Travellers are often hit by rough, dreary patches when they go completely broke. While some go splurging on souvenirs, others take a temporary halt at their homes after investing a huge lot into a camera that they wish to take to the Everest. This pit stop often leaves them craving for the roads. So, while I can’t actually lend any money, I can make them travel right from their home via Couch Travel.
It’s an old fad that’s still sweeping across the travel circuit. So if you’re game, get some popcorn and coffee and sit back on your couch. All set for a new trip. Here’s the best from the world of travel movies and books. Some entries are from India too!
Take your pick.
1) Seven Years in Tibet by Jean-Jacques Annaud (movie)
This one will take you on a mountaineer’s journey across Nepal, India and Tibet. While the movie is shot in Argentina, Austria, Canada and Nepal, the real joy is in the 20 minutes that were secretly shot in Tibet.
2) Into the Wild by Sean Penn (movie)
While the crew had to make four arduous journeys to Alaska to make this one, you can enjoy it right from your couch. Don’t skip it.
3) The Motorcycle Diaries by Walter Salles (movie)
Watch this epic to go biking across South America, trailing Che Guevara’s road trip. To list the best, there’s Miramar, Buenos Aires, Argentia, Caracas, Venezuela, Patagonia, Nahuel Huapi Lake, Machu Picchu and Atacama Desert.
4) On the road by Jack Kerouac (book)
If words could make you travel, this book has got it the best. New York, Denver, Mexico and much of the United States of America, this is the best way you can go road tripping from your couch.
5) Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills by Minakshi Chaudhary (book)
Mostly folklore, this collection of short stories has nicely described the Shimla of Raj era. Read it to dive into a world of witches and more, and experience the fog rising up from around old Shimla.
6) The Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson (movies)
If there is one man who got New Zealand right at the top of tourist’s bucket list, it’s Peter Jackson. This man’s directorial venture, this movie series is best suited to be watched in quick succession. I spent a whole weekend over it.
7) Dor by Nagesh Kukunoor (Movie)
This one is closer home. While it has some gorgeous parts shot at Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, it’s more captivating as it moves to Rajasthan. This one takes you right inside the Mehrangarh Fort. Better than what they did in the Dark Knight Rises!
8) Out of Africa by Sydney Pollack (movie)
Based in Africa, this one takes you right inside Kenya. Extensively shot at Nairobi and Surrey, it’s as visually as Africa can be.
9) Mamma Mia! by Phyllida Lloyd (movie)
Greece was rarely projected as a romantic getaway until Mamma Mia! was released. Ever since then, it’s been figuring in the honeymooners’ favourite list.
10) Falling off the Map by Pico Iyer (book)
Pico Iyer will take you to some of the most lonely places of the world in this book. Realistically narrated, this is zero makeup sort of books, baring almost all about places like Bhutan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia and more.
11) Beyond the Sky and the Earth by Jamie Zeppa (book)
If you are eager for some unadulterated words about Bhutan or the last Shangri La, this one is for you. Tracing Zeppa’s own journey from the west to this land of scanty, it’ll have you craving for travel and discover the bliss of scanty.
12) Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola (movie)
This is simply great cinema coupled with great filming locations. While Tokyo almost came alive under the camera lights, the New York bar still has the best bar title clinched.
13) The Bucket List by Rob Reiner (movie)
When Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson take you by hand across the world, including a pit stop at the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, France and more, you shouldn’t say no. Ever. This will help you get your own travel bucket list in place.
14) Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara by Zoya Akhtar (movie)
Though larger than life, this movie got a good number of Indians realise that travelling international is much more than Dubai. This one gets you in the lanes of Andalusia and much of Spain.
15) As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee (book)
The words here will take you to Spain and the old world London. With just a violin, dreams, poems and Laurie Lee for company, you would keep turning pages and worlds.
16) Letters from Egypt: A Journey on the Nile, 1849–1850 by Florence Nightingale (book)
This one might be a bit hard to get, but with Florence Nightingale’s name on the cover, you surely wouldn’t mind searching for it. Egypt comes out in all its mysticism under her pen. Don’t skip this one.
17) Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (book)
In spite of the claims that it’s more of a “chick lit”, take my word for it. A wonderful narrative that takes you across Italy, India and Indonesia, this is breezy writing at its best. Throw in Venice and good food, and you have a complete journey in your hands. Don’t go for the movie though, it has glaring gaps in the storyline. No offence.
18) Venice by Jan Morris (book)
While there are plenty of travel tales in words out in the market, only a few get it right. This is one of those, as it unearths the mysteries of Venice. Grab a copy.
19) The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (book)
Your love for Paris and fascination for Spain is only going to go up after you’ve read this one. Hemingway’s best work, this has got a point or two to make about travel writing too, for it never reads forced.
20) A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby (book)
If humour was to be blended with travel writing, Eric Newby would have made for a perfect teacher. While he tells of his attempt scale the very treacherous peak in Afghanistan, he turns funny. Even in the face of a completely disastrous attempt. Must one for the lovers of hills, snow and falls.
With this list in your hand now, you might be getting ready to place some orders. As for me, I’m writing my own travelogue. So here I’ll leave you with your couch, coffee and popcorn. If you think I missed some movie or book that must figure here, do put in your comments below.
Till then, happy travelling.
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