10 movies to watch to inspire your wanderlust

It’s natural to be feeling like life has come to a standstill – because it has! With the majority of borders closed, flights being cancelled and the world staying indoors, 2020 hasn’t exactly been what we all expected. Whether you are working from home, self-isolating or under strict quarantine, now more than ever we need as much inspiration from within our own walls as possible. Thankfully, we are living in a digital age and it’s never been a better time to see the world from the comfort of your own sofa! So while the world slows down for a while, and for those of you who are already feeling a serious case of *fernweh, we will be here to provide you with all the wanderlust inspiration that you need to bring your holiday home. To start off the inspiration, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite travel movies to watch if you find yourself indoors and searching for your travel fix.

*Fernweh is a German word that translates to “distance sickness”. It expresses the urge to travel.  

The Motorcycle Diaries – Latin America

The Motorcycle Diaries is one of the most iconic stories to come out of Latin America. The movie depicts the road trip taken on by 23 year old medical student Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado as they journey across the continent. While they intend to have the best experience they can while on the road, the ultimate goal is the intention to work in a leper colony in Peru. The movie is considered one of the best coming-of-age biopics, where the feeling of youthful adventure swiftly changes as Guevara and his friend observe the impoverished life of the indigenous peasantry and learn of the injustice and social classes within Latin America. The life changing journey forged Guevara’s future and he is now more commonly known as the Marxist guerrilla and revolutionary who was a major figure in the Cuban Revolution.

The film brings you to some of South America’s most stunning locations, from the vast Atacama Desert to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Witness the rugged terrain of Patagonia, the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and the quiet charm of the continents countryside – you’ll soon be planning your own South America odyssey.

Ruta 40 – one of the longest highways in Patagonia

The Beach – Thailand

Prior to The Beach, the small island of Ko Phi Phi Le in Thailand was relatively unknown – yet rose to such a degree of popularity that it has now closed until around 2021. The story follows a young American man, Richard, who arrives in Bangkok seeking the ultimate adventure. He meets a fellow traveller who divulges information about a secret island in Thailand with a small community. What follows is a treacherous adventure to the island and what the protagonist discovers isn’t all that it seems. With a story-line that hooks you from the start and scenes showing the true beauty of Thai islands and beaches, The Beach is the perfect movie to escape your living room while imagining yourself basking on the tropical shores of this fantastic destination. Definitely one of our favourite travel movies. 

Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Le Island
Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Le Island

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – India

Another of our favourite travel movies. This feel-good movie provides a wonderful glimpse into the beautiful character of India. The story follows a group of British pensioners who sign up to a retirement hotel in India, run by an overly enthusiastic young local man. The retirees expectations are very quickly shattered as they set foot in the slightly dilapidated hotel, however as the story evolves, so does the characters love for this unique and loving home. Characters’ friendships unfold, love flourishes and India is showcased in its classic chaotic yet charming state that makes everyone fall a little in love with the special country and its people.   

Jaipur, India
Hawa Mahal Palace in Jaipur, India

Letters to Juliet – Italy

Letters to Juliet is your classic cheesy, easy to watch romantic comedy. It follows a young American woman, Claire, who takes a pre-honeymoon in Italy, but finds that her fiance is much more interested in expanding his chef career than he is in her. While exploring the beautiful city of Verona, she learns about the thousands of “letters to Juliet that are left in the courtyard of Juliet’s balcony. She finds herself joining the “Secretaries of Juliet” and comes across an unanswered letter from 1957 – and makes it her mission to make sure the letter gets delivered! What transpires is a love story between not only the characters, but Claire and the beauty of Italy. While the story-line is predictable, the film encompasses the romance and beauty of Verona and the Italian countryside. It’s a feel-good movie that will leave you longing for your own Italian romance! 

Juliet's Balcony - Verona
Juliet’s Balcony – Verona

Eat Pray Love – Italy, India, Indonesia 

A classic on any wanderlust inspiration list, Eat Pray Love is your typical story centred around travelling to find yourself. The movie follows Elizabeth, a woman who seemingly has it all. Yet she finds herself longing for what she truly wants in life and after a recent divorce, embarks on a journey that takes her to Italy, Bali and India. The film follows a feel-good vibe throughout, highlighting the small yet important things in life and showcasing the beauty of each destination it films in. From long nights in Italy indulging with friends, finding her balance in India through prayer to experiencing the meaning of true love in Bali, the movie will certainly leave you longing for life-changing experiences from around the world.    

Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia

Into the Wild – North America

This tragic true story follows the journey of a young man, Christopher McCandless, who packed it all in to trek across North America. An intelligent and successful individual, Christopher makes the decision to reject a conventional life and destroys his credit cards and identification before embarking on his adventure. The film follows him across North America as he hitchhikes, burns through his remaining cash and experiences the world in true solitude. He lives off the land, sleeps where he can and enjoys the quiet beauty that surrounds him. The film takes an unfortunate turn as Christopher realises mother nature is unforgiving. While we won’t spoil the rest, the story encompasses everything about the harsh reality of taking on the wilderness and showcases some beautiful landscapes in North America.         


Lost in Translation – Japan

Lost in Translation won an Oscar for best writing and original screenplay. The story follows two lost souls as they cross paths in the urban sprawl of Tokyo, with both characters experiencing an overwhelming sense of loneliness and uncertainty. Their relationship evolves as they discover Japanese culture together, contending with insomnia, culture shock and an apparent existential boredom. The slow pace of the film cleverly contrasts the chaos of Tokyo city and the scenes depict the unique culture and urban scenery of Japan. A must watch if Japan is on your holiday list. 

Tokyo - Japan
Tokyo – Japan

Mamma Mia – Greece

Mamma Mia is the ultimate feel-good movie. The story follows the lives of Donna and her daughter Sophie who live on the beautiful Greek island of Kalokairi (While Kalokairi does not exist, most of the filming was one on the island of Skopelos!). In the run up to her wedding, Sophie decides to invite three strangers – one of which she believes is her father after reading about her mother’s past escapades in her diary. What ensues is a charming and comedic story that sees unconventional family relationships solved with love and friendship. The scenes showcase what really makes Greece one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe – shimmering blue water, pristine beaches, secret coves and lush scenery. The sequel to the movie is also well worth a watch – again most of the scenes are located on the Greek Island as the story follows Donna in her younger years and how she came to live on Kalokairi Island. 

Skopelos - Greece
Skopelos – Greece

The Lion King – Africa

In 2019 Disney released the new adaptation of one of the most beloved stories of the 90’s –  The Lion King. The film follows the same storyline as the original with all our favourite characters injecting the same humour as before. While the movie is not based on a specific real-life African location, the scenery encompasses everything you would expect to find on an adventure to the continent – vast savannas, packed watering holes, lush grasslands and unique rock formations. Saying that, several crew members of the original film did visit Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya to gain an appreciation and insight into the unique environment of Africa. With no predators around, Hell’s Gate is one of the locations where you can enjoy walking safaris or bike rides through the national park to take in the surroundings.

Male and female lion in Kenya, Africa
Lions in Kenya

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Iceland, Greenland

Walter Mitty is just your average guy, plugging away at a job for a lifestyle magazine. When he loses a photo needed for publication, he embarks on a journey to find the photographer and recreate the shot. The story shows him coming out of his shell as he embraces new experiences and surroundings around the world. From Iceland to the Himalayas, the film showcases some beautiful landscapes that will leave you looking for your own adventure.  


If you have a favourite movie than inspired your travels – let us know in the comments below!

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