Friday, June 15, 2012

My Favorite Travel Movies

by Regin Reyno

Traveling is my passion-and what better way to fuel it than to watch movies about travel.  So last October, during our semester break, I downloaded travel movies since it is vacation and I didn't travel during that time. So I just stayed in my pad and watched travel movies. And these are my favorites in no particular order.

1. The Beach

A must-see movie for every backpacker in Southeast Asia. It is from the novel of Alex Garland with the same title. 

A backpacker went to Thailand and eventually befriended fellow backpackers on the road which led them to a secret beach. Khaosan road, the Mecca of backpackers in Southeast Asia was featured in this movie. But I heard It was shot in Manila. The set of their paradise beach is in Maya bay, Koh Phi Phi Leh in Southern Thailand. One of the most beautiful beaches in the world. A real paradise. (Especially, pre-mass tourism influx period). 

Quote from the movie: "Trust me, it's paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it. "--Richard

2. A Map for Saturday (a true story)

A documentary film about backpacking. A film producer quit his job in New York to travel around the world. He really did travel solo around the world, bringing his video camera with him to document his trip. From US to Australia to Asia, Europe, South America and then back to the US. He did it in one whole year.

This documentary features life of backpackers, the separation anxiety that travelers experience, befriending people on the road, hostels, and a traveler's daily life. It contains interviews of different travelers. 

The title portrays that in backpacking, it is like, everyday is a weekend. No responsibilities, and no deadlines. 

3. The Art of Travel

This movie portrays the beauty and dangers of South America. How travelers meet up, and the making of a trail instead of following one. 

An American guy, devastated because his fiancee cheated on him, immediately bought a ticket to South America where he had a great adventure. The highlight of this movie is Macchu Picchu, one of my dream destinations. It also depicts romance on the road. Just like what Lois Yasay of we are sole sisters have said, "It's always part of the adventure". I guess Lois loves this movie too, because of the romance thingy. Haha 

Quote from the movie: "Mastering the art of travel is not accomplished with practice or talent. No school will give you a bachelors degree in not getting shot while backpacking through eastern Africa. Or in avoiding Montezuma's revenge on your trek through Mexico. It's a way of life. Unknown to the majority, it's almost impossible to convey to your friends back home over the course of a single conversation. It's more of a feeling, it's the excitement I experience the night before a trip. The high that comes with booking a one-way train ticket to a place I've never heard of. It's the little things that so often go unnoticed. I used to think back to my wedding day and I wonder, how did I get here? Why me? And then I remember all that I've seen and done, the friends I've made, the countries I've called home, and all the bugs I've eaten by accident."--Conner Layne 

4. The Killing Fields (a true story)

One of the most touching, most meaningful, most informative movies I have ever seen. After watching this movie, you will tell yourself that no time was wasted in doing so. It's a true story about Cambodia-how it suffered from the hands of the brutal communist leader Pol Pot. By watching this movie, you'll understand a bit Cambodia's history and you'll have compassion for the Khmer people, knowing how they suffered before.

An American journalist with his photographer went to Cambodia to cover the war. They had a local guide with them, which eventually was held captive by the Khmer Rouge. 

It's a story of friendship, heroism, and loyalty.

Quote from the movie: "Cambodia. To many westerners it seemed a paradise. Another world, a secret world. But the war in neighboring Vietnam burst its borders, and the fighting soon spread to neutral Cambodia. In 1973 I went to cover this side-show struggle as a foreign correspondent of the New York Times. It was there, in the war-torn country side amidst the fighting between government troops and the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, that I met my guide and interpreter, Dith Pran, a man who was to change my life in a country I grew to love and pity." --Sydney Schanberg

5. Last Stop for Paul (based on a true story)

A traveler, who is working as a call center agent or a telemarketer always convinces his officemate to travel with him. He explains the benefits and fun of travel-to convince his officemate to travel with him-but to no avail. Then one day, a tragedy happened. The best friend of his officemate died. The dream of his office mate's best friend is to travel around the world. So, that made his officemate decide to go on a round the world trip; to spread the ashes of his best friend around the world.

