Hollywood most recently gave us Quentin Tarantino-linked good and gruesome "Hostel" in the American-students-hit-Europe film genre; the latest backpacker film offering, "Americano," is what often gets called a coming-of-age story -- in this case, that means a recent college grad travelling abroad decides what he wants to do when he grows up while running with the bulls in Pamplona. Good enough place to ponder weighty decisions, especially since he has three days left until his return flight and a potentially drag life. And his backpack's been stolen to boot.
Director Kevin Noland has this to say on the film's website:
- "What inspired the story? That enchanting feeling of waking up in a foreign country at dawn and looking out the window and realizing you are totally surrounded by adventure. I wanted to capture the beauty of truly experiencing other cultures. I wanted to show why it's important to step outside our system and look at it from a different perspective. Life is a mysterious entity held together through a web of diversity. How boring the world would be if there was one terrain, one language, one way of doing things. Divided we stand.
"I knew in order to provoke people to travel I would have to put the audience inside a mysterious world most have never experienced. As the minutes and seconds until his departure tick away, Chris struggles with an age-old question - should he follow the beaten path, or risk it all on the road less traveled?"
Backpacker Chris McKinley is played by Joshua Jackson; perennial weirdo Dennis Hopper has a small but important role as one of a few folks encouraging Chris to rethink his life. Opens today in LA.
Backpacker Photo Exhibit Worth Seeing
Elsewhere in the world of backpacker arts (yeah, you didn't know it existed, huh), a fab photo exhibit called "The Point of Travelling" and subtitled, "A photography exhibition about backpackers and hostel travelers," caught my eye in London, where it maintains a permanent home. Photographer Geo D. Oliver, who's been traveling, hosteling and shooting some truly thought provoking pix in Europe for the last eight years, says of his work and life, "All I can see are photographs of an unwritten future."
The work is very fine; you can check it out at London's Midas Bar or in Barcelona, Krakow or Munich; Oliver also has two books of photography out and maintains a traveler's website as part of his PHOTOhype project, the slogan of which is, "If you ever forget the point of travelling, then this is a reminder of what it is all about!"
Resolve to Travel
Whatever your reason for traveling, you'll find questions tend to get answered on the road, even (or especially) the big ones, like what to do with your life. Maybe the answer is travel itself. What are you waiting for?