As I get ready for another adventure abroad, watching old Audrey Hepburn movies while packing, it occurs to me that much of what I know about travel comes from her films, especially Roman Holiday, Funny Face, and Sabrina. I grew up watching Hepburn transform herself from the various versions of the quiet country mouse to the cultured, sophisticated woman of the world. She made everything looks so wonderfully marvelous! Even when I finally got to travel abroad for the first time last year, I found myself looking to these movies for inspiration and advice as I got ready to venture into the world--I still do. So if you too are wondering how to get the most out of your trip, be it to a nearby town or across the globe, here are five lessons I've learned from Audrey Hepburn movies to help you on your way.
1. Don't be afraid to be a tourist. As Hepburn and her cronies croon in Funny Face, there is a certain joy in being "strictly tourists." It's okay to snap photos and drool over the Eiffel Tower--lots of Europeans do the same thing when they visit the Southwest. The first time I went traveling in Italy, I tried so hard to look like a real Roman. After day one, I realized no one bought my flimsy act. I was a tourist. They knew. I knew it. I made my peace with it--and had a blast!
2. Be ready for adventure. Like her princess character in Roman Holiday, learn to be ready for anything when you travel, from dancing on the river (and getting in a brawl shortly after!), to breezing about on your scooter in Rome, to seeing things you never would have dreamed of, like the Colosseum. Travel is always an adventure--don't be afraid to dive right in and enjoy yourself!
3. No schedules, please! This piece of advice is also from Roman Holiday, when Hepburn, as a burned-out princess, sneaks away from her political duties to spend one day playing in Rome on her own. Her only caveat? No schedules! Having such a regimented life as a princess, she wants her free day to be a series of impromptu bits of fun. Sure, it's a good idea to plan ahead when you travel and get those tickets for the museums and big attractions that you want to see, but do leave time to simply wander, stroll, and drink champagne at a local cafe.
4. Let yourself be changed by the experience. In each of these movies, Hepburn gets a total makeover--most notably in her fashion-forward short hair cut (yes, almost all these films feature this, surprisingly!) and stunning new wardrobe. You might not end up with changes so material or obvious, but a good traveler must be willing to let herself be transformed by the places she visits. This could mean enjoying new customs in everyday life or bringing the flavors of your travel home with you in the meals you cook.
5. It's okay to see the world through rose-colored glasses! This last piece of advice comes from Sabrina, as the now-worldly chauffeur's daughter is on her way home after a year in Paris. She talks about learning how to see the world through rose-colored glasses. So I leave you with this thought: be romanced by life, enjoy each simple pleasure on your journey, near or far, get swept up in the delight of it all!
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