Their journey brought them to Jamaica, Chile, Greece, Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the full moon party in Koh Pangan, Thailand. A hilarious yet meaningful movie. Oh by the way, this is based on a true story. 

6. Seven Years in Tibet (a true story)

Another great travel and history movie. It's a true story of an Austrian mountaineer who went to Pakistan during world war II to trek the Himalayas. But because of the war, they were brought to India as captives. But fortunately they escaped, and hiked all the way to Tibet.  

In Tibet, they befriended the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of that peaceful community. 

Quote from the movie: "The absolute simplicity. That's what I love. When you're climbing, your mind is clear and free from all confusions. You have focus. And suddenly the light becomes sharper, the sounds are richer and you're filled with the deep, powerful presence of life. I've only felt that one other time."--Heinrich Harrer 

7. Into the Wild (a true story)

A true story about a teen who left home, donated all his money to charity, and hitch-hiked all over America going to Alaska. He's tired of seeing his parents always fighting and how money is the center of most people. So he traveled instead and enjoyed the nature and the company of people he met on the road. This movie shows the beauty of wild Alaska. 

Quote from the movie: "It should not be denied that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations. Absolute freedom. And the road has always led west."-Christopher McCandles 

8. Up in the Air

Let's have a little break from backpacking. This is flashpacking and glampacking at its best! This is my dream life. You are paid to travel. 

Starring George Clooney, it portrays a life of boarding planes regularly and sleeping in 5-star hotels. Awesome, huh?

I liked how Clooney acted in his travels; so relaxed and always smartly dressed. An inspiring movie for business travelers, jetsetters, and glampackers. 

Quote of the day: "All the things you probably hate about travelling -the recycled air, the artificial lighting, the digital juice dispensers, the cheap sushi- are warm reminders that I'm home."-Ryan Bingham 

9. Motorcycle Diaries (a true story)

Two friends, a medical student and a chemist, decided to explore all of South America, and go to a leprosy village in Peru. Their mode of transportation? An old motorcycle. Their journey was full of adventures. The beautiful South America was featured in this movie. Chile, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela. 
And through their travels, they saw the unfairness of the government to its people. The rich exploiting the poor. A very exciting and inspiring movie indeed. A must-see if you love road trips. And take note, this is a true story. 

Quote from the movie: "Wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me any more. At least I'm not the same me I was."-Ernesto Guevara de la Serna

What are some of the travel movies that you would recommend?


  1. love the post, would you believe that i just watched 2 from your list- last stop for paul and a map for saturday. haha gotta watch the others on the road

    1. O really? That's good to hear. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks

    2. James, i remember you while im watching "into the wild"

  2. OMG! I haven't seen a single movie from your list! Like you I am not fond of movies (and watches only Tom Cruise and Ben Affleck's movies) so I'm clueless. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I will start with the Art of Travel and Up In the Air!

    1. The Art of Travel is really good... Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Niice! Some of my faves like into the Wild and Up in the Air are in your selection. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Im looking forward to watch the other films you mentioned. I have already watched 3 (A map for Saturday, Into the wild, Beach). I excited to watch the Art of Travel, Killing Fields, and & Years in Tibet. Parang interesting sila lahat.

    Thanks for making this a reference for us :)

  5. You're welcome Darwin. I really want to share this especially to fellow travelers because I was really inspired when I watched these. I hope you'll watch all of these.

  6. Now you know what's funny?
    I have never heard or watched any of the movies you just mentioned. Haha. But thank you very much for sharing though. Atleast I'll be able to Google it and maybe watch one or two during my free time.

    1. Yup, you must watch these. They're so inspiring...

  7. Yup, you must these. They're so inspiring...

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