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The Best Travel Songs

I’ve written about music a few times on this site; specifically, the music I listen to when I travel as well as a list of songs to listen to when you’re homesick. To me, music and travelling go hand in hand. I’m either surrounded by the music of the country I’m in, or, on long bus journeys or train rides, I’m listening to my own favourites through my headphones.

But there are some great songs that are about travelling themselves, ones that either capture what it feels like to be on the road, or perhaps ones that inspire you to get up and go. When I first started making this list of travel songs, or songs about travelling, these were the ones I wrote down first – perhaps inspired by the fact that I finally purchased a record player here in London (even though I have three in Canada) and brought back 30 of my favourite albums, they are all of a certain time. I don’t believe that this was intentional, but I hope you can agree that these are some damn good travel songs. In no particular order, here are some of what I consider the best travel songs.

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Should We Put Down Our Phones?

The title of this post is a little preachy, I know. And as someone who makes a living completely from work done online, it also seems a bit hypocritical. We’ve all heard this countless times already (ironically, on our social media feeds) and videos like this one have gone viral. But it is really difficult to stay away from that device that’s become iconic of our generation, especially as it gets better and better, and as new devices connected to it – I’m thinking of Apple’s new iWatch – are released.

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The Music of Basilicata

Amid the chaos – the sawing of the huge tree on the ground, the hoards of people in white, the passerbys with their jugs of communal wine and baskets of fresh bread for the taking – a man’s voice rang out. It was aching, full of passion. Even without speaking Italian I knew that it was a love song, a song for one that was no longer by his side.

I was in the countryside of Basilicata, near Accettura, where the famous Festival of the Marriage of the Trees takes place every summer. Dating back centuries, this festival celebrates the area’s pagan roots. The festival itself is a sight to behold; everyone was in good spirits, and most were drunk well before lunch. What captivated me most, however, was the music that seemed to echo through the forest from all sides, these songs full of such sorrow and heartache.

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

We found our seats – right behind home plate. A few beers and a few hot dogs later, we were settled right in, intently watching every pitch and predicting where all the fly balls would land. And for all that I’ve always thought myself an “arty” person, the kind who visits galleries and theatres when I travel, I love visiting live sporting events just as much. Whatever the sport, I find I get really into it, and really enjoy seeing the passion and zeal of the fans. I’ve even started going to sports pubs on my own to catch some games on TV; I barely know any of the players, but I enjoy watching games and think it’s a great insight into a country’s culture.

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When Settling Makes Sense

There was always something calling me to keep travelling, to keep moving; the nomadic lifestyle appealed more than a sedentary one. That’s why all my paycheques went toward holidays or longer-term travels, and why I spent most of 2010, 2011, and 2012 on the road, with barely any breaks.

But then something changed. And although I’ve been realising the change for the last year, as I watched London go by from the cab window yesterday it all was achingly clear: I’m not ready to leave this place. I really like this place. I think that, for all of the wanderlust still in my bones, I want to settle in this place. Permanently.

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The Last Time I Saw You: London Edition (Part Two)

The last time I saw you, you were walking away from my flat, waving. As you turned the corner I still had a smile on my face. And then – you disappeared.

We met in a crowded east London bar over the thud of dance music and the raucous laughter of those still drinking at 3am. The next day I could barely remember your face, but knew you were tall and Scottish. I remembered giving you my number and laughed out loud; as if you’d ever call, I thought. As if you’d ever call.

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When Your Blog Goes Quiet or: How to Get Over Writer’s Block

I go through phases of blogging, just as I think that all people in creative fields do, whether their craft is painting or writing or singing or dancing. We all go through phases in life where we feel successful, where our output is high and our accomplishments prolific. This summer, for me, was definitely not one of these times. In fact, thinking about blogging often made me feel sad – sad because I love it so much and I wasn’t doing it, but also because I just couldn’t think of a damn thing to write.

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How to Make Italian Pasta From Scratch

When I was in Basilicata in early June, I had the opportunity to visit Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda. There is no way to describe this hotel other than to say it is absolutely exquisite. Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, it feels much more like a beautiful Italian home than a hotel, which is because it is exactly that; the Coppola family stays there when they are in Italy.

The kitchen, then, is exactly what you would imagine of such a gorgeous estate: large and welcoming, with lots of fresh ingredients. I was a bit nervous knowing that I would learn how to make pasta here – did I really deserve to be in this kitchen, run by some of the best chefs in the country?

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Around the World: Shoes

Sometimes I say things like, “One of the reasons I am able to save money to travel is that I don’t spend money on other things, like shoes,” but then I look through my photos and realise that I have bought a lot of shoes in my life, so my point is moot. Almost all of these were bought on the road, and almost all of these died on the road.

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