As two of my greatest passions are Music and Traveling, I have somehow come across a lot of lists online that, putting all humbleness aside, are named things like: “best travel songs ever” or “top 10 songs in the world that will make you want to travel”.
Funny enough, most of the songs featured in these tops are by Americans, for Americans and… wait for it… about America! And by America I mean USA, not the rest of the Americas. “Sweet Home Alabama” or Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” might make you want to explore this country. Same as “Africa” by Toto inspires day dreaming and wondering about this continent.
There are many examples of “traveling songs” that make you want to travel because of the destinations sung about in the tune. But that appeal of wandering around the world and the fact that songs can convey such passionate emotion, goes beyond any city, any country, any continent. It’s all about desires and seeking realization as you go, as you open your mind beyond your own culture’s fences.
Music makes you dream, allows you to travel lying in bed, involves you in exotic romances in far away places and, above all, makes you feel like YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!
Here are, in no particular order, 10 of my favorite songs that inspire me to travel and hope can inspire you too. They might not be the top best ever or the greatest in the universe, but they sure rock. They can tell you a thing or two about life and putting yourself out-there and not being scared to make a move!
1. A Praise Chorus by Jimmy Eat World
(video on top)
“Are you gonna live your life wondering
Standing in the back, looking around
Are you going to waste your time
Gotta make a move, or you’ll miss out”
The message, energy and contagious music of this song are truly inspirational to me. If I had to pick one song to listen to first the in the morning, for the rest of my days, this would probably be it.
Jimmy Eat World are a bunch of simple looking guys that really make you feel like anyone out there can and should feel special. This song is about belonging, in your own particular way, to the big picture. And don’t let that big picture be, without you in it!
2. The Artist in the Ambulance by Thrice
“Now I lay here owing my life to a stranger
And I realize that empty words are not enough
I’m left here with the question of just
What have I to show except the promises I never kept?
I lie here shaking on this bed, under the weight of my regrets”
Brilliant. Emotional. Meaningful. EPIC! These are some of the adjectives I could use to describe this song and even the band that wrote it.
We tend to make a lot of plans. And so we tend to postpone a lot of those plans, thinking maybe one day we’ll find the perfect conditions to finally do all those things that somehow didn’t fit in our daily routines. There is no perfect timing for most things in life and… what if a later day doesn’t ever come?
People who have had near death experiences say they learn how to value life much more after experiencing such scary situations. Let’s all learn from them and do the same, without needing to be half way gone to understand that in our own skins.
3. My Hotel Year by The Ataris
“I drove five hundred thousand miles
To find a world unlike my own
And now middle of nowhere seems like my home”
Traveling is about getting out of your comfort zone, getting away from what you know and finding new realities and perspectives. But no matter how far you go, there will always be basic things common to humans, no matter the origin, race, religion or age. In those little things, we find what many of us call “home”.
4. El Universo Sobre Mi by Amaral
“Quiero vivir, quiero gritar
Quiero sentir el universo sobre mí
Quiero correr en libertad
Quiero encontrar mi sitio”
The Universe Upon Me. This song by one of my favorite Spanish bands sums up very well the feeling of traveling and discovering. As Amaral sings, she want to feel the universe, feel that freedom and, ultimately, find “my place”. Isn’t that what we all want in life?
5. Mystic Love by Dover
“All around the world
What ever you do
Just share with me
I’ll walk with you”
And from one of my favorite Spanish bands, we go to my all-time favorite del rock Espanol (before they became pop and made me sad).
Mystic Love is about seeing the World around you, but not doing it alone. This is actually one of the things that I like the most about my travels: that they are not “my” travels, but “our” travels, Ashray’s and mine.
Like my beloved Dashboard Confessional sings in the song Shirts & Gloves “it seems like nothing’s happened until I’ve shared them with you”. The beauty of discovering and doing new interesting things is only intensified when you share what amazes you with a person you love.
6. Strange Machines by The Gathering
“I wanna do centuries in a lifetime
And feel it with my hands”
This song takes wanderlust to a whole new level: traveling in time! And when this is conveyed by such a graceful singer, let’s admit it, the appeal is even more intense!
If you had a machine that allowed you to go back in time, to any time and place of your choice, what would you choose?
Strange Machines is about a lot more than traveling in time. It’s about feeling that a life-time is not enough for us to see and do everything there is around the world. And that is why, we should make the most of it, until someone really smart comes up with one of these strange machines in real life!
7. Lord of the Boards by Guano Apes
“And now I’m flying like an angel to the sun
The feet are burning and I grab into another world”
I can’t say this song has the deepest lyrics ever but the energy of this band and this particular track is definitely incendiary.
Adventure is part of traveling and this song is the perfect soundtrack for anything that involves adrenaline!
8. Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional
“So here’s a song about the best day I’ve ever had”.
This is one my absolute favorite songs ever. No words needed it. Listen to it and absorb the feeling of just being pure happy.
9. (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
There is no point in moving around much and learning a lot of new things if we don’t take the time to reflect and let new thoughts settle.
Sometimes, it also just feels good to sit and let time pass by. You and your thoughts. 3 days before his sudden death on a plane crash, Otis recorded one of the songs that inspire in me more serenity and represents a perfect melody for a tranquil time.
10. A Place Called Home by PJ Harvey
A place of hope
Just hold on to me”
I can go all around the world but eventually I want to settle down in a place where I can feel at home. We all want to belong and be a part of something. And “home” is where that magic happens.
Songs that make you want to travel don’t have to be songs about traveling! Bottom line is: seek inspiration wherever you need, but make that move you’ve been wanting to make for a while. Whether it is to travel or to just do whatever on earth makes you really happy!
So… what songs inspire you?