‘Tis the season for curling up in bed with some marshmallow hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, cozy christmas sweaters – and a good book or movie to watch. So as most people are staying home over the holidays, I thought I would compile some of my favorite books, movies and tv shows that are guaranteed to give you some serious wanderlust and inspiration to plan your adventures for 2018.
Pirates of the Caribbean
If this series doesn’t make you want to sail the seas of this world and go out there and explore, then I don’t know what will. To me, these movies transfer a sense of freedom and leave me feel inspired to set off into the unknown without fear of getting lost or scared along the way. So let me quote Jack, excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow on this one: Bring me the horizon.
The Bucket List
Bucket Lists are still all over the place, and I feel like, ever since this movie, things really took off for the whole concept. Especially when it comes to exploring the world, most travelers nowadays have some places they wish to tick off their list. Personally, I don’t have an actual set list written down somewhere, but of course there are a couple of things that I have in mind. It’s always easy to make up plans in your head, but actually putting your dreams down on a piece of paper can help motivate and inspire you to get your goals done. I do this with the smallest things in every day life to prevent myself from procrastinating too much, but especially with the big things we want to accomplish or do or see, we sometimes need a little push to go and do it. That’s why I think this movie is inspiring, whether your goals in life are to travel and visit as many places as you can, or whether it is something else.
The Motorcylce Diaries
Yes, this is a movie about Che Guevara. But whether you love him or hate him, this movie about his journey all over Latin America as a young medicine student showcases the beauty this continent has to offer wonderfully and will make you want to set off on your own road trip across the Andes immediately.
An old American school bus, a young couple, a dog, and a plan: Drive from Alaska to Argentina. The movie premiered this past summer and is a documentary filmed and produced by Felix Starck and his girlfriend Mogli, who together converted a bus into a home to explore the Americas. When I first saw the film, I had just gotten back from South America, so it made me extremely nostalgic, but at the same time incredibly excited and inspired to go and plan my next adventures. Unfortunately, the actual movie is only available in German as far as I’m concerned, but they run a YouTube channel where they uploaded vlogs in English and you can follow their journey just the same.
Leonardo DiCaprio. Need I say more? Not really. But I will anyway. So this movie felt much like a rollercoaster ride to me and the chain of events struck me as so unusual I still don’t what to make out of it. But the idea that was always present and that you come to understand during the story that’s being told is losing and finding yourself through travel – and then losing and finding yourself again and again. Because that’s just how it is. I don’t believe that you can ever get to a point where you know exactly who you are (which many of us, myself included, try to achieve by traveling) and then it’s gonna stay like that forever. So although the incredible scenery is sometimes disrupted by some very unexpected actions, I really enjoyed how the entire process of self-discovery was portrayed. Oh, AND Leonardo DiCaprio, duh!
Most of these movies are also available on streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc.).
I know there has been some controversy about the show and the accuracy of the events and people it is portraying, but I personally enjoyed the show very much as I think it is well made and safe to binge watch if you just keep in mind that history is always dramatized a little on screen. But the reason I’m including Narcos in this post is the beautiful landscapes and South American cities (in this case mostly Medellín and Bogotá) that you get to see which made me very nostalgic and made me miss living there so much. If you’ve never been to Latin America before, you’ll definitely want to go after finishing the series.
Narcos is only available on Netflix.
To be honest, it took me a long time to finish this book, as at times I found it to be a little long-winded. Nervertheless, I love the concept behind this couple’s travels around Europe – leaving with only one outfit, the contents of their purses, and no certain plan except for two plane tickets. This is not a fictional novel but an actual report written by a woman from Texas who had booked a flight from the US to Istanbul and another one returning from London three weeks later with a guy she had just started dating. What inspired me was the freedom that came with leaving all your “baggage” and material items behind that you think you need and it shows that in reality you need so little to find your way.
- No Baggage: A Tale of Love and Wandering* by Clara Bensen
The Life List
As you can already tell by the title, it’s also a bucket-list-related book, but it has a little twist to it. A young woman’s mother passes away and leaves her with a list written by her teen-self that she has to complete within a year to receive her inheritance which sends her on a journey to find back to herself and her mom. Although it’s not about travel specifically, the same goes as for The Bucket List. It’s actually one of the best books I’ve come across in a long time and it’s wonderfully written, so I 100% recommend it.
- The Life List* by Lori Nelson Spielman
Reise durch einen einsamen Kontinent
I kind of saved the best for last, but also because this one is only available in German, which is such a pity. It is my absolute favorite so I just have to include it for any German speaking readers. The author is a travel journalist who writes about his journey from Colombia to Chile and is never afraid to start up a conversation with anyone, so you really get a sense of the people and their culture even if you’ve never been there. If you’ve been following my blog from the start, you’ll already know what a special place in my heart Bolivia, but also South America in general, holds. It’s written from such an honest point of view which I always deeply appreciate and value. It’s just real.
- Reise durch einen einsamen Kontinent: Unterwegs in Kolumbien, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivien und Chile* by Andreas Altmann
Muere lentamente quien no viaja, quien no lee, quien no escucha música, quien no halla encanto en si mismo.
[Slowly dies who doesn’t travel, who doesn’t read, who doesn’t listen to music, who doesn’t find charm in himself. – Pablo Neruda]