With love from a fellow bridge year kid, here are the top 10 songs that helped me embrace the highs and lows of spending eight months abroad with Global Citizen Year before selling my sou- I mean, heading to college.
Never Come Back Again by Austin Plaine
The Lyrics: I wanna see the world, I wanna sail the ocean; I wanna know what it feels like to never come back again… I wanna see the end of a world that’s rounded.
My go-to anthem as I counted down the hot summer days before I finally escaped the Midwest, this song connected with all of my overwhelming excitement and anticipation. Its “embrace every damn moment of this life” message is perfect for sparking that butterflies-in-your-stomach sense of wanderlust and getting you ready to see the world!
Ophelia by The Lumineers
The Lyrics: You got big plans and you gotta move.
To be honest, this song isn’t exactly related to travel in any way (although I did manage to find one good line for my fellow passport junkies); it’s just your average, folk-ish ballad. However, it does have a fantastic vibe for those midnight stargazing sessions with new friends, and stargazing is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. It’s an awesome feeling to know that the same stars will continue to watch over you wherever you may roam.
Sleep on the Floor by The Lumineers
The Lyrics: Take all of your savings out, ‘cause if we don’t leave this town we might never make it out.
All my Midwesterners STAND UP, along with literally anyone else who has an all-consuming desire to escape their comfort zone and see the world. This song is for those wanderers who find freedom between the pages of a passport or whilst cruising across state lines in a van that has too many miles on it; y’all truly understand just how many doors are opened when we travel.
Raging by Kygo ft. Kodaline
The Lyrics: Walking on a plane as I hold my breath, it’s gonna be weeks ‘til I breathe again… lost among a million changing faces.
In all of my 18 years on this incredible planet, I’ve yet to find a airplane song better than this classic, chill masterpiece by Kygo. You know that moment during takeoff when your breath catches all of a sudden and you just think, WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO? These lyrics are perfectly suited for those anxious moments of anticipation – Raging is a good reminder that you’re never as entirely lost as you feel.
The World At Large by Modest Mouse
The Lyrics: Walked away to another plan – gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand; I move on to another day, to a whole new town with a whole new way.
This one is for all those gypsy souls and bridge year kids who are made to feel ever-so-slightly insane simply because they insist on taking the road less traveled and aren’t interested in settling down. I FEEL YA. But I swear on my passport and visa and every other super important travel document I own that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you; some people just don’t get it.
Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford & Sons
The Lyrics: I will learn to love the skies I’m under.
Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, remember why you began this journey in the first place, and focus on making peace with all the highs and lows of living in a foreign country. This song is for those moments.
Old Pine by Ben Howard
The Lyrics: I’ve come to know that memories were the best things you ever had… so far from home, where the ocean stood down dust and pine cone tracks.
Traveling is rich in the moments that matter – the experiences we gather while abroad are ones that we’ll continue to look back on for the rest of our lives. This song is a tribute to all the memories that are made and relationships that are built when you let go and immerse yourself in the world around you. I especially recommend it for those long train or bus rides filled with quiet contemplation and reflection.
Something Wild by Lindsey Stirling ft. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
The Lyrics: You’ve got a big heart, the way you see the world it got you this far… and even though you’re scared, you’re stronger than you know.
Traveling abroad can definitely get a little scary at times. You won’t understand a new culture right away, and it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed. This song says it all though – you had enough faith in the world around you to start this journey, so gather all your courage and don’t doubt for a second your ability to make it through the hard parts.
Home We’ll Go (Take My Hand) by Steve Aoki
The Lyrics: Let your heart run child, like horses in the wild… so take my hand and home we’ll go.
This is not only the ultimate adventure track, but it’s the perfect song to dance it out to with your best friend while exploring a new place. Whenever I listen to the lyrics, I interpret “home” as anywhere with the friends I love, rather than a specific place. I truly believe it’s the people you meet that make traveling so special; and as long as you keep that in mind, I guarantee you’ll never feel alone. Also, did I mention that this is the greatest adventure song of all time? So don’t forget to blast it on your next rickshaw ride or hike or whatever!
I’m Good by The Mowgli’s
The Lyrics: Trying to figure out who I am, or where I’m supposed to be… living life just like I should, I wouldn’t change it if I could.
Despite some of the challenges of traveling, most days will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. This earth was meant to be explored – being a little lost in it is a thrill, not a burden. So kick back to this uplifting tune and wholeheartedly embrace the experience of being abroad!