Five Films That Inspire Me To Travel

Sometimes a film captivates me in a way that just makes me desperate to get out there and explore. It’s not necessarily just the locations that were chosen, but everything from the characters to the atmosphere can claw me in. Some people want to be astronauts, some people want to go on Big Brother, I want to be stranded for six months in the Australian Outback. Is that weird? Here are five movies that put me in the mood for dropping everything and adventuring around the world.

1. Koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi

Literally meaning “life out of balance”, Koyaanisqatsi is a movie in the traditional sense; moving pictures and sound. It meticulously cuts together beautiful footage taken from around the United States, backed with Phillip Glass’ thought-provoking score. It’s not all good news admittedly, beyond the hypnotic movements of the clouds and glistening building windows is a study of the human impact on the natural world and the growth of technology. It never fails to impress me, though. Every time I see it, it amazes me how much there is I’ve still yet to see.

Koyaanisqatsi

Directed by Godfrey Reggio, with cinematography by Ron Fricke, Koyaanisqatsi is perhaps still one of my favourite ever films, for how perfectly every piece fits together. I can imagine it not really clicking with everyone and beyond that, the destruction seen later in the movie might even have the opposite effect of inspiration. Yet, there’s something about the way all those dots and dashes of traffic compel me. If aliens every visited Earth, this is the only thing they’d ever need to be showed to understand the history of this planet.

2. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring

The setting for Kim Ki-duk’s lackadaisical feature is a tiny lake which changes drastically from season to season. It seems like pretty much the perfect place for a holiday to me. There’s nobody for miles and the scenery is remarkable every which way you look. It’s also amazing how vividly each season changes the look and feel of the lake. Here in England it’s like binary weather, either it’s gloomy or a bit sunny. In Korea, it seems like every season offers something new. Within the film, each season also offers a new chapter in life, as it charts the progression of the Buddhist monk and his son who live there.

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring

Jusan Pond is the name of the location and is a 200 year old artificial lake in Cheongsong County, Korea. It remains a curious area, for its trees which still grow underneath the water. The calmness of the surrounding forestry and the quiet lifestyle of the monk appeal to me the most. Who wants to bathe on a beach full of hundreds of tourists in Spain when places like this exist?

3. Easy Rider

East Rider

It’s a bit cheesy now, but Easy Rider still manages to capture the road trip sense of adventure better than any other film. Famed for kick-starting the New Hollywood revolution of the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, the film follows two bikers who decide to travel the south of USA in order to “find America”. Their spiritual quest doesn’t end exactly successfully, but the desire to drop everything and explore is something everyone can relate to. The style it’s shot in also adds to the amore, with a kind of scrapbook feel as the story unravels.

East Rider

I think I just love open roads in general. When I see a clear road bending and winding into the horizon, I feel a compulsive need to be there. There’s a bleak ending to the film, with the ever-pending danger of greed likely to get you into trouble, but what’s adventure without a little risk? It takes a lot of guts to stop saying you’re going to do something like this and actually do it. And that alone should be inspiration enough for us all.

4. Fitzcarraldo

Fitzcarraldo

When a man finds it his destiny to drag a ship over a hill, you can do nothing but be instantly captivated. Werner Herzog’s remarkable film stars Klaus Kinski in arguably his greatest role. He plays an Irishman named Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, living in Peru and in search of rubber, which was the most profitable industry in Peru at the time. Once rich from selling the rubber he finds, he aims to complete his dream of building an opera house in Iquitos. The character’s sheer desire to get what he wants by any means necessary is what really carries the film. He takes a steamship to an area he hears has a significant amount of rubber trees and when he reaches an impassable part of the river, he’s forced to move the ship over a hill to the other side.

Fitzcarraldo

The film is all about getting stuck into nature and harnessing its power. With the help of the locals, Fitzcarraldo cuts down numerous trees and creates a conveyor belt of trunks to roll the ship up the hill. The thing that really wows me is how instead of cutting corners, director Herzog went deep into the jungles of Peru and actually took the ship over the hill. To me it’s a film-making feat which trumps almost any other. What you see in the film is all real and when you see it, you want to go to Peru and take a ship over a hill yourself.

5. Walkabout

Walkabout

Walkabout isn’t about travelling, it’s about survival. Nicolas Roeg’s cult film, loosely based on James Vance Marshall’s novel of the same name, charts the journey of a girl and her younger brother stranded in the Australian Outback. Again, it’s the theme of isolation in a beautiful place that appeals to me. I like how it’s people from the city that find themselves out there, making it easy to relate to everything they experience. Especially the meeting of the Aborigines which is an experience in itself.

Walkabout

It takes human life back to its most basic and forces the characters to survive in the dry heat. The name Walkabout refers to Australian Aborigines having to live out in the wilderness on their own for several months as a kind of ritual. Every time I watch Walkabout, I think “Yeah I could do that”. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to ever actually do it, but it makes me desperately want to all the same.

Those are just five, but there must be thousands. What movies inspire you to travel?

An easyCruise Review: Who Said Cruising is for the Over 60s?

Ever since easyCruise started, I’ve been interested as to just what they’re like. Sailing on the easyCruise Life, two of my friends Lindsay Pratt and Louise Aldridge took a week’s break around Greece. They wrote an easyCruise review below and you can see their easyCruise photo gallery on Flickr.

