Top Travel Movies to Watch in Lockdown
Updated: Feb 28
If you're anything like me then you're going to start suffering from hardcore holiday blues. Emma and I should be gearing up for Vietnam in April but the longer COVID restrictions go on the more unlikely it seems. But we're not losing hope yet. Maybe, just maybe, with a new vaccine on the horizon, we just might be able to go. But until then we need to find something else to do!
To help you fill that empty travel deprived hole in your heart I'd like to share with you my favourite travel movies. If we can't travel ourselves then we can at least piggyback off someone else's adventures, right?
Into the Wild
Is the true story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) who after graduating college decides he doesn't want to have the career that is going to be pushed on him by his family and society. He donates the $25,000 from his college fund to charity and sets out to hitchhike across America to finally end up in Alaska for his "Big Alaskan Adventure". Chris makes friends along the way who all question his values and want to convince him that ultimately he won't find happiness in Alaska. But Chris's idea of a life of purity and denial is the only thing that makes sense to him.
Personally what I took away from this film is that although the simplicity of life in the wilderness can be luring at times, ultimately "happiness is only real when shared" (one of the last things written by McCandles. We can only be truly happy when we are supported by our friends. Another important subject for discerning travellers touched on by this movie is how everywhere in the world the kindness of strangers will always give us hope.
7 Years in Tibet
A young Austrian climber Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) is captured by Indian forces while climbing the Himalayas at the beginning of world war two. After a few unsuccessful lone escape attempts, he finally gets away with the help of some of the other prisoners. Once free he sets off alone again but eventually bumps back into another escapee Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis). Together they trek from India to the secret city of Lahsa in Tibet where along the way they're met by unwelcoming Tibetans whose belief is that an outsider will one day bring the fall of their kingdom.
Once in Lahsa, Harrer is befriended my his majesty the Dalai Lama. Harrer is not accustomed to the Tibetan traditions of worshipping the Dalai Lama and becomes a mentor to him and teaches him about the world outside Tibet.
Growing up in a poor village in northern India, Saroo (Sunny Pawar/Dev Patel) is separated from his family after falling asleep on a non-stop train to Kolkata. Once in Kolkata, he is forced to live on the streets which are no safe place for a 5-year-old boy. After narrowly escaping a potential human trafficking ring he is picked up by an orphanage.
Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple and grows up in a completely different world to the one he was borne into. After graduating College he is consumed by thoughts of his mother and brother. This sends him into a depression, the only thing driving him to go on being his mission to find out what happened to his real family. If you're looking for a real tear-jerker then this movie is the one to watch.
The Darjeeling Ltd
Following the death of their father, three brothers decide to take the Darjeeling train through India to try to rebuild their estranged relationships. Along the way, they experience a number of events that bring them closer together. The two younger brothers Peter (Adrian Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) find it difficult to be in the same room as the oldest Francais (Owen Wilson). Put the three together in a tiny train carriage and it's a recipe for the inevitable disaster that ensues.
I found myself chuckling throughout this movie and is definitely one to watch if you're in the mood for something fun and light-hearted.
An American father Tom (Martin Sheen) who's son Daniel (Emilio Estevez) has shunned his career prospects in favour of seeing the world must travel to France to retrieve his body. He tragically died in a storm in the first few days on a pilgrimage to Spain's Santiago de Compostela. Although Tom was unsupportive of Daniel's travelling he decides that he should continue the journey his son started to appreciate the life his son chose.
Along the way, Tom meets characters that he would never have become friends within his day to day life. There's Joost, a pot-smoking Dutchman who's decided to take on the journey in an effort to lose weight before a wedding. Sarah, a Canadian who's fleeing an abusive relationship who says she's on the journey to quit smoking. And finally Jack, a flamboyant Scottish poet experiencing writer's block who's on a journey to find the novel he's always dreamed of.
The group face challenges along the way that cause tension but ultimately brings them together. In the end, they all become friends for life despite their differences.
One of the things we love about travel is the once in a lifetime experiences that make you who you are. It gives you a different perspective on life by meeting people who are more or less fortunate than you are. You change and begin to appreciate life a less materialistic way. Life becomes more about the experiences you have, not the things you own. And for these reasons we absolutely love all things travel. When we don't travel we watch movies about travel. So while COVID lingers on. Settle down to some inspiring travel movies that'll get you out the door as soon as things clear up!