Movies that inspired me to be a wanderer

You may never imagine how many travel movies I have watched so far. Every time I need some motivation to step out of my comfort zone and explore the world around me, I always look for travel movies or books. They are somehow like my painkillers. I know it sounds silly but it’s true. They have been a source of inspiration for me in one way or another. You know the feeling when you watch a great travel movie and all you want to do after that is to leave everything behind and head to unknown lands, don’t you? If you are, like me, in need of an inspiring movie to push you into adventures, then this post is definitely for you. Here in this post, I’ve listed out 6 travel movies that inspired my wanderlust.

Into The Wild (2007)

Inspiring travel movies

“Into The Wild” is by far my most favorite travel movie. It follows the true story of a young, talented man named Christopher Mccandless who decided to leave the ordinary life with a bright future ahead and seek out freedom. Shortly after graduating from college, Chris set out on a road trip through America before ending up in the wilderness of Alaska, living his dream life. Some may say he was reckless, some other may suppose he was ignorant, but what is wrong with chasing our dream and living the way we want to live? Chris just followed his heart, looking for real happiness in life. Honestly, Chris’s story has inspired me a lot for my own journey. He made me realize that travel is not about what we carry with us but about what we carry inside. If you prefer reading to watching, then the book is also a great alternative.

Here are several inspiring quotes from the movie that I love:

“It’s not always necessary to be strong, but to feel strong.”

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”

“Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.”

“My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.”

“When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines upon you.”

Wild (2014)

Inspiring travel movies

Another true story about a person who wants to venture into the wilderness to discover themselves. Wild is based on the novel of the same name, following Cheryl Strayed as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail – an 1100 mile solo hike on the West Coast of America in order to recover from her personal tragedy and to rediscover herself. This heart-touching story has taught me quite a lot of lessons in life, and on top of that, it has indeed motivated me to do things that I’m always scared of doing.

Honestly, I loved the book more than the movie (books are always better) but I have to say that the movie didn’t fail to convey the emotional impact of the book. Whether you read it or watch it, Wild is always a sincere and emotional story that will surely inspire a journey into the wild like no other.

Great quotes from Wild:

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave”

“It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be,”

Queen (2013, Bollywood)

Inspiring travel moviesOkay, this is one of the very few Bollywood movies that I Iove to watch. Starring Kangana Ranwat, the movie is about a typical “Asian” girl whose dreams are to get married with the love of her life. But things never happen like the way we plan. Rani’s marriage was cancelled just a day before the wedding. In order to overcome the grief, Rani decided to go on her honeymoon alone to Europe. And this very trip has changed her life forever. As an Asian girl, I can relate to her in many different aspects. The story of Rani has inspired me to break free from the typical traditional Asian mindset and live my dream.

The Before Trilogy (1995 – 2004 – 2013)

inspiring travel movies

You may have heard of The beautiful Before Trilogy with seemingly endless conversations – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight. They are all truly worth watching but remember to watch Before Sunrise first because it’s the beginning of the whole story and I love it the most. The movie tells the story of an American young man and a French girl who meet on a train in Europe. After a great conversation on the train, they decide to get off and spend one night together in Vienna. They talk, share stories, tell jokes and laugh. And things happen – Affection, love, distance, separations.

Some of the most beautiful quotes from the Trilogy:

“I was having this awful nightmare that I was 32. And then I woke up and I was 23. So relieved. And then I woke up for real, and I was 32.”

“If there’s any kind of magic in this world… it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know it’s almost impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.”

“You can never replace anyone because everyone is made up of such beautiful specific details.”

“I think I’m always so much more happy with books and movies and stuff. I think I get more excited about well-done representations of life than life itself.”

“Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”

The Bucket List (2007)

The Bucket List is an inspiring story of two ill old men who decide to go on a trip to fulfill all of their dreams before they kick the bucket.

