One of my favourite inspirations for travel is to read books and watch movies set in exotic and interesting places. I love the way a good author can transport you to a different location and make you feel like you’ve really been there. In the same way, many movies really capture the feel of a place, bringing back fond memories of a place I’ve already seen, or making me wish I could go there and see it for myself.
However, fictional tales aren’t only set in foreign lands, but also often in other times as well. And of course, there are many awesome movies and books that were written in a contemporary setting, but now the time they were set in is as exotic as the place. And I often find myself longing to not only visit these amazing locations, but the times they were set in as well. Sure, Rome is a wonderful place to visit all on it’s own, but could you imagine visiting the Rome of “Roman Holiday”?
Now, I never said that I wanted to live in the past, only visit it. There are too many things that I like about the modern world that I could never give up. And I do realize that while the 1950’s may have had cool cars and elegant clothes, it was also a place where racial segregation was the norm, women were often treated terribly and your only option if you didn’t want to smoke in public places was to hold your breath the whole time you were out. And, of course, international travel was once the exclusive domain of the rich and privileged and just a dream for ordinary folks like me. But still, it’s fun to compile my ultimate fantasy list of places in time that I’d love to visit.
1) Paris in the 1950’s
I remember watching the movie Julie and Julia and seeing the scenes of postwar Paris and wishing I could go to Paris again. Then I realized; I didn’t just want to go to Paris, I wanted to see Paris in the 1950’s. Sure, there was a lack of plumbing and heating in most places, and the people were just as stuffy as they appeared in the movie, but who wouldn’t want to go wandering through the neighbourhood markets while Citroens and Vespas trundled by and little French boys in shorts ran home from the bakeries with their morning baguettes?
2) The Orient Express
Or any of those old, luxury train lines. I really love to travel by train, even though it’s not always that comfortable these days. So a trip back to the days of elegant dining cars, sleeping compartments with attendants to wait on you and velvet upholstered saloon cars to while away the hours seems like the ultimate way to get from A to Z.
3) 1960’s London
Okay, I have to admit I based this one solely on the scene with all the groovy young people chasing Austin Powers through the streets of London in his Union Jack “Shaguar”. But, in my defence, I also once found a story about London in an old Life magazine from 1969 that had pictures of people who were really dressed like that. So, they must have existed, right?
4) The age of ocean liners
This is another one that’s more about the journey than the destination. Talk about slow travel! Your trip would begin weeks before your intended arrival date, watching your baggage being loaded onto your ship, then you’d become part of a little temporary community with your fellow passengers. And imagine the excitement of finally approaching whatever amazing location you were visiting and then walking down the gangplank and back onto dry land.
5) Any place featured in these amazing vintage travel posters
Okay, I have to admit, I could never chose just one!