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Select Hollywood films that take you on a soul-searching ride through the concept of solo travel
Hia Datta
Aug 25, 2021
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Travel buffs around the world live their lives with packed bags and backpacks, always ready to head out to that preferred picture-perfect destination. For it is not just about visiting a particular place for them, but experiencing and intermingling with the cultural ethos, cuisine, the people and nitty-gritties of the way of life that the place holds. And when it comes down to travelling solo, it’s a far more fulfilling experience than a tour with friends, we would say; as it gives you more freedom to chart out your own plans and take the plunge for the unexpected along the way, all by yourself. 

Here are select films that ride through the increasingly popular concept of solo travel, for you to take the cue and just go on one that you’ve been planning all along in your head.

1
Eat Pray Love
5.9OTTplay Rating
Julia Roberts, who plays the protagonist in this Ryan Murphy directorial, described the experience of the film as an ‘adventure’ and a ‘roller coaster for four-and-a-half months’ in an interview. Though it garnered mixed reviews, the 133-minute film drawn from the bestselling novel of the same name traces the journey of Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts), a successful travel writer who heads out from a failed marriage to a year of solo travel around the world. She is taken through the picturesque Los Angeles, Bali, India and Italy into what is a long-drawn, yet enriching experiential path of self-discovery and self-realisation. Albeit cast in a first-world traveller’s story, there are feel-good and even inspirational moments to pick for your solo travel motivation, with no baggage moreover.
2
One Week
7.2OTTplay Rating
Ben Tyler played by Joshua Jackson hits a premature mid-life crisis when he comes to know that he has stage 4 cancer. The film opens on this morbid note of him receiving the news in his doctor’s office. Before going for the treatment that could cure him completely of cancer, Ben draws up a bucket list in his mind. He gets himself a new motorcycle and embarks on a solo drive through the west to see the country, from Toronto to Vancouver Island. He looks back on all the choices he made to avoid risks in life, without really ‘living’ all these years, and gains a fresh perspective.
3
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
7.7OTTplay Rating
This is a 21st Century adaptation of the 1939 short story by James Thurber. Ben Stiller directed, co-produced the action comedy-drama and starred as the eponymous ‘negative asset manager’ at Life magazine, Walter Mitty. While working at a humdrum job, he daydreams of actually living out a life of adventure. Just when he is about to lose his job, and loses an important photo needed for the magazine’s final print issue, he is sent by the new owners to find the photographer Sean O’ Connell to get the perfect photo. Mitty embarks on a real adventure that is about to change his life.
4
Tracks
7.6OTTplay Rating
Travel bugs can take inspiration from this adaptation of the true adventure memoir of the same name, chronicling the travel account of the young Australian girl Robyn Davidson, that took her 2700 miles across the deserts of West Australia to the Indian Ocean. The 2013 film features Mia Wasikowska as Robyn who ventures on a solo trek all the way from Alice Springs to the Australian ocean, with her dog Diggity and four camels as her companions. At Alice Springs, she meets Rick Smolan, a photographer at the National Geographic who tags along to capture snapshots of her journey from that point. Robyn’s nine-month journey was published in an article in National Geographic and became so popular that she wrote the memoir and took to being a traveller and writer for 40 years.

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