Top 10 Best Travel Songs

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Did you know that 85% of kangaroo dreams are about koalas? No, I can’t back up that previous statement anymore than I can claim that the following ten songs are the “best” travel songs. But these travel songs are pretty good and really intrepid. Just ask my friend. She once said to me, “Luke, you have an amazing taste in travel music.” It’s true; she had had too much to drink when she told me that. But whenever she drinks too much, she always tells the truth.

So, below are ten songs that fit well in the context of travel. I encourage you to put on your iPod before you fly away:

1) “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – John Denver

This song will never get old. Never! And it will never be un-cool to ironically sing it before boarding a plane.

2) “I’ve been Everywhere” – Johnny Cash

If you can memorize all the lyrics to this song and sing it for Karaoke, you will go home with someone that night (exception: singing it in Japan).

3) “The Ragged Sea” – Alexi Murdoch

Perfect for trips long enough to forget what day of the week it is. Grab your guitar and sing with me: “I see the lights of the city / I see them rising up / Somewhere on the mountain around the ragged sea / Where time is standing still / I’m falling on the hill / And the sky is pouring in.”

4) “Papa Was A Rodeo” – Magnetic Fields

The song twangs with a country-music-longing of moving from place to place. Because “Papa was a rodeo / Mama was a rock and roll band /I could play guitar and rope a steer before I learned to stand / Home was anywhere with diesel gas / Love was a trucker’s hand / I never stuck around long enough for a one night stand.”

5) “Book of Days” – Enya

Yes. Of course Enya was going to make this list and obviously it was going to be her epic travel hymn “Book of Days.” Its sentiments, whether sung in Galic or English, resonate with anyone overcome by sheer wonder of the intrepid world: “One day, one night, one moment, my dreams could be, tomorrow / One step, one fall, one falter, and a new earth across a wide ocean / This way became my journey, this day ends together, Far and Away.”

6) “Beautiful Night”Josh Ritter

What do you mean you haven’t heard this song? Minimize this window and download it now. To cap off a great day in a far-off land, it does not get much better than this song. It’s about a pirate drifting off to sleep in the crow’s nest where he’s been imprisoned and is awaiting execution. But in the meantime, he’s enjoying the sailboat ride.

7) “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen

Odds of “The Boss” not being included in this list: 0%

8) “Pay Me my Money Down” – Bruce Springsteen

Odds of “The Boss” being the only artist with two songs in this list: 100%

9) “Beautiful World” – Colin Hay

“My, my, my it’s a beautiful world.” Coming from the mouth of the man who “came from the land down under,” I couldn’t agree more. It is a beautiful world. Why else would we travel?

0) “I Run For Life – Melissa Etheridge

Yes, this is a joke. This song is not one of the top ten. Also, I deny ever putting this song on repeat and jogging to it. The only reason it has so many plays on my iTunes is because I accidentally left it on repeat when I went to Africa.

10) “Winding Road” – Bonnie Somerville

Straight from the Garden State soundtrack to your iPod, don’t listen to this song until you’re on your way home. It will implant the longing in you to see all the things and people you left behind to take your trip.

By Luke Armstrong


About the Author

LukeArmstrongLuke Maguire Armstrong lives in Guatemala directing the humanitarian aid organization, Nuestros Ahijados. His book of poetry, iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About (available for sale on is especially enjoyed by people who “don’t read poetry.” (@lukespartacus)

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