Travel Tunes – Adding a unique soundtrack to your adventure


A strange thing happened last week – I received an email from a musician in Nashville, Joel Porter, asking me to listen to his latest song, “Hymn” (it’s really good!).

Another strange thing: for the past few months, Ashley, a music promoter from the US has also been emailing me wanting to talk about music. She sends playlists she’s created specifically for me.

I have a confession to make (please don’t tell Joel or Ashley), but I know NOTHING about music. I am the least talented person in my musically-gifted family but I love it and appreciate great talent. I listen to music almost every day and I know what I like. Music adds a soundtrack to my scooter rides on twisty mountain roads, motivates me during a workout, and soothes my mind on those hellish 14-hour trans-Pacific flights.


I also use music in English class sometimes. I give the students a copy of the lyrics with some words or phrases missing. Listening for the missing lyrics helps students hear the linking sounds and listen through the background noise. Also, it’s kind of fun to discuss the expressions and analyze the meaning behind the song (except for “Hotel California” – I just don’t get it).

So, how did these music experts find me?

Spotify. I created a playlist and titled it Wake Me Up When September Ends. Then I spent a few hours scrolling through Spotify, adding artists and songs that fit with the general mood of that song. I now have 89 songs on that list – and over 2500 other people agree with my musical choices and have subscribed to my playlist. Based on that, people like Ashley and Joel assume I actually know something about music. I honestly don’t.

What I do know is that my original playlist doesn’t fit all of my many moods or every situation, so I created two other playlists: “Stairway to Heaven, kind of random with 70’s classic rock-inspired tunes, and “Chasing Pavements” featuring more “chick” music (Norah Jones, Adele, Dido).

Here are some travel tunes to add a soundtrack to your next long flight:

Mellow “Chick” Music 

Mix one melatonin, two glasses of wine, and this playlist – you’ll wake up at your destination!


1.) These Are Days – Natalie Merchant (“…you know it’s true that you are blessed and lucky.”)

2.) Here With Me – Dido (…”oh I am what I am, I’ll do what I want. But I can’t hide.”)

3.) Winter Song – Sara Bareilles – Ingrid Michaelson

4.) Chasing Pavements – Adele (The first Adele song I fell in love with…)

5.) Fumbling Towards Ecstasy – Sarah McLachlan (…“all the fear is gone. I’m not frightened anymore.”)

Contemporary – Pop Stuff 

Perfect travel tunes for people-watching at the airport. Adds a soundtrack to your travel memories.

1.) Wake Me Up When September Ends (Green Day)

2.) Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol) (Someone told me this song is about a dog. I refuse to believe it.)

3.) Forever May You Run (Gavin Rossdale)

guitar man

4.) Let Her Go (Passenger)

5.) Last Request (Paolo Nutini)

(I couldn’t pick just 5!)

6.) Carry You Home – James Blunt

7.) Fix You – Coldplay

8.) Volcano – Damien Rice

9.) This is the Last Time – Keane

10.) Here Without You – 3 Doors Down

Classic Rock Travel Tunes

Mix one venti Starbucks with these 70’s Classic Rock songs – helps fight that dreaded jet-lag!


1.) Freebird (Lynyrd Skynyrd) *My theme song

(“…I must be traveling on now, cause there’s so many places I’ve got to see.”)

2.) Stairway to Heaven (Led Zepplin or Heart)

(Heart’s cover of this classic during the Kennedy Center Honors made Robert Plant cry!)

3.) Layla (Eric Clapton – Derek and the Dominos)

(The lyrics don’t grab me but the ending sounds like a soundtrack to the movie of my life.)

4.) Dream On ( Aerosmith)

(”Every time when I look in the mirror, all these lines on my face gettin’ clearer…”)

5.) Little Wing ( Joe Cocker – Santana)

(Amazing guitar solo by Santana!)

Recent Discoveries 

1.) The Good in Goodbye (Alexander Wren) This one has really grown on me and gets stuck in my head! 

2.) What’s Left To Say (Jourdan Rystrom) A rising star, she’s based in LA with Minnesota roots! Check out her song on Spotify, and then buy her songs on I-Tunes or Amazon!  (This song was featured on “The Bold and the Beautiful”.)

3.) Hymn (Joel Porter) A haunting and beautiful song!

I’ve got a 20-hour trip coming up soon and am prepared with enough music to drown out the sound of screaming babies for the entire time!

 Any comments or suggestions? Living in my Taiwan bubble, what new music have I been missing?



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