Runtime: 1hr. 19mins.
This film was originally released in 2012, and it made it's way around to various film festivals around the world where its been receiving quite a bit of positive attention. It just made it's way to DVD/VOD this year (back in January). It was available for just a few dollars to buy on Google Play where I picked it up (I like to Chromecast), but it's also available on Amazon Instant as well.
Janapar (the Armenian word for "journey") is a documentary that began as Tom Allen’s effort to document his attempt to “bicycle around the world.” Although by bicycle around the world he means wherever the wind seems to take him. There is no clear route, nor final destination.
He was 23, and after graduating was working in web design before realizing he’d never be happy with a life spent sitting still. So he sets out for around 3 and a half years worth of life on the road. He’s able to convince a couple of friends to go with him, but after a while they decide they've had enough and return home leaving Tom to continue on by himself.
It’s an adventurer’s journey. As any travel obsessed person knows the longing for travel never really leaves you, and while in your post college, mid 20’s that longing is especially strong. Tom is constantly torn between wanting to be with Tenny and wanting to be out biking.
There are the typical things you expect in a documentary of this sort, such as the many self indulgent shots of Tom talking into his camera. But there are also interesting tidbits like some discussion of cultural differences, and Tom reflecting on having met the many warm welcoming people in most areas he visits. One of the reason to watch any documentary of this sort is to see different cultures, and while we get some of that I wish there were more. Some of the best moments are when we see Tom interacting with locals from the various places he stops.
It doesn't feel like a professional documentary, there are no interviews with anyone, it feels like you are watching your friend’s vacation, turned wedding video.
If you’re a documentary fan, or a travel enthusiast you’ll probably enjoy this one, although you've also probably seen many films like this already. Either way it’s still entertaining and somewhat inspiring.
If having seen this makes you want to know more about Tom and biking/traveling in general, Tom writes a biking blog http://tomsbiketrip.com/
The story is also in written form. The book shares the same name as the film.