I’ve loved the magic of movies ever since I was a child and Great Aunt Helen took me to see “The Sound of Music”. Back then, I was drawn to the singing Von Trapp kids, totally missing the point of the Nazi story but still very entertained. I’ve seen it probably hundreds of time since then, and I’m drawn to something different every time. The older version of me appreciates the strength and independence of Julie Andrews as Maria. She’s a rebellious nun who is starting over, living on the edge, and being bold. It’s one of my favorite travel movies and it inspired me to visit Salzburg, Austria, where it was filmed!
So, here are my nominations for the “Top 8 Chick-Flick Travel Movies” to motivate women to travel boldly like Maria.
1.) Eat, Pray, Love
Such an obvious choice but I really connected with Liz Gilbert’s book (I read it at least 5 times) and loved the movie almost as much. It’s based on the real-life experiences of Liz Gilbert and her bold life transformation. Leaving her life in the US, she goes to Italy to learn to live passionately, finds the zen of meditation in an Indian ashram, and then finds herself opening up to the love of a wonderful man she meets in Bali. Italian food! Hindu meditation. A Balinese romance! And the wisdom of Ketut, the toothless old Balinese Medicine Man. This movie is partially responsible for motivating me to make some major life changes, quitting my job to start over in Asia. Thanks, Liz!
2.) Midnight in Paris
Owen Wilson plays a writer who vacations in Paris with his fiancee and her family. Looking for inspiration and an escape from her parents, he wanders around Paris at night and gets mysteriously transported into drama from the more glamorous 1920’s era, where he falls in love with the city and bonds with the ghosts of writers and artists from that era. The movie made me want to wander around Paris at midnight, have a drink with the ghosts, or sit at a café during the day and just watch people while imagining myself in a different era. I’m easily entertained.
3.) Under the Tuscan Sun
Diane Lane plays a woman who leaves her cheating husband and flees to Tuscany where she buys a run-down Italian villa to renovate as she renovates her life. Someday, I will find my perfect fixer-upper in the Italian countryside and will hire some Polish guys to do the hard work while I sip wine and admire the view of my vineyards. And then that handsome Italian guy will drive up in his fancy sports car…(yeah, right!)
One of my recent favorites and nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, it tells the story of a young woman back in the 1950’s who had the courage to jump on a ship and sail from Ireland to America to start a new life. Her courage was especially admirable considering the era and should inspire today’s women to live boldly. Torn between her familiar, comfortable life and the unknown of starting over in a new country, I could really relate.
5.) The Holiday
Cameron Diaz escapes her life in Los Angeles (and a bad relationship) by arranging a house swap with Kate Winslet, also looking to escape from the drama of a man. Leaving their lives, even briefly, helped them gain a new perspective and develop strength. A great holiday chick-flick that makes the snowy English countryside look so inviting, even though I usually hate snow. I’d probably like it better with a cup of steaming hot chocolate and a steaming hot Jude Law keeping me warm. England just looks so charming in the winter!
6.) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Walter (played by Ben Stiller) works for LIFE magazine and tries to impress the woman he loves by doing something more than just existing, so he sets out on an unbelievable journey to embrace adventure and get a “real life”. Walter’s adventures made me want to visit isolated areas of the Arctic and stalk Sean Penn into the remote mountains. Thanks to Walter Mitty, Iceland is now on my Bucket List.
7.) Before Sunrise
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play two random strangers who meet on a train and spend one evening together in Vienna. They wander the streets, play pinball in a dive bar, and talk about life. The movie is a reminder that sometimes the most amazing travel memories are completely spontaneous moments, connecting with a stranger in a strange city and making the most of every minute.
8.) The Sound of Music
As a 6-year-old, I was mesmerized by the singing Von Trapp children. Years later, as I watched it for the 45th time, I understood the deeper storylines and appreciated the courage of Maria, a rebellious nun. When I visited Salzburg in the late 80’s, I went on a “Sound of Music” tour, danced through the gazebo singing about being “16 going on 17”, and saw the church where the big wedding scene was filmed. Salzburg is a breathtakingly beautiful city, even if you’re not a “Sound of Music” fan.
“The Academy” will probably never create a category for “Chick-Flick Travel Movies”, but I’m sure all travelers have those favorite movies that touched, motivated and inspired them to take a chance, make a change.
What are your favorites? Any suggestions?