Looking out over the coast of Arica, Chile. Just me and my tunes (No, the pole is not in my back).
Whether you're on the Eurostar across the channel to Paris, or a rickety bus for 30hrs with no toilet and a cholita crushing you into the window overlooking The Andes, you need a good travel playlist!
The best way to lose yourself in a sense of adventure, freedom and thoughtlessness is to pick the right tunes. Not everyone's jam is the same and for some part will be a good reflection of the type of traveller you are.
Since flying the nest in 2009, I've always had my faithful 'Catching Zzz's' playlist loaded onto my iPod. This plethora of tunes contains no less than 300 tracks to soothe the mind & soul into a state of comatose - helpful when on a bumpy ride across the Sahara Dessert or blocking out a symnphony of snorers in a Moscow hostel.
South America was always going to be about the long-arse bus rides and I couldn't sleep the whole time, so after investing in a Kindle Paperwhite & Anker Astro charger, I had to pick my ultimate travel jam...'On The Road'.
Due to the lack of oxygen in the heights of La Paz, my iPod Classic literally suffocated. Here is a tribute to the Top 10 albums you gave me during my South American adventure...
- Alexi Murdoch - Time Without Consequence
This is one of those albums that grows on you over time. Then grows some more. And more. Then you see on iTunes how many times you've listened to it and decide it's time for a break. One day you listen to it again and get hooked straight away!
Standout track: Breathe
- Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
Even after listening to this album a thousand times, it still doesn't get old...especially after seeing him live at the Gentlemen of the Road tour in 2012. There's something about his sweet voice and slick strumming that can transport you to the seaside in a way that even Jack Johnson fails to.
Standout track: The Wolves
- The Fugees - The Score
This doesn't fit into the general 'folky' tone of my playlist but who could argue with the voice of Lauren Hill? These soothing rap tunes hit the right instrumental note and pace that kept me awake many hours while I read on overnight buses. Just make sure you don't start bopping in your seat when Fu-Gee-La comes on...you're gonna wake up the old guy next to you.
Standout track: Fu-Gee-La
- Dave Matthews Band - Crash
These guys are supurb instramentalists and this has long been my favourite album, but each time I listen, I find it hard not to sing along to Dave's warm folky vocals. Who's not to say I don't do some air drumming when the lights are dimmed on the bus?! For me there is a sense of worldliness about their music, which I'd say comes from their use of different percussion and wind instruments. One band I have to see before I die...
Standout track: Number 41
- Zero 7 - The Garden
Touching on more electronic and percussion elements, Zero 7 has taken an absolute beating on my iPod over the years! With vocals such as Jose Gonzalez & Sia, you can't fault it. When my iPod died and I had to resort to relying on my iPod Shuffle, I ditched all my running tunes and Zero 7's back catalogue was the quickest and easiest choice for the next long journey. This is another group I would sell a kidney to see live!
Standout track: Left Behind
- Amos Lee - Supply & Demand
Relatively new to my tastes, Amos Lee's influences come from comtemporary jazz, 70's folk and soul music. He's put together a number of superb albums and EPs making it hard to choose from. Might be a bit slow in parts but its damn soothing! Well worth a listen...
Standout track: Careless
- Stereophonics - Decade in the Sun
If I could have, I would have included every Stereophonics album to my playlist but then again I might as well have just listened to them alone. Great to add a chilled rock element to the mix to give you some good vibes. You might have to stand on your mate's shoulders to see him on stage at a gig but there's no mistaking Kelly Jones' voice!
Standout track: Have A Nice Day
- Crowded House - Recurring Dream
There probably aren't many Aussies (of a certain age) that don't have thisin their iTunes library. As soon as any of these tracks come on, I'm instantly transported back to the homeland, which tends to give me not only a sense of nostalgia, but a greater appreciation of where I am at that moment in time.
Standout tracks: Don't Dream It's Over / Private Universe
- Julia Stone - By The Horns
Another Aussie gem, I actually prefer her less publicised solo work to her sibling collaborations with Angus. Her tunes can be a bit sultry at times but I found it good to write or just think to...perfect for capturing some of that infinite silence around you while cruising The Andes at twilight.
Standout tracks: Break Apart / Justine
- Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild
Anyone who's seen the movie will know the sense of adventure and freedom it brings. Same goes with it's soundtrack. There's something about the combination of Eddie Vedder's raw vocals, banjo and echoing beat that make you feel invincible. This album takes me back to hiking the peaks of Isla del Sol...
Standout track: Hard Sun
Another track worth mentioning: Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
A small piece of advice if you're traveling anywhere above 3,000m - ditch your old iPod Classic for one that stores music on a flash drive. My next travel purchase is going to be the iPod Touch 64GB. Happy listening!