Recommendations For a Rainy Day
So, You Want To Go For A Walk?
There’s nothing like a good ol’ film to encourage a little bit of travel inspiration and day dreaming on a sunny but cold week here in the UK. If you’re anything like me, the thought of a really, really long walk is enough to convince you to pack your bags and leave ASAP - and that is just what I did in June 2011. With my then-boyfriend in tow and a pair of far-too-snug hiking boots that didn’t last longer than 4 days into the trip, I found myself heading off to St Jean Pierre De Port - an enchanting little town at the foot of the Pyrenees in France. Today’s post however isn’t about this trip, but instead about the film that inspired it. I came across the film, The Way on either Netflix or BBC iPlayer when I was feeling slightly worse for wear after a night out with some pals, and spent the whole movie unaware that the walk they were talking about was a real thing. The Camino de Santiago had remained completely off my radar until I stumbled across this movie, and with a little bit of further research I found myself scrawling through EasyJet flights that very same day and booking two one way tickets to Biarritz for me and my boyfriend, who was luckily just as stoked as I was. In brief, the Camino is a 780KM walk starting at the foot of the Pyrenees that takes you across the whole north of Spain, finishing in Santiago about a month later. To say that the Camino changed my life is an understatement and I can’t wait to go on another really, really long walk, but in the mean time, here are a few small film recommendations to get those walking-wanderlust-day-dreams going.
The Way (2010)
Starting with the film that inspired this Tuesday day dream, The Way is about a father and son who have drifted apart from one another due to the not-so-young-son’s desire to see the world. Within the first ten minutes your heartstrings are being tested as the father is heading overseas to recover the body of his son, who seemingly had a bad and ultimately detrimental slip on a stormy walk over the Pyrenees. This seems relatively fictional in my eyes because the route is so well trodden and there are plenty of locals to advise against walking through the mountains that day if the weather really is that dangerous so don’t let this put you off. My only criticism of the movie is that they completely skip through the Burgos to Leon segment of the hike with a sweeping-over-the-map animation, probably because this part of the walk is so monotonous and wouldn’t make for very good watching. However, just as a bit of advice, it’s worth mentally preparing yourself for this part of the trip. A heart-felt tale of self-discovery, friendship and life lessons, this movie is definitely worth a watch.
An adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild tells her story of tragedy and self-discovery during a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Whilst having that innocent and captivating magic that only chick-flicks seem to expose, possibly enhanced by Reese Witherspoon’s both recognizable and friendly face, Wild also has a much rawer and intense edge with continuous flashbacks to traumatic and sometimes disturbing memories. The PCT spans 2,650 miles between Mexico and Canada and sees thousands of hikers tread its path each year, whether in part or as a whole. Strayed walked a staggering 1,100 miles alone, to be met by the kindness of others at every step of the journey whilst trying to seek resolution to her grief. I saw this in the cinema with some girl pals, and needless to say we walked away feeling completely empowered and ready to take on the PCT ourselves, inspired by the prospect of a reward that comes only from such a physical challenge. I re-watched the film with my partner who appreciated what the movie was about but wasn’t really into it, so I recommend getting a group of your favourite outdoors-loving girls round for the evening and get ready to start planning that next adventure.
Walk in the Woods (2015)
Adapted from Bill Bryson’s chronicle, Walk in the Woods illustrates the travel writer’s hike along the Appalachian Trail – a journey that extends between Georgia and Maine. Rather than succumb to the dull prospect of retired life, Bryson sets out on an inspiring adventure with life long friend (who you are never entirely sure if he loves or loathes) to experience what it really feels like to push yourself to the edge. Similarly to The Way, this film is completely accessible for all ages due to the scope of people you meet, making its inspiration for encouragement and motivation endless. Whilst Bryson and his friend obviously have different definitions of the term ‘adventure’, the story really captures an honest and simple vision of what it means to hike a long way as both a communal and independent journey. Fun, light-hearted and relatively inspiring, the movie also has an absolutely great sound track and therefore makes for great lazy-Sunday-afternoon-viewing.
Personally, I think that walking is a great way of travelling at a slower (and cheaper) pace, enabling you to experience hidden gems of countries and cities that might have passed you by had you chosen to take the bus instead. The meditative quality of walking forms such a special bond between your mind, body and surroundings so get off that chair and step outside.
“There is something about traveling slowly through time - in a kayak, on a bicycle, by train, even walking - that is meditative. Thought is replaced by motion and scenery. Your body relaxes even while you are working on it.”
Let me know if you have any recommendations for inspiring walking-based movies and in the meantime, Buen Camino!