8 Books & Movies that Inspire Wanderlust

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.


While I may dream of waking up to an undisturbed view of the sun rising over a white sand beach and clear waves lapping lazily on the shore, the fact is not everyday is an adventure when balancing wanderlust with a 9-5 career. While my blog, The Pin the Map Projectcenters around how one makes the transition from the cubicle to the open road, there are regular days–like today–when I’m not able to satisfy my travel bug with the wave of a passport and the purchase of a plane ticket.

When the monotony of the corporate world, the hurriedness of New York City and lack of immediate travel plans have me scanning airline sites like a religion, I turn towards feel-good books and inspiring movies that take me on an adventure, fuel my wanderlust & leave me breathless with excitement for my next trip.

The Life of Walter Mitty


A windowless office, muted grey desk and uneventful 9-5 job in New York City–that’s Mitty’s reality until a turn of events has him chasing a photographer across the world through Iceland. The Life of Walter Mitty is a simple movie based on a short story that is a testament to how seeing the world can transform a life. Once quiet and lost in his day-dreams, Mitty stop day dreaming and starts living by fulfilling his travel dreams and seeing the world.

The Lost Girls


It’s the type of book you wish would never end. From the moment you begin reading The Lost Girls, it feels like you’ve hiked your backpack up on your shoulders and fallen into step with Jen, Amanda and Holly as they simultaneously navigate their late twenties and the world. Making their way from New York to Australia, the book gives each girl’s perspective as they meet backpackers, volunteer in Kenya, find peace in India and battle irate taxi drivers in South East Asia. As I read The Lost Girls, I walked away with life lessons, great trip ideas and destinations to store away as I plan for my own long-term tour in 2016

The Wander Year

While most of the books I’ve seemed to read focus on either solo travel or group getaways, The Wander Year follows couple Mike & Andrea as they put their San Diego life on hold in lieu of traveling the world. With stops along the way like Vietnam, Scotland and more–the couple candidly shares stories of travel mishaps, people met along the way and the intricacies of navigating a relationship while on the road.

Life is a Trip

A short read (128 pages long), Life is a Trip is about Judith Fein and her goal to how how cultural and experiential travel changes your life. Submerging herself in traditions, religions, ceremonies and customs along the way–Fein shines light on the beauty of the human race.

Eat Pray Love 


Scoff if you must, roll your eyes if you will, but Eat Pray Love is a fantastic read that looks at travel as a means to self-discovery. Based on the life story of Elizabeth Gilbert and her year-long adventure from Italy, India and Indonesia, Eat Pray Love focuses on solo travel and the lessons picked up along the way. While Gilbert’s memoir is rooted deeply in love, loss and recovery; it is set against the backdrop of beautiful countries that she brings to live with vivid detail that can transport you with each sentence.

Midnight in Paris

Cobblestone streets, the glistening Seine and romantic architecture–what is there not to love about Paris? Midnight in Paris is a homage to this city that has me wishing I could live a day in Paris of the 1920s and swap story ideas with the likes of Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. While the movie both transports me back in time and across the world, it’s hard not to feel a desire to fly to France (especially with opening credits that simply show scenes of Paris set against classic tunes)!

A Cook’s Tour


I’ll admit it–I have a bit of a crush on the silver fox, cheeky wit and pointed attitude of Anthony Bourdain. Before his debut on The Taste, Parts Unknown and even No Reservations, Bourdain was just a chef and writer who decided to combine his two talents and hit the road. With nothing more than a desire to eat and see the world, Bourdain pitched the idea turned novel of searching the world for the allusive “perfect meal.” While not every dish he ate was envy-worth (the iguana he had in Mexico sounded revolting) the read is hilarious, witty and honest to the point you feel as though Anthony is sitting across a table from you recounting his travels. In the end, Bourdain does find his “perfect meal,” which proves to be surprising and thought provoking..but no spoilers here!

Vicky Christina Barcelona


Perhaps it’s a reflection of my age but I am drawn to films and movies that combine a desire to travel with the utter confusion and overwhelming prospect of being a twenty-something. The film, Vicky Christina Barcelona, follows the story of two American girls who decide to spend their summer in Barcelona. While one girl is a dreamer chasing some unknown mirage of the perfect love, the other is a realist who has over-planned each minute of her existence; Barcelona exposes the girls to new concepts, ideas and self-revelations that take them far from where they started. Woody Allen’s film is true to form in the sense there is no over-the-top, fairy tale ending but rather a mirror for how travel affects each of us and what we choose to do with those lessons learned.


*I do not own the right to these photos in this post. 

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