This post will be all about how to get excited, stoked, amped or whatever it is you want to feel before going abroad!

First, I have some recommendations on movies to watch to help feed your inner wanderlust and help you get a taste of the emotions experienced while traveling around the world.

  1. “Hector and the Search for Happiness”:

This is a film adaptation of a book that is all about a man living a comfortable and safe life. He has a well-paying job, a girlfriend and a routine. But, he feels like he does not know what it really means to be happy. He goes off on a trip around the world where he encounters unique individuals and gets their input on what happiness means to them. This movie has some awesome locations and really makes you think about the self-reflection you can do while on your adventures.

  1. “Endless Summer 2”

This is a classic surf movie, but it also details some incredible countries and really gives you the desire to do some truly crazy fun things while traveling. It evokes a sense of your inner child and will hopefully help you ease up about any stress you have about your international experience.

  1. “Wild”

Wild is based on a true story of a woman who decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail after dealing with a traumatic series of life events. It outlines the struggle of doing something that many would consider crazy and reveals that inner strength can get you a lot further than you think. She meets some good and bad people along the way who help her understand her current life situation. This movie will give you determination to do something regardless of the doubts of others and to accomplish something based on your strong will.

  1. “Blue Crush 2”

Another surf movie, but another great movie to put you in a feel good mood. This is all about an upper-class surfer girl who decides to retrace her late mother’s footsteps in South Africa. She goes on an Odyssey to figure out why she feels like something is missing in her life. It’s a little cheesy, but the movie does a great job of showing the community that can be found while traveling to unknown places. She also uses a Polaroid camera to detail her journey, which will want to buy one for your own personal odyssey!

  1. “A Map for Saturday”

This is a documentary about several long term world travelers and their stories. It gives a glimpse of what it’s like to pack up all your bags, leave your job and head out into the world. Everyone has their own unique story that has led them to their current status and the lessons they have learned from their trips are truly powerful. This is a great way to see real-life world travelers and gain more perspective on what it means to travel.

Next, here are some general thoughts on things you can do in the time leading up to your departure.

  • Read a good book about traveling: Lonely Planet’s guide to your specific location, “Hector and the Search for Happiness”, “Into the Wild”, etc.
  • Research your destination like nothing you have ever researched before. I found myself at school or work constantly reading blogs, articles and watching YouTube videos of Singapore.
  • Watch a TV show about traveling: “An Idiot Abroad”, any show with Anthony Bourdain, or any show on Travel Channel.
  • Try to learn some of the native language so you can get accustomed to the most commonly-used phrases.
  • Make a bucket list for your trip.
  • Make goals for yourself to accomplish for the time you will be there.
  • Finally, if you have loved ones or family members who are uneasy about your trip, do your best to make them understand why you are doing this – and explain how you will ensure that you will stay connected.

I hope you can use some of these tips and movies picks to really get excited for your upcoming experience of a lifetime! Remember to always stay stoked and positive!


Garrett HeinGarrett Hein is earning a bachelor’s degree in international security and conflict resolution at San Diego State University. He is blogging from Singapore this fall.

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