Whether I’m getting lost in a new city or planning an epic adventure, I have a certain playlist of songs that always seems to get that travel bug itching without delay. Most of these songs have little or nothing to do with travel itself, but they still give me a feeling of trekking to a new and exciting part of the globe. I’ve listed my top ten, in no particular order, for you to take a listen to and get you pumped for your next destination!
Adiemus – Karl Jenkins
If my life could be summed up into a song I can only pray that it would be exciting enough to be Adiemus. This is quite possibly my favorite song of all time (second maybe only to “Into the West,” but I digress) and is basically guaranteed to inspire you to greatness. I’ve never played this song to someone who didn’t fall instantly in love with it. Without fail, every time I listen to this song I am transported to some glorious part of our world that I have yet to explore myself.
Runner-up: Storms in Africa – Enya
I Lived – OneRepublic
This one is a little more obvious on why it gets you pumped to check off that bucket list. Lyrics like, “I owned every second that this world could give, I saw so many places, the things that I did” scatter throughout and the hook of course is: “I swear I lived.” My generation isn’t so much hanging on the American Dream but is all about getting away from the cubicle existence and experiencing life. We may end up regretting that a bit when we’re all sixty and broke, but I still fully believe in the “collect experiences not money” motto. This song is an anthem for that mantra and I dare you not to hear the sound of freedom calling after listening to it.
Runner-up: Good Life – OneRepublic
Hard Sun – Eddie Vedder (Into The Wild soundtrack)
This song is from one of my all-time favorite films that just so happens to be, in my opinion, the greatest travel log movie ever. Maybe I’ll make a follow up list of movies that make you want to see the world? Anyway, this song has a way of capturing that almost indescribable feeling of being a down and dirty backpacker and yet being light as a feather knowing you’re finally doing what you’ve always dreamed. This song is especially effective whilst on trains.
Runner-up: Baba O’Riley – The Who
Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts
This is one of the only country songs I’ll listen to, and that’s saying something. When Rascal Flats remade this song for the Cars soundtrack I knew it would be a permanent staple in my music collection. This one is a pretty self explanatory travel song absolutely perfect for road trips, especially if said road trip involves Route 66. I have to say it is particularly powerful driving along the coast of California or through the deserts of Arizona. Fill up your gas tank, grab some hot cheetos, crank this baby up and hit the open road. Adventure guaranteed.
Runner-up: Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
Around Us – Jonsi
Next time you are in an incredible place, whether it be standing on top of a mountain or in the middle of a bustling intersection in a big city, hit play on this song. Just do it, don’t ask questions. It’s a scientific fact that this song will produce strong feelings of wanderlust and eagerness to experience the beauty of untouched places. (Well, not really fact, but I’ve asked a couple people who’ve heard it and they totally agree.) While you’re at it just listen to the whole album and book that plane ticket already!
Runner-up: Hoppipolla – Sigur Ros
The Last Goodbye – Billy Boyd (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies soundtrack)
This one is known to produce tears if listening to it as you leave a much beloved destination. It certainly did for me as the plane sped down the runway away from the United States towards Hong Kong. The lyrics are very literal in the sense of saying goodbye to a part of your life and moving on to a new adventure. As exciting as beginning a new journey is, each and every one must also come to an end. This is a great song for transition periods and helping you to detox and prepare for what’s to come!
Runner-up: I Remember You – Nat Kong Cole (The Majestic soundtrack)
Step Out – José González (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack)
I love movie soundtracks, what can I say? This film, like Into the Wild, is basically an ode to the magnetism travel has over all of our lives and the songs equally capture that feeling. This song in particular is powerful both musically and lyrically. “Step outside, time to step outside,” is repeated over and over throughout this song making it especially kindred to those backpackers and mountaineers out there who hate to be cooped up in hostels. Charge up your ipod, get off the grid, and breath that fresh mountain air as you rock out to this song in the middle of nowhere.
Runner-up: Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack)
Some Nights – fun.
This one is upbeat and fun (heheheh) and captures the feeling that all young people picture in their minds when they think of an extended vacation tromping around Southeast Asia. If you live by the “you can sleep when you’re dead” mantra then this is a great song to listen to as you head out on the town. This one doesn’t necessarily have much to do with travel per say, but it seemingly replicates the spirit of how and why you leave everything behind to find something more. The unexpectedness and the chance that it could all go wrong is why we love it. Live life on the edge, right?
Runner-up: Lovers in Japan – Coldplay
Kings and Queens – 30 Seconds to Mars
This one, dude, it’ll make you wanna jump out of an airplane or base jump or dive the mariana trench. It’s like an adrenaline rush in a song. Whether it’s a good thing or not, travel can make you feel invincible at times and that fleeting moment is always a beautiful thing. This song invokes some of my best memories and cultivates dreams of making new ones. Crank this song up when you need a dose of courage or are already feeling on top of the world!
Runner-up: When We Come Alive – Switchfoot
The Way Way Back (The Way Way Back soundtrack)
This last and final track is pure instrumental and proves that you don’t always need words to tell a story. The gorgeous thing about this song though, is you get to tell your own story as you listen. It starts off soft and beachy (where you are in life right now – dreaming of seeing the globe and having adventures.) Then wait till around the 1:35 mark, that’s where it picks up (you’re on the plane, jetting off to chase the horizon!) I know that’s totally cheesy, but it’s the type of thing that goes through my mind. Try out this sweet track and try not to be inspired. (Also, see the movie, it’s fantastic.)
Runner-up: Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap