Last year, during a trip to Vietnam, I got to explore Saigon by scooter, the most popular mode of transport. In my opinion, it’s the best way to experience the culture of the bustling city.
Inspiration: Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
The Motorcycle Diaries is a biopic about the journey and written memoir of the 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would several years later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. The film recounts the 1952 expedition, initially by motorcycle, across South America by Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado. I read that there are now several guided motorcycle tours around South America that take visitors on an epic loop through incredible mountains and coast, through the mysterious lines of Nazca, and to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world. That sounds like a trip worth saving up for!
Inspiration: Amelie (2001)
Amelie, which is set and shot mostly in Montmartre , a hill in the north of of Paris, France is one of my favorite movies. This whimsical romantic comedy is about a shy girl who finds love after deciding to change other people’s lives for the better. I love the scene at the end of the movie where Amelie drives away with Nino on his Mobylette (moped) and rides around the city’s streets. I can imagine how cool it would be to explore and go around Montmartre this way. Exploring by scooter can be a cost-effective way to see the place. Just hope on and get a quick tour of the different boutiques, artistic cafes and filming locations for the movie.
Inspiration: Long Way Round (2004-2005)
The television series Long Way Round documents the 19,000-mile (31,000 km) journey of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman from London to New York on motorcycles, via Western and Central Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia and Canada. Of the places they rode through, I was most intrigued by Kazakshtan and Mongolia the most because of the gorgeous landscapes and fascinating culture. I know it’s not possible to do this with just a scooter because of the terrain, but it would be really, really cool to follow the route they took someday.
Inspiration: Roman Holiday (1953)
Roman Holiday follows Audrey Hepburn as a princess who escapes her guardians for a whirlwind adventure through Rome. Along the way, she falls for an American journalist (Gregory Peck) with whom she sets out on a romantic sightseeing trip with through the city. The classic movie has since romanticized the idea of riding around on a Vespa through Italy’s capital city Rome. I hope I get to do this someday and visit major landmarks like the Spanish Steps and the Mouth of Truth.
Inspiration: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
I have yet to visit Cambodia, which in recent years has enjoyed a tourist boom partly because of the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, an adventure film based on the hit video game franchise. There are now even motorbike “Tomb Raider” tours being offered that let experienced dirt bike riders explore off-the-beaten-track temples of Preah Vihear province, visit ancient temples shown in the movie, and camp out in 1000-year-old Angkorian temples way out in the bush.
Inspiration: Skyfall (2012)
For some people, sailing and yachting around in an exotic place is the ultimate dream trip. Flotilla holidays in Greece or Turkey are some of the more popular tours. However, there’s also something to be said about exploring these places on two wheels. If you saw the latest James Bond flick Skyfall, you’re probably in awe of the rooftop motorcycle chase sequence, which was set and shot in Istanbul and Adana, Turkey. I don’t plan on charging up narrow steps and jumping from rooftops like 007, but exploring Istanbul’s market streets and historic sites by motorcycle would be really cool. Trivia: Filmmakers modified Honda CRF250R motorcycles (typically used for motocross) and dressed them up to look like Turkish police and street merchants’ bikes for the film. Check out this cool behind-the-scenes feature.
Since these trips require lots of money (not to mention international plane tickets and VISAs), I’ll just content myself in the meantime with exploring destinations nearer our shores. Still, a person can always dream right?