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10 Inspiring Movies for the Wandering Soul {Guest Post by She Wrote a Book}

When the travel bug starts to bite, but I can't jet off for whatever reason, I have three tried and true methods to help that itch: 1) pour over my old guide books, 2) dive into a city via a well-written novel, or 3) curl up on the couch and pop in a DVD set in some glamorous place. 

It turns out that Michelle of She Wrote a Book has a love of travel and movies, as well! Today, she shares ten amazing movies that will help you travel without ever leaving your living room.

I have a hard time watching movies, because every time I do, my dreamer side won’t let my feet stay on the ground or my head out of the clouds. Could be the films I watch, since I seem to drift toward any movie with a foreign element. Here is my first installment of movies that will inspire even the biggest couch potato to get out there and explore this amazing world we are lucky to live in.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)


Whenever I find a list of popular travel movies, I’m sure this one is going to be on there, but it always seems to be omitted. To fall truly in love with a destination to which few people have ventured, join Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty. Walter has a dull job, a non-existent romantic life and a hugely overactive imagination. His work brings him to Iceland where his life becomes anything but dull.

The natural beauty of Iceland needs no help to be spectacular, but Mitty’s fantasies elevate it to beyond amazing. It is because of this movie that my husband and I are heading to the land of fire and ice for our honeymoon this month!

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)


She eats in Italy, she prays in India and she falls in love in Bali; that’s pretty much the gist of it. Julia Roberts plays a woman who leaves her flaky husband and follows her heart overseas. She meets amazing friends, and lives like a local (or a local expat) in all three places. The food, lifestyle, scenery and people are enough to make me want to sell everything I own and live as a nomad traveling from the decadent to the developing and everywhere in between.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants I (2005)

Santorini, Greece

A movie that you may think you grew out of years ago, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants follows a group of close girlfriends who will do anything to keep their friendship intact as they spend a summer apart.

The Sisterhood takes us to Santorini, Greece – you know, the place on an exotic hillside, dotted with whitewashed buildings and royal blue roofs overlooking the Mediterranean ocean? The colors are bright, the music is lively and love springs eternal. This feel good movie will make dreamers of any age want to pull out their schedules and plan a trip with their closest friends to experience the magic that Greece has to offer.

The Beach (2000)


While no one dreams of getting stuck in a cult living next to murderous drug lords, you just can’t watch The Beach without wanting to island hop in Thailand, burying your toes in the warm sand and playing in the turquoise waves. Thousands of people make the trek each year to Koh Phi Phi to visit the location in which the movie was filmed.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a backpacker in Thailand who meets a French couple with whom he visits a remote island, where they fall in love with the simple and fun loving life of a hippie commune, whose leader will do anything to keep the secret of their existence safe in order to keep their way of living pure. While the movie gets a little crazy, the scenery and way of life is so stunning that it’s got you thinking that drug dealers and killer hippies can’t be that bad, right?

Love Actually (2003)


Ok, so this one isn’t really about travel at all, but every single time I watch this film, I yearn to be in London at Christmas. It boasts an all-star cast and several different storylines that all seem to weave together, each focusing on a different kind of love: unrequited, new, romantic, forced, maternal, lusty and forbidden.

The bustle of London is alluring at any time of year, but even more so during the holiday season, with the multicolored glow of Christmas lights reflecting off the snow and the sound of carolers serenading their audiences floating through the air. Spend a Christmas abroad, with London’s pub windows fogged with the breath of revelers crammed within, spreading their holiday cheer and tourists bumping along the sidewalks, packages in hand, you won’t regret it if it’s anything like the movie.

The Holiday (2006)


Yet another film that makes me want to put away my Christmas tree, cancel my Christmas parties and hop on a plane to stay in a little cottage on an English countryside surrounded by snow… and Jude Law.

White Christmases not your thing? Not to worry, the other half of the story takes place in LA. Two women exchange homes in order to spend the Christmas season away from heartbreak only to find romance and lifelong friendship on the other end.

Whether a snowy, cozy, quiet British countryside is your thing or you’re more of a warm weather, palm tree, Hollywood mansion type, this movie will have your fingers on your keyboard, googling house exchanges, you know,  just out of curiosity

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Paris, France

It only takes three minutes of the movie to want to brush up on your French, pack your bags and hop the pond to the home of croissants, great wine and smelly cheese – oh, and I guess the Eiffel Tower too. The introduction alone, with extended footage of the landscapes, architecture and beauty that create the mosaic that is Paris, is enough to compel you to drop what you’re doing and get on the next plane.

Owen Wilson plays a socially awkward writer from California who falls in love with the city and travels back in time every night after midnight to be surrounded by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso in the Paris of the 20s. Looking for the joie de vivre of a time and place that we can only fantasize about? Look no further than Midnight in Paris.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Barcelona, Spain

The perfect combination of beautiful Spanish landscape and wine, art, music and sex, this movie is the grown up version of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - but instead of sharing a pair of Levis, these two American best friends share a lover. 

Just as you might guess from the subtle title, the film focuses on two friends, Vicky and Cristina, and takes place amidst Barcelona’s rich cultural heritage. The girls couldn’t be more different, but they share one thing in common: their attraction to free spirited artist and womanizer, Juan Antonio.

If Barcelona wasn’t on your radar before this beautifully sensual film, it will be after!

The Italian Job (2003)

Venice, Italy/Switzerland/LA

While the bulk of the movie takes place in Los Angeles, the first, action packed scene rushes through the waterways of Venice, Italy. A group of burglars execute an elaborate heist, but are soon double crossed by one of their own. Follow the intrigue from Italy to Switzerland and on to LA.

Historic homes, roadways of water, Swiss Alps and adventure: it doesn’t take much more than that to get you hooked on the movie, and on the notion of creating your own adventure in these gorgeous spots.

The Godfather (1972)


Here is a dirty little secret about me: I have had a lifelong dream of being the daughter of a mobster. Since my father is neither Italian nor on the wrong side of the law, I like to watch movies like The Godfather and pretend that Marlon Brando is my father.

The Godfather trilogy takes you between New York City and Sicily, Italy, where their families are huge, the food is made by mama and the wine is plentiful. If you’re looking to get a feel of the old world, while getting away from the throngs of tourists found in Rome, hop a ferry from Calabria over to Sicily. Keep an eye out for the Costa Nostra Mafia, though!