Before I discovered my passion for travel, my first and foremost hobby was cinematography. I even considered making a career out of it. So here are a few films that inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and discover the world.

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1. Little Forest

The Story: Hye-won is a young woman who decides to leave everything behind and return to her hometown after repeatedly failing the exam to become a teacher. She’s lost and doesn’t really know what she’s looking for in life. Reconnecting with her friends and her past will finally help her discover a new dream and make her realize that you don’t have to be like everyone else to succeed in life.

Lessons learned: It’s okay to be different and not want the same things as everyone else. The most important thing is to be yourself! As long as you’re happy and fulfilled where you are and in what you do. What’s more, going back to times or eras when you were really happy and things were simpler can also give you strength and help you realize who you are and what you really want.

Quote: “I should find my own little forest too.”– Hye-won – “Little Forest”

2. Into the Wild

The Story: After graduating from university, Christopher McCandless (aka “Alexander Supertramp”), disillusioned by the reality and corruption of the society in which he lives, donates all his savings to Oxfam to go and experience life in the wild. He hikes, kayaks, hitchhikes, learns lots of different things and meets some wonderful people along the way, ending up on an abandoned bus in Alaska.
I won’t tell you the ending, but I must tell you that this film is the only one to have a sad ending (it’s also a biography), so get your tissues ready!

Lessons learned: I’d like to point out that Christopher never told his family or friends where he was, so of course, for me, it’s absolutely essential to do the opposite and always keep in touch to avoid mishaps. Also, Mother Nature is no joke, so don’t eat or touch anything if you don’t know or aren’t sure what it is. But it’s also one of the first films that encouraged me to enjoy life to the full without forgetting that memories are best shared!

Quote: “It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found.” – Christopher McCandless – “Into the Wild”

3. True Spirit

The Story: Jessica Watson, 16, has a crazy dream: to set the record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe non-stop and unassisted. After a failed attempt, but also taking into account her dyslexia and the many trials that will test her patience and mental strength, will the young girl manage to complete her journey safely?

Lessons learned: Also based on true events, Jessica Watson’s story taught me that age and gender don’t matter, only determination and perseverance. And that you have to believe in your dreams if you want to make them come true!

Quote: “You don’t need a shooting star, you can do it yourself.” – Jessica Watson – “True Spirit”

4. Wild

The Story: Cheryl Strayed is a lost soul who has just divorced her husband after falling into drugs and losing her mother. So she takes on the challenge of hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail with no previous experience. Along the way, she will try to rediscover herself and become the woman her mother wanted her to be.

Lessons learned: First of all, never set off unprepared, especially on a long and trying journey like the one Cheryl embarked on. Secondly, never give up, keep going even if the situation seems hopeless! Finally, don’t wait to do what you want to do, because life is too short.

Quote: “How wild it was, to let it be.” – Cheryl Strayed – “Wild”

5. Under the Tuscan Sun

The Story: Frances Mayes is a writer who has everything going for her: a loving husband, career and friends – or so she thinks when she discovers that her husband has, in fact, been cheating on her. Depressed and disoriented, she embarks on a gay tour of Italy on the advice of a friend. It’s here that she will probably face the greatest challenge of her life, but also free herself in the process.

Lessons learned: Good things come to those who wait, don’t lose hope and have faith in yourself, because you are capable of much more than you imagine. Frances also taught me to leave my fears behind and that any break-up can be overcome, you just need patience and a little faith. And, last but not least, that good surprises happen when you least expect them!

Quote: “Unthinkably good things can happen even late in the game. It’s such a surprise.” – Frances Mayes – “Under the Tuscan Sun”

6. Eat, Pray, Love

The Story: Wondering what she really wants in life, Elizabeth “Liz” Gilbert leaves everything behind: husband, home and career to embark on a journey of self-discovery. From Italy to Bali, Liz learns to find balance within herself and to stop running away from her problems.

Lessons learned: Self-discovery is about understanding yourself and knowing what you really want, but also about appreciating the little things, taking the time to enjoy your surroundings, your experiences… Liz’s journey has taught me that it’s fundamental to listen to yourself, and that you shouldn’t run away from your feelings, but embrace them!

