A handful of songs to stir up the travel bug and inspire wandering in the world.
Climbing up the tiny ladder to the roof of the boat, I found the perfect corner to tuck myself away in, legs hanging over the edge in the wind and sea-spray, hair flying as we picked up speed, the ocean falling away before me in flickering shades of emerald.
I had another one-way ticket to another place I didn’t yet know, and the anticipation fluttered and whipped around in my stomach like the little flags streaming off the back of the boat.
Everything seemed to be before me; everything seemed a possibility.
All I needed was some music. I put my earbuds in and let the songs and the sea wash over me, the inspiration in my chest rising and falling with the notes and ocean swells.
There is nothing like sitting on a bus or a plane or a train or a boat, leaning against the window, songs about far-off places and freedom pouring into our ears and sparking a daydream reel of our next adventures.
A good travel song has to have good lyrics. And good lyrics don’t tell us exactly what to feel or think; rather, they stoke the embers already burning in our minds and mean different things to different people. Even different things to the same person depending on the day or the season.
In this sense, any song that speaks to our sense of freedom, joy and adventure has earned its place on our travel playlist.
Here are just a few of the songs I like to hear while I’m wandering:
“Let your senses be ignited
By streams of neon singing in the dark
Connected to the planet
A million neighbors
A sea of stars.”
2. Pioneer by The Band Perry
“Be careful of the careful souls who doubt you along the way…
Your mother is adventure, and your father is the wild.
Where are we going?
Oh I don’t know
But still I’ve got to go
What will become of us?
Oh I don’t care
All I know is I’ll go anywhere.”
3. Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves
“When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don’t
Just follow your arrow wherever it points.”
4. Only the Ocean by Jack Johnson
“When these sails go up
Mountains fade away
Stars come back
I’m finally free
It’s only the ocean and me.”
5. Bird Set Free by Sia
“But there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide
We hold on so tight, we cannot deny
Eats us alive, oh it eats us alive…
And I don’t care if I sing off key
I find myself in my melodies
I sing for love, I sing for me
I shout it out like a bird set free.”
6. Atlas Hands by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
“Take me to the docks, there’s a ship without a name there
And it is sailing to the middle of the sea
The water there is deeper than anything you’ve ever seen
Jump right in and swim until you’re free.”
7. Imagine by John Lennon
“Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.”
8. Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons
“So when your hope’s on fire
But you know your desire
Don’t hold a glass over the flame
Don’t let your heart grow cold.”
9. Let Your Hair Down by Magic!
“No one’s on the clock now
Lying in this simple moment
You don’t gotta worry now
Just let your hair down.”
10. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
“Tattoos of memories
And dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth
It was worth all the while.
It’s something unpredictable
But in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life.”
11. Good Life by One Republic
“Woke up in London yesterday
Found myself in the city near Piccadilly
Don’t really know how I got here
I got some pictures on my phone…
When you’re happy like a fool
Let it take you over
When everything is out
You gotta take it in.”
12. My House by Kacey Musgraves
“Who needs a house up on a hill
When you can have one on four wheels
And take it anywhere the wind might blow?
You don’t even have to mow the yard
Just hang a map and throw a dart
And pray to God the engine starts and go.”
Which songs make you want to sell all your belongings and disappear into the horizon? Share in the comments—keep the playlists as alive and evolving as the adventures.
Author: Chrissy Tustison
Editor: Toby Israel