Saturday, 31 August 2013

Pop Culture Made Me Want To Travel

During a conversation about possible travel destinations with a friend - yes, I know. I actually have one of those! - I realized that a lot of my desired travel destinations are inspired by movies, songs and books from my childhood. This is just a small sampling of such destinations.

Petra, Jordan - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The Last Crusade was the first Indiana Jones movie I saw. When I saw it, I assumed the temple at the end was created for the final scenes. While the inside was a sound stage, I was really excited when I learned that the outside facade actually existed. Jordan quickly found itself at the top of my travel list, if only so I can stand in front of the Treasury (pictured above)  and say:

If you haven't seen the movie, both these things happen.

Also... I'm totally buying a fedora for that trip.

Paris, France - Les Miserables

I was 11 when I discovered the music of Les Mis. Within the year, I had read the book (and not some abridged version, the whole massive book) and you better believe I saw the live stage version when it came to Vancouver! It became my travel goal to wander the streets of Paris while listening to the soundtrack. When I backpacked around Europe in 1999, my trusty Walkman and I did just that.

We won't talk about the Les Mis musical movie version. My issues with it is a post unto itself.

Meteora, Greece - For Your Eyes Only (James Bond)

I don't remember exactly how old I was when I saw this particular Bond movie, but I do remember we watched it because my brother convinced my mom to rent it. Much of the film is set in Greece, but all I really remember was near the end when they went to break into the mastermind evil dude's house and Bond had to scale one of the cliffs of Meteora while fighting off a henchmen because... of course! While childhood me was disappointed to learn that the buildings on the top of these hills were monasteries, not the secret lairs of international ne'er-do-wells, I still want to visit it.

And if I happened to meet someone who looked like any of the Bonds while I was there, I'd be okay with that!

Prince Edward Island, Canada - Emily of New Moon

Confession time: I don't like Anne of Green Gables. I read it around the age of 11 or 12 and just didn't get the appeal. I reread it in my 20's and I still don't really get the appeal. Despite this, I got Emily of New Moon out of the library and loved it! I raced through all three books and then reread them almost immediately.

Combine this with that fact that PEI is known for its potatoes - my favourite food, what can I say? My family's Irish - and was the epicentre of the creation of Canadian democracy - what can I say? I'm a giant dork - and it created a longing in me to visit the small island. Now, if only it wasn't so f*$%ing expensive to fly across Canada. *sigh*

Casablanca, Morocco - Casablanca

I stumbled upon Casablanca on TV one night when I was babysitting. It instantly became (and still remains) my favourite film of all time - I watch it at least once a year - and kicked off a huge habit in my life of watching old films. While the movie was not filmed in Casablanca, this small fact didn't stop me from dreaming of some day going there. Over the years, this desire has morphed more into going to Morocco than Casablanca specifically, but regardless of where in Morocco I end up I fully intend to look at my travel partner and say:

Yes, Humphrey, we always will.

Love that man!

Istanbul, Turkey - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Whether you listened to the original The Four Lads version or one of the many (MANY) re-recordings, who doesn't know this song?

I am not ashamed to admit it; I want to go to Istanbul simply to say I've listened to this song there.

Tunisia - Star Wars (A New Hope)

I couldn't very well claim to be a nerd and not have a Star Wars reference travel destination on my list. If the above photo looks oddly familiar...

The buildings in the ground that made up Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's compound are also in Tunisia and part of it has been turned into a hotel! YOU CAN SLEEP IN THE STAR WARS SET!! Plus Tatooine/Tunisia is where we met this lovable rogue:

The chance that another one of him might be kicking around is reason enough to go to Tunisia, right? ;)

Question: Any travel destinations inspired by pop culture?

(All photos are on my Pinterest with links to the original creator. All gifs and video were stolen appropriated from various internet sources.)


  1., feedly doesn't tell me when you post so I'm behind in reading...but, I much prefer Jane of Lantern Hill, The Blue Castle, and The Story Girl to Anne.

    1. Jane of Lantern Hill was another one I loved :)