The story is quite simple, but deep at the same time. The core message that you can take from the movie is that “Life is short. Live each day to the fullest”. There are many dreams we want to achieve but are not courageous enough to chase. There are many things that we want to cross off in our bucket list but we procrastinate just because we don’t have time (and money). But we never know what the future holds, so just live each day as if it was our last. If you need something to kick you and give you an urge to pursue your passion, then watch the Bucket List!

inspiring travel movies

Best quotes from the movie:

“You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. ‘Have you found joy in your life?’ ‘Has your life brought joy to others?’”

“Somewhere, some lucky guy’s having a heart attack.”

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

inspiring travel movies

I watched the movie a long while ago and still remember every piece of it. It’s a simple story about a normal guy named Walter Mitty who hates his nine-to-five job and dreams of an adventurous life.

If you are a corporate slave working in a dull office and always daydream about adventures, then I’m sure you will relate to Mitty at some level. The movie is definitely an inspiration for those who are dying (and also dare) to break out of the monotonous life and fulfill their dreams. Other than that, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty also shows some of the most stunning landscapes in the beautiful countries of Iceland, Greenland, and Afghanistan. After watching it, these places might become your must-see destinations. Who knows?

These lines might inspire you somehow…

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

“Life is about courage and going into the unknown.”

“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”

“Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”

“I just live by the ABC’s — Adventurous. Brave. Creative.”



Above are 6 movies that have inspired me to live my dreams – to be a wanderer. And this is of course not a complete list yet. I’ll soon share with you many more other travel related movies in another post. What is your favorite travel movie? Share with me in the comment below. Thanks for reading!

My bucket list

Sometimes when I feel lost, this bucket list is the only thing that guides my way.

  1. Travel alone – solo backpack trip
  2. Learn 5 languages (French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Italian)
  3. Read 1000 books
  4. Try scuba diving
  5. Learn to play guitar
  6. Learn to play ukulele
  7. Go on a road trip
  8. Quit the full-time job and live the life I want
  9. Learn to swim
  10. Write a book
  11. Visit every continent
  12. Live abroad for at least 3 months (alone)
  13. Learn to drive
  14. Ride a horse
  15. Fall asleep under the stars (alone or with S.O I love)
  16. Milk a cow (removed)
  17. Kiss in the rain
  18. Write and send a message in a bottle (removed)
  19. Go to the highest point of something and yell as loudly as I can
  20. Follow my feet, not a map and let myself get lost
  21. Watch sunrise and sunset on the same day
  22. Swim under a waterfall
  23. Public speaking
  24. Take a yoga class
  25. Take a meditation class
  26. Take part in Vipassana Meditation Course
  27. See the Northern lights
  28. Camp in a national park
  29. LOVE deeply, madly, truly
  30. Watch a meteor shower
  31. Learn to skateboard (removed)
  32. Get lost in a foreign country
  33. Start a blog/website
  34. Pet a dog
  35. Collect postcards from 60 countries (ongoing)
  36. Make a scrapbook (ongoing)
  37. Write letters to my future self
  38. Go skiing
  39. Sleep/camp on the beach (alone or with S.O)
  40. Write a song and play it
  41. Watch the sunrise in Bagan – Myanmar
  42. Carry out the dream project (ongoing)
  43. Make a short movie/documentary by myself (filmmaker)
  44. Translate a book
  45. Visit every country in Southeast Asia
  46. Take IELTS exam
  47. Live alone for a while in a new city
  48. Collect 10000 stories from strangers
  49. Inspire someone
  50. Ride a boat
  51. Run a marathon
  52. Have a tattoo
  53. Be a vegetarian
  54. Kiss a stranger
  55. Go to India
  56. Be a storyteller
  57. Be a zero waste person
  58. Run my own business
  59. Walk Camino de Santiago
  60. Visit Nepal
  61. Visit Bhutan
  62. Live off-grid for a while
  63. Live a minimalist life
  64. DIY home decor
  65. Learn to make natural shampoo bars/ soaps
  66. Learn sign language
  67. Do a random act of kindness
  68. Do Volunteer work
  69. Volunteer in Africa
  70. Take the Yoga Teacher Training Course
  71. Take a road trip in New Zealand
  72. (To be updated)…

[Story 03] A big hug (to Sasha and Marina)

This was the first time I met Sasha and Marina. I did not know their existence before and neither did they. However, it has never been a problem for us. Seeing them at the first time, I felt a sense of familiarity, a sense of understanding that I couldn’t even explain. I hadn’t hosted any couchsurfers before. Most of the time I just meet up with them, show them around and we talk, sometimes all day long, other times only a few hours. I live in a tiny apartment with a small balcony where my mom often uses to keep old stuff and grow her green plants. Thus, I know it would be uncomfortable for my guests if they stay here. Wondering when I would be able to buy my own house – a really huge one so that my couchsurfing friends can stay as many days as they want :-O.

I had to go out early this morning when my guests also planned to when my guests also planned to continue their journey to China. I was leaving home while they were still asleep and maybe having sweet dreams. I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to them, to give them a goodbye hug. I did not have the chance to listen to their stories, to share with them my thoughts that surely I know they will always understand. Everytime I see them, I always think of Chris, of what he had done, of everything he had given up to live his own life, of the way he smiled when talking about freedom and about uncertain life ahead.

In couchsurfing, everyone treats each other with kindness and never asks the other for more. They share the same thoughts, the same belief; and they always take a leap of faith into the unknown future. I believe in Sasha and Marina, believe in their sayings and their visions. They are a lovely couple and the love they give each other is just so real.

“Going on the road trip, we have to deal with tons of difficulties but we have each other, so we believe everything will fall into place. Someday you will find your special-someone who understands you, shares the same passion with you, and things will get surely easier. Believe me.” Marina said to me when we were all wandering along a lake nearby my apartment.

That night, we sat at the edge of the lake, talking for hours about things in life.

“We travel because we love freedom. Living a normal life- working nine-to-five, paying bills, raising kids,.. is not what we love, at least till this moment. We are still young, we might think about it after we fulfill our own dreams.”

“Becoming adventures has changed us a lot, certainly. Maybe it is sort of vague for us but I’m sure our family and our friends will see such changes clearly. Travelling gives us the chance to meet new people just like you, which is our motivation and is also one of the reasons for us not quiting. “

“So you guys have any plans for the future yet? I mean after the trip..”

Marina shrugged her shoulders -” I don’t know, maybe we will travel, travel and travel. We don’t have a fixed plan. Just go with the flow.”

Their dream is to go to America, which is fairly challenging particularly for Russian people.

We decided to go back home when the rain started to pour. Everyone around us hurried to their place, trying to get out of the rain. I thought my two friends would tell me to hurry up but out of my expectation they were just walking leisurely as if nothing was happening. Sasha was rejoicingly looking upwards with arms outstretched tasting fresh raindrops falling from the sky. He said, “I like rain, it’s cool and it’s just like a shower”.

“But you two may get a cold then.”

“We are strong and healthy. This little rain can not get us down.” – They smiled at me and said.

“Bad weather is one of the difficulties on the way, isn’t it?”

“Not really. We have never seen it as a difficulty. If it’s not dangerous,  we just face it head on”.

They reminded me of people out there who are always scared of nature. They try to get out of  bad weather and feel terrible everytime it starts to rain. They immediately pull their kids out whenever seeing them jumping into puddles formed after the rain. I’m not sure if this way of protection is good enough because just like others, I always blame bad weather for everything.

Talking to them helps me to broaden my visions, to know that the world is big and my hands are just so small.

I forgot to give them a goodbye hug, hopefully somewhere on the road I’m following, I will have the chance to meet them again and give them a big hug.


Vietnamese version here