The question of why we travel is not just one answer, every person has different reasons for it. I love to see how different people live and what differences have shaped and moulded them.
I have picked out five travel films that have all impacted on the way I view travel. I think these films are important because they allow us to expand our understanding of new cultures and people. We can experience vicariously the experiences and challenges that a filmmaker takes, from the comfort of our sofa!
Have a look at the trailers below and let me know what you think!
1. 180º South
“It’s easy for us to blindly consume, when we don’t see the effect it has on other places. The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life, it’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life because most of the damaged caused by humans is caused unintentionally, I think. And in response to people saying, ‘You can’t go back.’ I say, ‘Well what happens when you get to the edge of the cliff. Do you take one step forward or do 180° turn and take one step forward? Which way you going? Which is progress?’ The solution to many of the world’s problems maybe to turn around and to take a forward step. You can’t just keep trying to make a flawed system work.” Yvon Choulnard
This film follows Jeff Johnson retrace a journey of his heroes Yvon Choulnard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia. Jeff’s life turns when he meets Choulnard and Tompkins in a rainy hut in Patagonia. These two men, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all, the experience of raw nature. Choulnard and Tompkins are reluctant businessmen (of Patagonia and North Face clothing respectively) who have come to Patagonia to spend their fortunes buying huge portions of land and protecting them from developers. It is a thought provoking and visionary film into the importance of our relationships with nature.
“I think everyone should… should say bollocks to it and do what they damn well dream of doing. At one point, just say “Yeah, OK, I jacked in everything in order to follow my dream” Tom Allen
One of the first ‘Adventure’ films I ever purchased was Janapar – a fantastic film by Tom Allen about his three and a half year bicycle trip across three continents. In 2016, I was lucky enough to meet Tom at Kendal Calling Festival. The focus of his talk was about the fact there is more to adventure then just visiting amazing places. The importance lies in the journey and not just the destination. His film not only was one of the reasons I though ‘Fuck it, I’m going to make a Documentary’ but also that there is no way to go wrong if you just follow your dreams. Well, that’s what I got out of it anyway!
3. Living on One Dollar
“It is the situation they are in that is holding them back, not who they are.” Chris Temple
1.1 billion people live under $1 a day. Yep, you read that right – its crazy, and hard to understand. The concept of living on a dollar a day for two months in rural Guatemala was thought up by four U.S Students.
As most people around them never know when or how much they may be paid, Chris and Zach simulated this aspect of unpredictable income by drawing their day’s money from a hat each morning. Some mornings they drew a “0” and did not have any money to spend while other days they drew a 1, 2, 3, 6, or any number up to a maximum of 9 dollars.
I felt this made the whole thing feel more realistic, and this film is important. For me it shattered the idea that there isn’t anything that one person can do, that problems are too big. It’s given me validation in my expedition away this year.
4. Human Planet
“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no-one will care about what they have never experienced” David Attenborough.
This is a beautiful series from the makers of Planet Earth that follows the struggles and triumphs of the planet’s most adaptable inhabitants: humans.
From the majestic jungles of South America to the barren Sahara Desert, this show introduces viewers to an array of indigenous people and their lifestyles. Especially relevant as this is a series, there is plenty of opportunity to learn about different cultures and environments.
“I do not often get lonely, and I never get bored”. Laura Decker
In this film 14-year-old, Laura Dekker sets out-camera in hand-on a two-year voyage. This is in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. The majority of this filming is done by Laura herself. It’s interesting to see how she changes over the seventeen-month length of the Voyage.
Laura did not have a conventional upbringing, she was born and lived on a boat the first four years of her life. Following her parent’s divorce her father had a breakdown and she became very self-sufficient.
Due to how determined and happy she is, I can’t help feel jealous she found her life purpose at such a young age.