Having just enjoyed a week’s cruise around the Greek Islands with easyCruise, we have to say that if you are thinking of taking your first cruise or want a great value way to see the Greek Islands, give easyCruise a try. You won’t enjoy the same level as luxury as a Cunard cruise but you will have a great time. We spent everyday at a different beach and partied until the early hours in seven different destinations; it’s a really great way to go island hopping in Greece.

easyCruise Life at port

Together we (both in our mid 20s) set out on the seven night Greek Island and Turkey itinerary on the new ship easyCruise Life last week. Our expectations were low and we were somewhat sceptical of what we might get on this “no frills” cruise, having paid just £100 pp for the week’s accommodation. We arrived with expectations of a bright orange ship and staff dressed in orange polyester, but once onboard we soon ate our words.

The ship was modest (but not orange at all) and was kept spotlessly clean. The facilities were all very modern with a swimming pool, three hot tubs and cosy sun loungers, plus a gym, restaurant and bar. The cabins are quite small but unlike other cruises, you only really sleep on the ship, so it really isn’t a problem at all.

As we set sail out of Piraeus, we enjoyed a drink on deck in the sunshine and met some of our fellow ship mates. The passengers onboard were very mixed with but we’d say that half were made up of young groups under 30. The other half comprised of smaller groups, couples, as well as a few families. There were a lot of South African and North American people as it works out to be an affordable way for them to holiday in Greece. That night, we enjoyed some Greek dishes at the ship’s modern restaurant, followed by a boogie on the dance floor.

The next morning we arrived at our first port of call – Kalymnos, where we took the local bus and explored the island. We spent the afternoon lying on the beach with our new found friends. That evening we dined ashore and discovered our first delicious taste of souvlaki, a popular chicken kebab wrap with tzatziki sauce and a bargain at just €1.80.

Beach Party in Greece

We asked our waiter for the best place to go and he recommended a beach bar a short drive away. We hopped in a taxi (the driver’s family also in tow) and headed to the Dolmus bar in Kantouni which is situated just 5 meters from the shore line. We enjoyed a drink looking out to sea with the moon shimmering down and waves crashing around us. Being out of season, it was fairly quiet, but in the peak summer time this place would be an amazing place to party. By midnight, it had filled up with locals and after a few free shots from the friendly manager we realised it was 4am. We hurried back to the ship as it was due to sail at 6am and were told by security that we were the last onboard!

After sleeping until 2pm, we arrived at Bodrum in Turkey only to find that most of the museums and sites were closed on a Monday, so back to the beach to enjoy a bit more sun. Being a popular resort with the Dutch, the town was covered in orange flags and people wearing orange shirts as Holland was playing Italy in the Euro2008 football. Everyone got into the spirit of things with flares going off at the end of the game when Holland won. The party started at midnight at a lively disco bar called The White House, where we danced on the window sill to RnB and Funky House with the local waiters. There was also an incredible dancer dressed as spider man who jumped from building to building and hung off the roof whilst body popping and strutting some very funky moves. – impressive!

Kos has some great walks along the mountain range, but due to sleeping until midday we missed the last buses to any of these places, so make your way out early if you want to explore. We headed to a pleasant beach near the marina instead but the more pristine sandy beaches can be found on other parts of the island. Again, in the evening there were no shortages of places to party, with friendly locals offering a warm welcome and yet more free shots.

Duckies taking a walk down the beach

Next was Paros, our favourite island on the trip. It has lots of white washed buildings and little fishing villages along the coast and gave you a true representation of a traditional Greek island. The local bus service runs frequently and you could easily do a full circle around the island. It didn’t have as much night-life as the other islands but after three nights of non-stop partying, it was nice to take it easy even though we still made it back to the ship at 3am.

The next day everyone on the ship was ready to spend a full day in Mykonos. We spent the morning getting lost around the town, taking numerous wrong turns around its maze like streets. We eventually found the south bus terminal and headed on the busy local bus to Paradise Beach with half of the easyCruise people in tow. The beach is a hot spot for the gay community and nudism isn’t frowned upon. We soon discovered that that the right hand side of the beach was a lot more naked than the left – these guys really don’t want any strap marks at all. There are three major bars on the beach and by 4pm, the music was pumping and most people were on the bar dancing. We stayed till about 9pm as things were dying down, but in the height of summer, the party continues until the sun comes up. We also missed the Ministry of Sound evening by one day which we’re sure would have been pretty impressive. We headed back to Mykonos Town and found the famous Scandinavia bar along with all the easyCruise people. It seemed the place to be.

At our final destination of Syros we decided to escape from the other tourists and headed to a deserted beach on the other side of the island. A quiet time sunbathing before an early dinner as the ship was leaving at 10pm. We rocked the ship with a party on deck, but the ship was soon rocking us as the waves got a little choppy. We had to dance from one side of the ship to the other in order to keep standing upright –(honestly due to the waves, not the alcohol).

A few sore heads in the morning but we still had a full day of sightseeing to do around Athens before our flight home. We decided the heat was too much and took a little train around the ancient sites to save our aching legs. We wondered around the Acropolis and eventually found the Temple of Zeus. We spent more time in cafes drinking water that day, than on any of the islands. We guess our farewell party was paying the price.

Would we go on this holiday again? – definitely!