In exactly one week I’ll be back in Toronto after a 15-week sojourn Down Under.

Although I try to live in the moment, I often start planning my next trip while in my current trip, and start anticipating my return home a few weeks in advance. Having gone through this process many times before, I know exactly what to expect.

After savouring the pleasures of being home for a day or so, I’ll find myself terribly jet-lagged, awakening in the dark at 4 AM, incapable of going back to sleep. I’ll be staring out the window at a bleak landscape of grey buildings and greyer skies. I’ll have to dress up for single-digit temperatures, and roam streets totally devoid of greenery or flowers. And I’ll wish I was still abroad.


A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about ways to deal with the homecoming blues, things such as trying out a new activity or having a theme party. There is an even simpler alternative though, something you can do even during those early jet-lagged mornings before the coffee shops open: watch a movie that will transport you into another place (or even time).

Below are 10 movies set in foreign locales that will quench your wanderlust and soften the shock of re-entry (a.k.a. post-trip blues).


Somehow romance and travel seem to go hand-in-hand… at least in movies.

Shirley Valentine (1989)

I credit this film with making me want to travel to Greece and eventually persuade my childhood friend to come along! It’s the story of a British middle-age woman who leaves behind her tedious domestic life and ungrateful husband for a holiday on a Greek Island… and end up meeting someone, finding a job in a café, and deciding to stay. This is a fantasy on so many levels. 🙂


Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

This is another well known romantic film, this time set in Italy, and based on the book and true story of Frances Mayes. The writer, wanting to change her life, ends up impulsively buying and renovating a villa in Tuscany, gradually integrating into the local life of the village and, of course, meeting someone!

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

This one needs no introduction, although I preferred the book to the movie. Still, you get to “travel” to three different locations (Italy, India, and Bali) with Liz Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) as she leaves her old life behind and tries to discover what she really wants. Also based on a true story. (Hum, I’m starting to see a theme here…)


Midnight in Paris (2011)

This movie by Woody Allen focuses on a male protagonist (easy-on-the-eyes Owen Wilson) and mixes the romantic comedy genre with a fantasy premise. While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight and is forced to re-examine his relationship with his materialistic wife-to-be.

Other comedies/dramas

Here are a few memorable comedies or dramas (sometimes both) that are set abroad.

The Beach (2000)

In this drama thriller set in Thailand (based on the novel by Alex Garland), Leonardo DiCaprio plays young American backpacker Richard, looking for adventure and true connections. The movie portrays well the typical backpacker’s desire to be a real traveller, rather than a tourist, and the constant search for the next undiscovered spot. The movie takes this premise to a dark and chilling extreme. Don’t watch it before going to bed!

Lost in Translation (2003)

Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson star in this unusual social drama which finds two very different people crossing paths in Tokyo and forming an unlikely bond out of their common alienation with the foreign lifestyle and difficulty to communicate they encounter in Japan. Much more interesting than it sounds.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

A group of British retirees travels to India to live in what they believe to be a newly restored hotel. But all is not what it seems and some misadventures ensue. If you’re British, love Judi Dench, are a baby boomer, or can’t get enough of India, you’re bound to enjoy this film and its sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015).


If you’re looking for action and adventure, the three movie franchises below deliver those in spades in addition to featuring multiple exotic locations in each and every film. What I envy the most of the spies and agents in these fims is their jet-setting lifestyle. 🙂

Mission Impossible (1996 – 2015)

The five Mission Impossible movies starring Tom Cruise have showcased locations such as Prague, Sydney, London, Dubai, Vienna, and Rabat. I remember deciding to go to Prague after I saw the first movie, although, sadly I haven’t managed it yet.

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The Bourne movies (2002 – 2012)

The four Bourne movies (with a fifth coming out this summer), starring Matt Damon in the title role, are probably my favourite action movie series! In them you’ll see locations such as Paris, the Greek Island of Mykonos, Goa (India), Moscow, Berlin, New York, Manila, Seoul, and more. Not only that, but Jason Bourne is skilled in several languages and travels around with many different passports, a traveller’s dream come true!

James Bond (1962 – 2015)

One of the longest continually running film series in history, Bond movies need no introduction. Like Ethan Hunt and Jason Bourne, James Bond is not stranger to international jet-setting. The last movie, Spectre, saw him gallivanting from Mexico, to Morocco, to Austria, Italy, and London. How about that for armchair travelling?

Have I made you feel like running to your local library or video store and getting a few DVDs yet?

As for me, I’m currently still in Australia and the people where I’m house-sitting have left me the DVDs for three seasons of a TV series called “The Bridge”, shot in both Denmark and Sweden, two destinations I’m actually planning to visit this summer. How about that for synchronicity? 🙂

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