Moments in Travel that Make us Feel like we’re in a Movie



Nearly all of us who travel have a tiny part of us who begs for attention.  Who am I kidding? A large part of us begs for attention. We dream of being able to tell our story.  We lose sleep over the thought that maybe someone might actually care enough to hear about it. For many of us, when thinking about our current adventurous story, have out of body experiences that simply cannot be described. There are a number of very simple things that happen almost daily when traveling that give us this sensation that we are the main character in a film. Below you’ll find moments I’ve had on the road that I’ve felt like.

Venezuelan Bus

Venezuelan Bus

Riding the bus: The mood of our character always depends on the music being played in the vehicle as we ride along. If the music is slow we might be the characters in a sad movie thinking about what we left behind or unsure about where we are going. If it is upbeat we might be heading towards a new exciting destination. On the other hand, if it is night and there is no music, we become contemplative characters.  It is in this final scenario that I can’t help but put my elbow on the window sill, fist on my chin and stare out at the world.

In a beat up hotel room alone: This is especially true if there is a ceilling fan and the walls are dirty and warn down. This effect is duplicated if the single light bulb in the room, for whatever reason, has been placed behind the ceiling fan causing a flicker of light as the fan spins its circles. This sensation is exponentially accentuation if the sounds of love being made, fights being had, or a good combination of both are heard shrieking through the thin walls.

In a plane at night: This one works only at night time if the plane is quiet and people are asleep.  When everyone else in a room is sleeping, or at least quiet, it always gives you a sense that you are the only actor in the play.  This sensation is manipulated further if you can see the lights of cities below or if the stewardess offers you something quietly not to wake anyone else up.

Belem, Brazil

Belem, Brazil

Walking along a wall with graffiti: There is something about walking along a tall concrete wall full of graffiti that makes us feel like we’re in a movie, at least for a couple moments.  In movies there always seems to be that scene where the character is walking along a sidewalk and there always seems to be graffiti on the walls.  If the scenes that movie characters walking in to amount of graffiti ratio was real, there wouldn’t be more then 5 streets in the world without huge colourful graffiti or lined in posters.

Pushing through a Market: As we push though a local market and people are shouting at us to buy cell phones, fruit, or underwear we can’t help but feel like in a movie.  This is especially true if the flow of the traffic is 100% against you giving an illusion like you are the focus of the scene.  If you’ve ever had to run through the market knocking people and fruit stands over in a mad chase then you’re sure to have felt this sensation at its best.

Conclusion: There are probably 100 more moments that people have had in travel that have made them feel like they were the main character of movie. I want you to share!  What are some moments you have had to make you feel like you’re in a movie.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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13 Comments

  1. Hm when I was in the jungle in the South Mexico – the only person playing with the monkeys. I felt like in a Tarzan movie 😀

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    • Haha, I love playing with monkeys… I’m pretty sure I’m closer to them genetically then all other people. lol

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  2. Hmm, walking in a picturesque, freezing cold town with our heavy backpacks looking for our hostel all chilly and panting. Soo dramatic! LOL

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  3. There was one moment in India, when I disembarked from a train station at a smallish town near Varanasi. The station platform was a riot of colours and chaos. It didn’t seem real. I thought for sure it had to be the world’s most elaborate movie set.

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    • Aren’t those moments the absolute best? You can just feel the camera spinning around you as the scene unfolds!

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  4. no matter what non-english speaking country I go to, when I stop to ask for directions (poorly i might add) the person who I ask looks at me puzzled and with amazement that i do not understand anything he or she is telling me. He then begins to drag in all of the pedestrians walking by to figure out how to explain to the foreign girl what to do and where to go. Next thing I know, there is a crowd of people around me, none of who know each other but all talking/ arguing at once and taking turns trying to guide me in the right direction. A few times i have even slipped away after what feels like an eternity and the crowd doesn’t even notice I have gone and they continue to argue with one another.

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  5. Every time I meet a guy or leave a guy and leave the country, I imagine that I’m in some sad indie romance where the couple doesn’t end up together in the end. Good post I thought I was the only one who did that 🙂

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    • @Jasmine.. does this happen to you in every country? haha

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  6. So far, I’d have to say those moments are strongest while in transit… Whether on a bus, boat, moto, etc. However, when I broke down crying in front of about 20 people that don’t speak English yesterday… I had a sensation of being the fool in a foreign land with everyone laughing at me (even though they weren’t). Later, I realized it would make for a funny scene in a travel related movie.

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  7. I love picturing that I’m in a movie! Glad to see I’m not the only one… 😉

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  8. Great topic! I just had one of those moments the other day…

    Nighttime. Old Panama City. Little Cuban Bar. Latin Music. Narrow Streets. Presidential Palace Outside. Heavily Armed Guards On Patrol. Shady Characters Around. Una Cerveza In My Hand…

    Cue action sequence.

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  9. This is absolutely great! I was curious to see if someone had written something in regards to this feeling and voilà….I found your article. In all my travels I’ve always had that feeling like I was a character in a film. I feel that’s what has made my travels, and traveling in and of itself, even more of an adventure. Not just viewing travel as a trip to a distance land for a so called vacation but seeing it as stepping into a story as a character which turns it into an adventure. The things you do, the people you meet, and the places you go in the country all make it feel like you’re filming a scene. Thanks for sharing this topic. I’m another one who can say…I see I’m not the only one.

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    • @Kenny – Thanks for your comment… it really is a cool aspect of travel isn’t it?

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