ways they expected.
This amazing film crosses India by train, by night and by day, and it blurs the lines between tourist and traveller through events that involve the Indian people and dreamy places: mountains, temples, chaotic markets, remote villages and muddy rivers.
It must be added that the train that names the movie, Darjeeling Limited, does not really exist. Even so, it inspires any railway lover to travel as a way of finding and resolving oneself.
This meaningful comedy is based on the book of the same name by Bill Bryson, directed by Ken Kwapis and starring Robert Redford.
It is an account of Bryson and Katz’s (Bryson’s long-lost childhood friend) attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail. This trail is about 2,190 miles long, goes up the American East Coast and crosses 14 states, including several mountain ranges and the dense forests of New England, which are simply spectacular in the fall.
The Appalachian Trail has a legendary quality to it and it’s quite the adventure, the dream of hiking and trekking enthusiasts from all over the world. However it is a highly difficult trail. Hiking it in one go is advised only to experienced hikers, given that the risks include hypothermia, dehydration, encounters with wild animals or ill-intentioned people (several people lost their lives to human violence on the trail), hunger, being lost, accidents, isolation… Even so, many people hike bits of the trail or complete sections over the years.
Bryson and Katz weren’t at all experienced, especially Katz, who had led a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol ever since his youth. This movie, being very faithful to Bill Bryson’s wittiness, accompanied this duo of friends and observes their relationship being reborn at a stage of life that isn’t often portrayed in the big screen.
Above all, it is a film that is acquainted with the unique way that the relationship between two people, no matter who they are, is tested when they travel together. In the end, all the experiences and mishaps bring them closer and unite travelers in a way that only those who have been through it know.
Green panoramas, pine trees swaying in the wind, waterfalls and clear rivers, wooden cabins, synthetic tents, flannel shirts, camping pots… A Walk in the Woods is an upbeat movie standing out from its peers.
The list wouldn’t be complete without Wild. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Reese Witherspoon as the protagonists, it has been nominated twice for an Academy award.
You may quickly think of it as Into the Wild, but with a female lead — however, this film, based on the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, has a life of its own, coming from a very different place, dealing with grief, loss, self-reflexion, solitude, kindness and the immersion in nature that is part of the human instinct.
It is also an iconic film that represents female solo travelers, which up until now wasn’t perceived as all that common.
The Pacific Crest Trail runs the West Coast of the USA upwards. Its 4260 km connect Mexico to Canada via the American states of California, Oregon and Washington. It is estimated that it takes five months to finish, although many enthusiasts choose to experience it or part of it by bike or by horse. It is a hard challenge, even though wild animals aren’t usually a threat.
The diversity of the landscapes for which this trail is known worldwide goes from sunny deserts to snowy mountains, crossing seven national parks.The cacti and eucalyptus give way to enormous, sturdy pine trees and then spruce trees… The beauty of the mountains, the rivers and meadows, far from civilization, is indescribable, though loyally illustrated in this cinematographic work.
After her mother’s death and her divorce, deeply depressed and self-destructed Cheryl decides to leave for the trail to walk a thousand miles in a journey of emotional healing and self-discovery. Through different experiences in the solitude of the wilderness, or by meeting different people along the trail, closure and catharsis finally arrive in Cheryl’s spirit, changing her forever and for the better.
Cozy campsites, worn boots, heavy backpack, blizzards, rainy mossy forests, still lakes… and the new identity of female travelers and hikers. A fantastic film with a powerful message about comfort zones and what really matters in life.
Start Adventure hopes that, with these five iconic films, whoever is feeling blocked may be able to travel a little or get new ideas about future experiences and expeditions.
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