Ever noticed that people almost always have life-altering epiphanies in movies about living or travelling abroad? This week's release, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, is no exception. The dramedy stars Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench as a group of British retirees who move to an exotic-sounding retirement home in India, where they are "forever transformed" by the experience.
This certainly isn't the first movie to explore the notion of having a life-altering experience while abroad. Everything from Eat, Pray, Love to Lost in Translation features characters who come home "forever transformed" after something remarkable happens to them on their journeys.
If you still haven't had a travel-related epiphany yourself, and are starting to wonder what gives, you're in luck. We've compiled a list of the best tips movies have to offer when it comes to completely changing your life while away. You're welcome.
1. Hook up with Javier Bardem. If movies like Eat, Pray, Love and Vicky Cristina Barcelona have taught us anything, it's a life-altering event for American women travelling abroad.
2. If Javier Bardem isn't available, or -- gasp -- isn't your cup of tea, find another local to have a transformative affair with, like Jason Schwartzman did in The Darjeeling Limited. You may want to make sure your new lover isn't already involved with the Chief Steward of the train you're on. Although, getting thrown off a train in the middle of India just may prove to be the catalyst for your travel epiphany, so that last point is really a judgment call. Use your own discretion.
3. Be extra-surly at first, and act disgusted by everything about the country you're visiting, like Maggie Smith does in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. That will really set you up for a major eye-opener when you realize there's something wrong with you, not the country!
4. Move in with some locals you just met, like Michael Pitt did in The Dreamers. Even if your hosts turn out to be crazy siblings who are having an incestuous affair with each other, hey, you've expanded your horizons on your little trip to Paris. Besides, who could say no to Eva Green?
5. Go someplace where you can "marvel at something" and ride around on bikes -- a lot -- like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love. Don't forget to laugh like a maniac to frighten the locals while you're pedaling about.
6. Commiserate about your culture shock with another American, much like Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson did in Lost in Translation. This may lead to an unlikely, life-altering friendship that never would have happened at home.
7. Talk someone you've just met into getting off the train with you in Vienna, a la Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise. Best-case scenario: you have a fantastic night, realize things about yourself you never knew before, and fall in love. Worst-case scenario: the stranger turns out to be crazy, and murders you in a deserted graveyard when you unsuspectingly lean in for a kiss.
8. If you receive a mysterious treasure map in the mail, like Kathleen Turner did in Romancing the Stone, pack your bags immediately. Sure, taking off to Colombia on a whim may seem unwise at first, but you just might meet a dishy American bird exporter like Michael Douglas who will change your life forever. (And don't forget about all that treasure!)
9. Accidentally set something on fire at the Vatican, like the kids in EuroTrip. Don't worry, some soccer hooligans will rescue you, you'll connect with the girl of your dreams, have sex in a confessional booth and have some amazing travel-related epiphanies about life.
10. Buy a shamrock villa in Italy. It worked out pretty well for Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun. Don't forget to take your sassy gay best friend with you.