As you are probably aware, Paul and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to travel, and we try to explore the far corners of the world whenever we can, and as much as possible! In fact, just today I was talking to a lady today about an upcoming trip to India that we are planning (in a couple of years) when she said “I was supposed to go to India last year, but my friend became ill and so we couldn’t go”. “That’s very sad” I replied; and then, trying to take the conversation up to a happier note, continued “But I bet you just loved “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, right?” “The what?” she said. “You know, that movie about the English people retiring in India?” I said, somewhat shocked. “Never heard of it”... was her reply.
“I Want To Go To There”
This is something that has always surprises me; the fact that there are so many movies filmed in incredible foreign locations that people haven’t actually seen, despite their desires to visit those places – it makes me wonder what attracted them to these countries in the first place? Does someone suddenly say “I want to go to Country X” without having a visual sense it, or it’s culture? How do they know what what they are getting themselves into as far as travel – especially when visiting countries that have cultures that are quite a bit different than ours – like, say, India?
I like that the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” addresses this “Strangers in a strange land” scenario head on: In it, one of the characters is quite closed minded, and without any prior knowledge of what to seen or expect in this unique country, is very miserable and unhappy with the whole Indian experience. The more open-minded characters see the whole thing as a big adventure that thrills their senses and offers new surprises at every turn – good or bad. Early on in the film (having just arrived in India) one character asks another “Will we be alright?” to which he replies “It will be marvellous”; and for me, that statement pretty much sums up the magic of traveling: If you have an open mind and love adventure, it is marvellous, regardless of how things turn out! But having said that, I strongly suggest that if you have an opportunity to get a “sneak peek” of a country by first seeing it in a film, do so – it will get you prepared to some degree of what you will see and things to do when there. Besides, seeing these incredible places up on the big screen is what wakes the travel bug up, and gets the excitement brewing!
For Me, Travel Often Starts With Watching a Movie…
Come to think of it, of the 26 countries I’ve been to so far, probably 95% were first brought to my attention by seeing them in a movie, and thinking “I want to go to there!” It all began back in 1980 when I saw a God-awful movie called “Summer Lovers” which was truly horrible in every way; however, it did introduce me to the Greek Islands which I instantly fell in love with – and fall so hard I did, that I planned to visit – and actually went – to those very islands 4 years later. And although I didn’t see the gratuitous nudity on the beaches as portrayed in the film, (which being 23 years old and backpacking around Europe was a definite disappointment!) I must say Greece is still one of the most incredible and beautiful places I’ve been lucky enough to visit.
So in honour of the countries that are the backdrops for some good, some not-so-good, and some downright bloody awful movies, (I’m looking at you, “Summer Lovers” & “Lara Croft”) I’d like to offer up a few trailers for you to enjoy. Remember, even if the stories in the movies suck, it’s okay – it’s really all about the landscape “eye-candy”showcased in each film, and being exposed to some amazing places in the world that you just might want to visit once you know they exist. Oh, and BTW – the 1/2 is for “Summer Lovers” because it’s such a dreadful film! So on that note, here goes! Enjoy!
# 1 “The Beach” – Thailand – This is a bit of an odd film, but there’s no denying the incredible scenery. We visited this beach on our first trip to Thailand, and yep, it really is that gorgeous!
# 2 “The Motorcycle Diaries” – Peru – Gorgeous film about a pre-revolutionary Che Guevara travelling South America with a friend, and on an old motorcycle. Macchu Picchu is represented! (subtitled)
# 3 ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – India – Need I say more? We haven’t been to India yet, but this film definitely keeps it on our radar!
#4 “Skyfall” – Turkey – Daniel Craig is such an awesome James Bond, and this film opens up with a killer sequence in the Instanbul market, with the famous Sultan Ahmed Mosque in the background. On our travel list for 2015
#5 “Lara Croft-Tomb Raider” – Cambodia – A truly awful movie with a young Angelina Jolie, but you can’t beat the jungle sequences in the old temples outside Siem Reap – we’ve been, and the overgrown trees are amazing to see first hand! Also, catch a glimpse of Angor Wat in a couple of scenes.
#6 “Midnight in Paris” – France – Love him or hate him, Woody Allen really showcases one of the worlds most famous cities beautifully in this film… C’mon, who doesn’t love Paris?
# 7 “The Italian Job” (2003) – Italy – Actually, more like Venice, but man oh man, is there ever a lot of Venice to see! A couple of breathtaking shots in the mountains as well. Actually, we really LOVE this movie – it’s got great action!
# 8 -“The English Patient” – Tunisia – Although the story takes place in Cairo, Egypt, it was filmed in Tunisia. The opening scene flying over the Sahara is what inspired me to go there, which I got to do in 2009 during a trip to Morocco. Awe-inspiring, to say the least!
# 8 1/2 – Summer Lovers – Greek Islands – Sorry, but I had to include this “Cheese-fest” film simply because it was the one that started it all for me. Note that 32 years later, the two leads have actually had a fair bit of success in mainstream film and television… despite making this horrible movie!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little trip around the world to some of my favourite countries, all courtesy of Hollywood – and that like me, you are also inspired to “Want to go to there” to a few of these places. And if you do, then I’d waste no time in making a plan, and booking your ticket – and don’t forget to send me a postcard once you are there! Cheers and happy trails~!