Stories to inspire

Last night I finished a really inspiring read about a woman who packed up her life, took her then six-year-old daughter and spent years travelling. It got me thinking about other types of stories that inspire my endless desire to travel.

From great books to fun movies and even beautiful songs… these stories I return to time and again because I cannot get enough of travel. I want to be like this woman who packed up her life… I want to see the world, challenge myself and experience new people, places and – of course – foods!

So I thought I’d do a little blog post about these movies/books/songs that consistently inspire me in the hopes that I can pass their great stories onto you! I’ll start with the book that inspired this post!

Backyard to Backpack by Evie Farrell
Backyard to Backpack is the true story of Evie Farrell, a Sydney mum who was raising her daughter Emmie alone. She loved her daughter so much but something was missing… quality time with her daughter. The ‘9 to 5’ urban lifestyle was getting in the way of actually spending time with Emmie and seeing her grow up.

So Evie made the bold decision to change her life. She asked Emmie if she wanted to leave their home and go travelling for a year. Emmie’s response was simple: as long as she was with her mum, she would be happy.

Their lives were never the same!

“I’m an average mum who had a big dream. I just made that dream come true. Whatever your dream is, you have to give it a shot. Dare to make your magic happen. There will never be a perfect time. There’s just now.”

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a pretty famous story – another true story that became a bestselling novel. I admit I’ve never read the book but I’ve seen the movie.

Eat Pray Love is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman who wanted a new life. To reinvigorate herself. To learn to love herself again. She spent three months in Italy feeding herself (“eat”), then three months in India at a shrine (“pray”) and then four months in Bali (“love”).

This is one of those inspiring travel stories that speaks to us more because it is true. The drama, the relationships, the stories… they all ring true, they are familiar. I understand why Elizabeth did what she did.

The Holiday
The Holiday is by far my favourite Christmas movie. I look forward to watching it every year (often watching it more than once… can’t help myself)! Not only does it have a great cast (Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black), it’s a beautiful and happy love story.

The story follows two women – Iris (Winslet) and Amanda (Diaz) – both of whom are a little down because of their failed relationships. American workaholic Amanda decides a spontaneous international holiday is called for and joins a ‘house swapping’ website. She trades houses with Iris, a sad but lovable writer who lives in a quaint English town.

The only reason Amanda is happy to go to this little town is because Iris ensures her that there are absolutely no men in the town. Amanda wants a break from men. But who does she run into on her first night in town? Iris’ gorgeous and irresistible brother, Graham.

Meanwhile in America, Iris is learning to value herself after being trodden on by her last boyfriend.

I adore this movie. It makes me believe in the magic of travelling again – not because of the romances, but because of the healing powers represented in the story. Both women are out of their comfort zones but find beauty and adventure in these new places. Plus, the lure of a holiday romance doesn’t hurt…

Long Way Round
This is my favourite documentary of all time. Of. All. Time.

Ewan McGregor is one of my favourite actors and travel is my one true love so of course I was drawn to a documentary about Ewan and his best mate Charley Boorman travelling around the world on their motorbikes.

This documentary is the reason I travelled to Mongolia. It’s the reason I want to one day visit the Road of Bones in Russia. It’s the documentary I watch at least once a year to show me what I’m missing out on by just staying put in Sydney. Before every big trip, I watch it. Every time it makes me laugh like a loon. They are a great pair and their adventure is tough, inspiring and enviable.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Let me tell you a little story. Back in university I decided that after graduation I would travel in Europe for 6 months. It was a fantastic decision, by the way. Everyone should do it!

On my last night before I flew out, my best friend Ash and I went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at the cinemas. A quiet and passionate movie, it tells the story of Walter Mitty – a man who goes on an unexpected adventure and finds out unexpected truths about himself and the world. It’s an odd little movie but I love it. In it he travels to amazing countries like Iceland and Greenland.

At the end of the movie, Ash turned to me and goes “We have to go to Iceland!”

I, of course, agreed wholeheartedly. But Ash had no current plans to join me in Europe. Within the space of a two hour movie, he had made a decision. He proceeded to defer his Masters course, work to save money for a few months and join me for what ended up being the best adventure!

A few months after being in Europe, Ash flew over to meet me and we had the most epic adventure. We cycled through the countryside of Ireland, hiked Hadrian’s Wall in England and hiked in Iceland. If it wasn’t for this movie, Ash and I would never have had the adventure of a lifetime.

Step Outside by Jose Gonzalez
This is the theme song to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and every time I hear the song, it makes me want to ‘step outside‘.

It’s a quiet and passionate song – exactly like the movie. It has a wonderful build and is the kind of song you play at top volume in the car, with the windows down and the free wind blowing through your hair (taking some Ventura Highway liberties there, thanks America).

I could definitely keep going – as there are so many songs and movies that inspire me. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, for one! Monte Carlo is another. Lots of fun travel movies out there. And brilliant songs. And unputdownable books.

So get out there and be inspired!

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