Saturday, January 11, 2014

Movies That Move Us to Travel

A few days ago, we finally saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a movie we had been looking forward to seeing for quite a while, but hadn't yet found the time to see. We made our way to the movie theater, got our popcorn and Cherry Coke, turned our phones on silent, and settled in.

I had a friend once describe movies as two-hour vacations and I always loved that description. You pop in a movie and you're off to Paris with Owen Wilson and Ernest Hemingway for a while. Or maybe take in the afternoon fighting mummies in the Egyptian desert with Brendan Fraser. If there's an overarching theme of the movies I like to watch, it's that they're usually set in some far-off or otherwise exotic location, usually someplace I hope to visit. But my favorite movies are always the ones that get me excited to get up off my butt and travel!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was just that. One of those wonderful and exciting movies that teases you with beautiful landscapes and the fun of life on the go and leaves you at the credits wanting to trade the drive home for an Airstream and the open road or maybe a backpack and a hiking trail. For me, the movie is about remembering that life is moving very quickly whether I spend it sitting in front of a TV or camping in Yosemite, so I really should make every effort to live my life fully instead of regretting the things I didn't do. To quote Richard Dahlstrom, "there's a glorious life in each of us that’s waiting to be lived.  It’s the crises we face that will either fan it to flame or kill it." I might not spend my life travelling constantly like I sometimes dream, but I shouldn't settle for life in a place I don't love or jobs that leave me with no free time to do the things I enjoy. Walter Mitty reminded me that I need to make more time for the things that enrich my life.

Into The Wild is another favorite of mine. An idealistic traveler who roams the western United States, trying to have a real, genuine life experience is exactly the kind of movie that inspires me to travel. Although the tone of the movie is sometimes sad and the ending is not one I'd envision for myself, the main character's longing for a life lived fully coupled with some beautiful music by Eddie Veddar touched at the part of me which wants to get rid of everything and travel.

Amelie was one of the first movies that made me want to see France. The music, the love story, the cinematography, and the beautiful city are just so much fun to see on screen. Amelie, herself, is adorable and sweet, but is living her own restrained, inhibited life. She is shy and sometimes dreams of doing things, but mostly keeps to herself. She's no recluse or social idiot, just a realistic rendition of what it can be like to be shy. This is all challenged through love, neighbors-turned-friends, and her own desire to do something with her life and it's all beautiful and wonderful to see.

Paris je t'aime is another fun movie about France's great city. Less about wanderlust and more about the many different ways one can enjoy Paris, as an American living in a desert valley of California, it certainly tugs at my desire to travel. One great bit about Paris je t'aime is that it's essentially 18 short movies tied together by Paris. So, if you get bored with one story, just wait a few minutes for the next one. For me, they're all good. One of my favorites is the segment on a middle-aged American woman who visits Paris alone, speaking with a very American accent, trying her best to get a true Parisian experience, taking in the food, gardens, and museums, and realizing that while she loves her time in Paris, she longs for home. Travel can be a good reminder of the wonderful things we have at home.

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