Did you know that movies are one of the best channels for tourism marketing? Countries like New Zealand and Iceland have soared in popularity among travelers since movies like The Hobbit and shows like Game of Thrones have been released. Seeing such incredible scenery on screen is enough to inspire anyone to travel, and Reese Witherspoon’s new movie, Wild, did just that, right here in the United States.
First of all, the story of a 26-year-old girl hiking 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from California to the Oregon/Washington border is inspiring enough on its own. Main character Cheryl Strayed, played by Witherspoon, has recently gone through a tumultuous time in her life. Her mother passed away, her marriage is over and she’s resorted to self destructive behaviors that have left her at rock bottom. She sets off on her solo, three month journey to get lost in the beauty of nature and try to become the woman she knew her mother wanted her to be. Along the way she also journeys into her own tortured psyche, reliving both the good and bad times that have brought her to this point of desperation.
As Cheryl hikes from the Mojave Desert all the way to Oregon, she faces numerous perils, many of which I and fellow female travelers can relate to. While I’ve never taken on quite so ambitious a solo trip, there were scenes that felt familiar to me. Cheryl often has to ask for help along the way, putting her trust in complete strangers. She comes across one particularly creepy man in the woods and fears for her safety. She even over packs to the point of hilarity, with fellow hikers giving her pack the nickname, “Monster.”
photos: Fox Searchlight
While most “inspirational” movies leave me rolling my eyes (cough Eat, Pray, Love cough), Wild was well written, relatively well acted (although I couldn’t forget that it was Reese Witherspoon) and set in some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the United States. While I’m 99% sure that I won’t be heading off to hike 1,000 miles myself any time soon (I’m more of a glamping kinda gal), Wild did remind me that sometimes all you need to get out of a funk or feel invigorated is to get outdoors. It also left me dying to plan a trip to Oregon soon! Seriously, how amazing are these photos of the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon?
The movie brought back memories of some of the incredible natural scenes I’ve stumbled across on my own adventures. Here are the top 5 scenic hikes and nature trips I’ve taken.
1. Atlas Mountains, Morrocco
2. El Yunque, Puerto Rico
3. El Cajas National Park, Ecuador
4. Overlook Mountain, Woodstock, New York
5. The fjords of Norway
Have you seen Wild or are you planning to? Would love to hear your thoughts on the movie. I’ve also never read the book, which is probably for the best since as they say, the movie is never as good!
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