One of my favorite things to do when I am not riding is watch movies. Movies give you an escape from reality and have the ability to change your mood in such a way, and so quickly, too. I use them to inspire me to go on local bicycling adventures. That is why I want to share with you my top 6 most inspiring movies I watched recently, which has given me my desire to go out and explore the world. I suggest checking these movies out yourself if you haven’t seen them. It may help ignite that desire to explore!
1. Long Way Round
I will start with a movie that isn’t exactly a movie, but instead a series of episodes documenting a motorcycle journey around the world. “Long Way Round” follows Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s trip around the world starting in the UK and making it all the way to New York City. They go from being novice adventure riders to seasoned veterans on the saddle after being on the road for months at a time.
This was the movie that jumpstarted my imagination to explore the world. At first, I wanted to do this by motorcycle, but seeing how difficult it was in the movie even with a couple of support vehicles, I opted to try it with a bicycle where maintenance is much easier and cheaper than a motorcycle. Plus, I am the one powering my own journey without the reliance on fuel.
The guys did a sequel called, “Long Way Down,” which took their journey down to South Africa from the UK. I really didn’t like that one as much, but it did feature a single bicycle tourist who was riding up the African continent by himself. A rather comical scene because Ewan and Charlie were cracking up about how hard it was to ride down on a motorcycle, and they encounter this guy doing it on a bicycle.
This series is available on Netflix streaming or DVD (Amazon.com).
2. The Way
Another great movie that has nothing to do with bicycle touring. The movie stars Martin Sheen and is directed by Emilio Estevez. It’s about a hike across Spain called the Camino de Santiago. People would make this journey every year across the country. I had a chance to see this in person for the first time when we were traveling across Spain by car from Logrono to Pamplona, and we saw many hikers walking the trail. We even had a chance to meet some Americans making their way through Pamplona.
The movie is a sad one where Martin Sheen’s character takes the place of his son who had died on first day of the hike. He travels the Camino in grievance, but finds a couple of other people who are also traveling through the Camino with their own sets of problems.
The movie was very entertaining and funny, and it gave me a good preview of Spain. I don’t doubt that I will be doing the same hike or even a bike tour in the near future here after watching this film and seeing it in person.
3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
As I understand, this was a remake of an older film. The one I watched starred Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty. He was an average Joe working at Time magazine as the Manager of Negative Assets. The magazine was going through some downsizing and the pivotal event of releasing the final hard copy required a cover photo from a photo journalist, starring Sean Penn. The negative for that particular photo was not available, so Walter is scrambles to find it.
In the process, Walter is forced to deal with the death of his father and his mundane life and go on a worldwide adventure to find Sean Penn in search of this picture. The adventure completely changes his life.
I got goosebumps watching this movie as it reminded me of the simplicity of just getting up and getting out there to make everyday an adventure. This is one of my favorite movies to watch if I need an inspiration to travel. This one was a bit difficult to find online to watch so look for it at your local video rental place or DVD (Amazon.com).
4. One Mile Above
This next film is the first of 2 bike touring related films. This foreign film takes place in China near the Mynamar or Tibet region as a guy who is going on his first bicycle tour in memory of his brother. Parts of the film seems a bit exaggerated in terms of the issues one would face but I suppose if you’re trying to climb mountains, it can possibly happen. I enjoyed this very much as it was another glimpse of bike touring outside an American point of view.
Be prepared to read subtitles as the entire film is in Mandarin Chinese. Some of the most beautiful places you can imagine is highlighted here. I would love to have my chance in visiting and seeing for myself.
5. Janapar: Love on a Bike
Janapar: Love on a Bike is a documentary of Tom Allen (Twitter), a well-known bicycle tourists in the social media circles. He and 2 other friends set off on a bike tour only to be side-tracked by finding his true love in another country.
This is probably every male bicycle tourist’s dream, to find love on the road. In reality, it is actually rather difficult as you’re constantly on the move and personal hygiene may be questionable from time to time.
Tom’s journey through the Middle East and Africa is an incredible feat. Just to watch that plot line alone would have made me happy, but the side story puts this movie in a very entertaining light. I’ve followed and interacted with Tom on Twitter and on his website. He is currently carrying out bike tours and living an adventurer’s life. Go check out Janapar for yourself!
6. A Survey of Open Space
This title was something I got to watch while I was traveling through Europe. I know, how disturbed are we to watch other people bike tour while we were on our own bike tour? The film takes place in the United States documenting 2 – 3 people’s journey from the border of Texas and Mexico all the way to the Arctic Circle. As with most bicycle touring films, we get to see how they prepare for their ride. They documented very well their challenges and trip highlights, like going to see a horse rodeo and watching a mustang jump over a fence to run off into the sunset.
The film was funny at times and made us very nostalgic while we were traveling through Europe. It made us yearn to come back and tour our great country to see what they saw and experience all the ups and down in riding through Texas and other states to reach the Arctic Circle.
You can rent the film through Amazon’s digital rental.
There you have it! My top 6 adventure related films that I enjoyed watching recently. Have you watched any of these? Do you have others that you enjoy watching? If so, leave a comment below and let me know. I would love to check them out for myself.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.