Perhaps one of the most eclectic and enchanting of all movie genres, travel movies are in a league of their own. The capability of movies to transport people becomes stronger when the backdrop keeps changing as well. But like all pieces of fiction designed to reflect reality, there is some tweaking and tinkering that can turn even the most grounded of travel movies into fodder for slightly unrealistic expectations.
Here are some things that you should keep in mind, should your travel lust be inspired by the motion pictures –
1. Not all travel will be a grand adventure
Unless you are off to search for your estranged mother in the hills of India or out to see paradise in your own house via a thousand balloons, you travel may not be the grand adventure of the kind that requires seven camera angles to capture a single scene. And that’s quite alright – movies are supposed to be about interesting adventures, but your vacation can very well just be about you sitting on the beach five days straight and sleeping early everyday, and you will still have the time of your life. And in the end, that is what counts.
2. You may also not find the meaning of life
Travel seems to carry an awful lot of burden in most genre films. Many protagonists of such movies decide to escape some tragedy or mundaneness, or search for some greater meaning to life by packing their bags and setting out on a road trip. While putting a few miles on your soul can surely give you perspective, enrich your life and promote a better understanding of the way you live is not a golden path to Enlightenment. It is equally okay for you to travel just because you feel like it, and not come back with a halo on your head.
3. You don’t need to abandon your life to travel
If you travel and still have a job like a peasant, you are a tourist, pleb. Or so the many travel movies will have you believe. These inspired travellers who abandon their life also curiously seem to have bucket loads of money, even when travelling tramp style. For most of us, work is a funding for travel, and travel is an escape from the work, and it is a very neat arrangement. Because what all these movies don’t show is that part when the sun sets down and the heroes return home only to find that they don’t have one – the bank took it away.
4. That there are only a handful type-places you can travel to
You can either get on a plane and head to Paris, or you have to take a road trip through the entire country to call it travel. There seems to be no other way to travel in the movies. Of course, the weekend getaways, the family vacation to a resort, and the friends taking a hasty road trip to the nearest place that is far enough away from their parent’s radar do not make it to the screen. But that does not mean that these are not valid ways to travel, or that the potential these experiences have is any less than other types of travels.
5. It’s really not that easy
Movies often inspires people to do things, and one of the things it often inspires them to do is travel. But once you switch on the lights and dig out your passport, you start to realize that they probably cut a lot of scenes to fit the movie into a two hour slot. Where is the searching for the various transport options? Where is the part they get the insurance and organize the money? Did they really just set off without even booking an Airbnb in advance? What if they end up there and no hotels are open? Yes, it is unlikely, but what if that happens? Did they make an inventory? What if they come back and they realize they missed that one must-see thing?
So, while movies may inspire the inner travel bug in you to come alive, be aware of the enchanting traps it sets up. Even the most realistic of fiction has its own differences from reality, and unfortunately for us, reality has more demands.
By Niharika Rawat