This is a special time of year for us here at Cookies + Sangria. Both of us consider the time we left our study abroad countries as an “anniversary” of sorts, and we’re both at 7 years now. It’s hard to believe, frankly. Although the whole “college girl who goes abroad and learns about the world and herself” thing is a bit of a cliche, that’s exactly what happened for us.
We’ve both spent our fair share of time on the road and in the air since then, and we still love a good travelin’ song. Hopefully you do, too. Bon voyage, nos amis!
Check out the full playlist on Spotify!
Travel Light by Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling
When I was an astronaut I didn’t have my boots, When I was a coal miner I didn’t have the news, When I was a record store I didn’t have the blues, I travel light and that’s the life for me.
This is one of my personal travel anthems, and it doesn’t make a half-bad life anthem, either. Originally recorded by Diane Cluck and Jeffrey Lewis, I much prefer the Flynn/Marling cover.
Shambala by Three Dog Night
Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind, On the road to Shambala
In Nicaragua, our driver had a CD with about 5 tracks on it. We listened to it about 900 times over the course of a month. This was one of those songs, and it always brings me back to that hot, dusty village. Maybe an odd pick, but for me it sums up those perfect travel experiences where everyone you meet on the road is helpful and kind.
California by Joni Mitchell
They said “How long can you hang around?”/ I said a week maybe two, Just until my skin turns brown
On more long-term trips out of the country, it’s a weird, ambivalent thing thinking about your homeland from abroad. You’re sort of enchanted with everything you see, and you’re sort of ready to pack up and head home, too. Not that home is perfect: Joni was writing during Vietnam, and I was traveling a lot during the worst of the Iraq mess. Travel can magnify your home country’s flaws and make you miss it terribly all at the same time.
Elias by Dispatch
Distance is short when your hand carries what your eye found
When I left Spain, I learned one of the secrets of traveling: if you do it right, it means that wherever you go, you will always miss someone. I missed my friends and family in the U.S. during my months abroad, but when I came home, I missed my friends and “family” in Madrid. It’s worth making personal connections with people you meet on your travels, even if you have to accept that you may go the rest of your life without seeing them again.
Clean Getaway by Maria Taylor
He felt just like love. Except no fear of losing, and it wasn’t tough.
It’s so amazing when you travel that wherever you are is just plain home to someone else. Rather than making you feel empty that you’re anonymous, it mostly just feels free. This one reminds me of moving to a city where I didn’t know a soul but my own, which is always good to do in your early 20s (before, like a used car, your shock absorbers start to go).
Honorary mentions: I love Safe Travels (Don’t Die), but it’s more relevant when somebody else is doing the traveling. Chicago is another travel song I love, but like most Sufjan Stevens tunes, it means about 3 different things to me and will probably find its way onto a different Playlist of the Month anyway.
3×5 by John Mayer
Today skies are painted in a cowboy cliche. Strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky are next to mountains anyway.
This is a travelin’ song if I ever heard one. Driving down the road, taking in nature, the sights, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have someone you care about sharing it with you. Not to mention the instrumentals are a perfect background for his picturesque lyrics. It just feels like you’re on the move.
Going Home by Marc Broussard
You know I was born to roam.
In the same vein as 3×5, this jam has a general driving/travel theme in the lyrics, and the music feel like you’re on an old-timey train – like Hogwarts Express – going through the US to your love.
Cathedrals by Jump Little Children
In the cathedrals of New York and Rome, there is a feeling that you should just go home – and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.
When I studied abroad, I discovered this song and it really hit me. I had this weird emotion where I wanted to be back home in America, where everything was familiar, and where my friends and family were. But at the same time I wanted to explore every single city in Europe – a place where I was slowly calling home too.
Chocolate by Snow Patrol
This could be the very minute I’m aware I’m alive. All these places feel like home.
Gosh, if there was a scene in my autobiographical movie, where I was running through the streets of a foreign country with a handsome man and exploring everything, it would be set to this song.
Heads Carolina, Tails California by Jo Dee Messina
We can pack up tomorrow. Tonight, let’s flip a coin.
Ok, this song is admittedly corny, but we played this on our road trip from the east coast to LA constantly. The idea of just packing up and not knowing where to go next was an idea that I would never dare to do, but our semi-planned drive across the country was the closest thing I’ll ever get to flipping a coin and leaving.