Quote: “At some point, you gotta let go and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.” – Elizabeth Gilbert – “Eat, Pray, Love”

7. Seven Years in Tibet

The Story: Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer abandons his life and his pregnant wife in an attempt to climb the summit of Nanga Parbat. From imprisonment to war conflicts, his journey led him to become the Dalai Lama’s tutor. It was also THE journey that changed his whole life!

Lessons learned: The best way to understand another culture is to live alongside its inhabitants, respecting their traditions and accepting their differences and/or ways of thinking. Never try to impose your lifestyle, but learn from others is the best way to travel. The film also taught me that it’s never too late to forgive and mend relationships.

Quote: “We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use in worrying about it. If it can’t be solved, worrying will do no good.” – Heinrich Harrer – “Seven Years in Tibet”

8. Tracks

The Story: Robyn Davidson is a young woman who doesn’t feel at home anywhere, which is no doubt why she decides to embark on a 1,700-mile journey that will take her from the Australian desert to the Indian Ocean. Accompanied by four camels and her dog, she learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.

Lessons learned: Any ordinary person can achieve something extraordinary! A journey of self-discovery can only be made alone, and it’s good to be alone, but don’t forget that it takes courage to accept people into your own circle.

Quote: “The decision to act was in itself the beginning of the journey.” – Robyn Davidson – “Tracks”

9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Story: Walter Mitty is a negative asset manager for a famous magazine. He’s a dreamer whose life is pretty boring, until a negative of Sean, a famous photographer he works with, disappears. From that moment on, everything changes: Walter embarks on a journey to find Sean and experience adventures he’s only dreamed of until now – adventures that will change him forever!

Lesson learned: Don’t just dream about the experiences/adventures you could have, live them!

Quote: “I just live by the ABCs: Adventurous, Brave, Creative.” – Walter Mitty – “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

10. The Art of Travel

The Story: Upon learning that his girlfriend has cheated on him, Conner Layne calls off his marriage and embarks on a journey through Central America. Initially encountering difficulties, he eventually finds his place among a group of travelers attempting to cross the Darien Gap in record time. His journey is filled with wonders, life lessons and love.

Lessons learned: You learn a lot more about life through experiences and people than school can teach you. Travel transforms your life, changing your way of thinking for the better, as you become more open-minded. Nor is it forbidden to deviate from your initial plans, because you’d be surprised how a small change can alter the whole course of your journey. Finally, sometimes the best choice is to go with the flow and trust your instincts!

Quote: “Mastering the art of travel is not accomplished with practice or talent. No school will give you a bachelors degree in not getting shot while backpacking through eastern Africa. Or in avoiding Montezuma’s revenge on your trek through Mexico. It’s a way of life. Unknown to the majority, it’s almost impossible to convey to your friends back home over the course of a single conversation. It’s more of a feeling, it’s the excitement I experience the night before a trip. The high that comes with booking a one-way train ticket to a place I’ve never heard of. It’s the little things that so often go unnoticed. I used to think back to my wedding day and I wonder, how did I get here? Why me? And then I remember all that I’ve seen and done, the friends I’ve made, the countries I’ve called home, and all the bugs I’ve eaten by accident.” – Conner Layne – “The Art of Travel”

Bonus: Moana

The Story: Moana is a young girl destined to become the ruler of the island, but she’s always drawn to the ocean and what lies beneath it. So, against the advice of her family, she sets out on a quest to find the lost heart of Te Fiti (the goddess of nature), the source of her power. Along the way, Moana encounters friends, hardships and, above all, her true calling.

Lesson learned: Moana will teach you to never give up and to persevere until you realize your dreams or reach your goals. One of the things that made the biggest impression on me was that this young girl was never afraid to speak her mind and couldn’t care less about other people’s doubts.
In fact, you have to trust yourself, listen to yourself and never forget that the world is a big place, so why not explore it?

Quote: “There’s just no telling how far I’ll go.” – Moana – “Moana”

In conclusion

Most of these films are actually biopics that will show you that if these people have stepped out of their comfort zone and achieved great things, why shouldn’t you?
They’ve inspired me in my quest for self-discovery, solo travel and freedom in general, so I hope they’ll help you too, and remind you that NOTHING is impossible!

Ready to explore the world as a solo traveler, girls? Here are the 7 safety items you’ll need!

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