Some people are moved by books, others are moved by film. So, I’ve put together a list of the best travel and adventure movies to help inspire you to take action.
After watching Indiana Jones, doesn’t it make you want to search wild places for lost artifacts? Or at least travel to one of the new and exciting places in the films?
“Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.” – Dr. Indiana Jones
Just like you’ll have the urge to hit the beach after watching The Endless Summer. Don’t just let the feeling build up, make some plans and launch your own adventure. That’s what Adventure Strong is all about.
The Best Travel Movies
One of my favorite movie trilogies, Indiana Jones with his signature whip, his iconic fedora, and deep knowledge of archaeology and culture stirred my imagination like few other films. From riding elephants to eating monkey brain, Indiana Jones is always interesting.
As an international provocateur, it’s natural to travel the world dishing out justice to bad guys and wild nights to beautiful ladies. In what universe is that not amazing? None. So, watch them. I like Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, and Pierce Brosnan.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
A powerful magical ring is sought by the dark, powerful Lord Sauron. The ring has been in the Shire with Bilbo Baggins. But the grey wizard, Gandalf, soon recruits Frodo Baggins and his friend Sam to take the ring and flee the Shire. Frodo may be scared but he knows he’s on an important quest.
Worried about going on your own adventure? I promise you won’t be hunted by ring wraiths, goblins, orcs, or uruk-hai.
Regardless of how you feel about The Beach, this movie has been such an inspiration to travelers, backpackers, and travel bloggers that it’s become sort of a classic travel movie. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this film about a boy who travels to Thailand in search of a secluded beach paradise.
Into The Wild
This is the film version of the classic book written by Jon Krakauer. It’s about Christopher McCandless, a young man who, after college, gives up everything and goes on a journey to travel and experience life. Other than a brief slip over the border into Mexico, he stays in America. Eventually, he makes his way north to try living alone in the wilderness of Alaska. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end so well.
“When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.” – Christopher McCandless
Jeff Johnson sets off on a quest to repeat the 1968 journey of Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia, finishing with an ascent of Cerro Corcovado.
“Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all… but we just went for it.” – Yvon Chouinard
Daniel Avery drops out of college to travel. He heads to Europe to walk the Camino de Santiago. An unfortunate accident sets Thomas Avery, Daniel’s father, on the trail. The Way is a touching film with great characters.
The Motorcycle Diaries
During his youth, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (or Che Guevara) went on a long motorcycle road trip with his friend Alberto Granado. The trip opened Che’s eyes to his life’s purpose. This film is a recounting of that tale.
Being diagnosed with cancer will shake most peoples lives. When Ben Tyler, played by Joshua Jackson, is diagnosed he buys an old motorcycle and takes off on a road trip through Canada.
The Way Back
This movie really surprised me. It was a Netflix recommendation and I thought, why not? The Way Back is about escapees from a Soviet gulag in Siberia. They travel over 4,000 miles on foot, barely surviving, to escape the Soviet Union. Eventually, they find freedom in India. The most incredible thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true story. The Way Back shows how having survival skills and using your intelligence can keep you alive in appalling circumstances.
The Endless Summer
A classic film that follows a few Californians chasing their dream of surfing the finest waves in the world. The cinematography is wonderful. Even if you’re not really into surfing, this is a valuable movie to watch.
Into the Cold: A Journey of the Soul
Much like 180 Degrees South, this is a film about retracing steps. In this case, two men are traveling to the North Pole to commemorate the successful journey of Admiral Peary in 1909. Quite a challenging environment to travel.
A young man grows up in the slums of Mumbai. He draws on his varied life experiences to answer questions on a game show. People suspect he somehow cheated so he’s arrested and interrogated. Slumdog Millionaire is surprisingly good.
Never Cry Wolf
A biologist is sent into the wilderness to study the caribou population and figure out why it’s on the decline. The suspect wolves but no one has seen a wolf kill a caribou. The film is based on the Farley Mowat’s autobiography.
Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) works for FedEx, so time is important. He’s riding along with a shipment of packages when the plane crashes. Chuck is the only survivor on a deserted island. Despite some mishaps, Chuck survives and eventually returns home.
Travel & Adventure TV Shows
- Everest: Beyond the Limit – This is my favorite of the adventure TV shows. It shows the beauty and uncompromising power of the greatest mountain on the planet. Plus, all the drama that comes with groups of humans trying to do stuff.
- Out of the Wild (aka The Alaska Experiment) – The first two season were set in Alaska where groups of people would attempt to survive a fall and winter in the bush.
- Dual Survival – Set in various situations, the pair try to survive and navigate. The settings are interesting and the different viewpoints on what and how to do things is valuable.
- Survivorman – Les Stroud is a Canadian survival expert. Les is often alone but sometimes he works with locals. But for the most part, he survives and films on his own.
Thanks for reading!