Best Travel Spirit Songs

[updated Feb 13, 2015]
Every now and then I come across a song that exudes the sprit of travel, puts words to the song of the travelers soul, or just fits a traveling mood. 

Last night, May 17, 2014, in a house concert in Austin, Texas, USA, I heard another song like that and realized I wanted to start sharing these songs. So here’s my ongoing blog entry of best travel spirit songs. I’ll add to it from time to time. And if you meet me on the road, you’ll know these are on my iPod.

I am opting, for the time-being, to not embed performances on this page as I don’t want to slow the page down.

Train I’m On

by Brenda Freed & JB Braden, performed by Him & Her

This is the song that got me wanting to share my list. I was staying in a home in Austin, Texas and on this evening, a live house concert was happening in the living room. I needed to work, so my plan was to enjoy the music as background. But hearing this, I found myself out there watching Brenda perform it.

She didn’t write it about literally getting up and traveling, but it captures the spirit of traveling through life — and why some folks choose to actually board that train.

"Some might say my life’s been a train wreck
It’s had its curves but I stayed on the main track
It’s hard for some to divert from a plan
I’m switchin’ tracks because I can

You won’t see me in the usual places
I’m in the need for making some changes
I may not always be the same person you know
I’ll still be me however I go"
"Call it foolish, call it crazy, call it what you will
Have you never wondered 
what’s beyond the distant hill?
Nothing bad has happened, 
no, there’s really nothing wrong
I believe in many places where I can belong"
But I heard a whistle blow, inviting me to go

Their official performance on YouTube.

Train I’m On – iTunes

Train I’m On lyrics on Brenda’s site.


The City of New Orleans

by Arlo Guthrie

This isn’t about travelers, but it’s surely about the type of experience you can have riding trains and busses around the country or world. It brings the old trains alive. It also reminds me of my long train ride out of Beijing or a couple of train rides in India.

Good morning America how are you?
See, don't you know me I'm your native son
I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

I haven’t found an Arlo performance of it to share, but here is a recording of it on YouTube.


Life Is A Highway

by Rascal Flatts

Yep, I picked this up from the original Cars movie — as soon as I heard it! The next day I was on iTunes laying down my 99 cents.

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you're going my way
I wanna drive it all night long


Knee Deep

Zac Brown Band, featuring Jimmy Buffet

The ultimate get-away song! You can’t not love listening to it.
It’s also a great sailing song.

A couple of quotes:
 "Only worry in the world, is the tide gonna reach my chair."
 "When you lose yourself, you find a key to paradise."
 "You never know until you try."

Knee Deep lyrics on their official site
It’s on the album You Get What You Give, 2010
You can hear Knee Deep in full on their YouTube video. (I hope the video doesn’t ruin it for you. I sure dislike the start and imagery.)


Looking For My Life

by George Harrison

This is on his Brainwashed album, written as he knew he was dying from brain cancer. It’s actually about reflecting upon his life and direction.  My takeaway is that we should live a true life. And, for me at least, seeing life across cultures, financial levels and so much more put me in touch with the essence of life.


Cheeseburger In Paradise

by Jimmy Buffet

Yes, this is too easy and too obvious. But whether we admit it or not, we all crave our cheeseburger at some time during our travel. And besides, if I don’t list this song, someone is bound to comment that I missed it.

Maybe the entire Meet Me in Margaritaville album belongs on this list.


Changes In Latitudes Changes In Attitudes

by Jimmy Buffet

Well, it bears its on listing. Change your latitude and you change your attitude.

It’s all over YouTube. I tried to find the official release but can’t. Here’s a version you can hear without video so you get to keep your own imagery.


Last Mango In Paris

by Jimmy Buffet
(written by Jimmy Buffett, Marshall Chapman, Will Jennings, Michael Utley)

First released in 1985, this song is still timeless.

He said, "I ate the last mango in Paris
 Took the last plane out of Saigon
 I took the first fast boat to China
 And Jimmy, there's still so much to be done"
 I had a damn good run on Wall Street
 With my high fashion model wife
 I woke up dry beneath the African sky
 Just me and my Swiss army knife

You can see a good live official performance of it here on YouTube.


This Seat’s Been Taken

by Steely Dan

You can hear it here at


Grand Illusion

by Styx (1977)

"So if you think your life is complete confusion
 'cause your neighbor's got it made
 just remember that
 it's a grand illusion
 and deep inside we're all the same"
"We made the grade and still we wonder who the hell we are."

This version on YouTube presents the lyrics.



by R.E.M

Just ’cause it’s about clearing your head and I love R.E.M.


Run, Run, Run

by The Third Rail

Released as a 45 RPM single by Epic Records in 1967, this is a great song about the running around we do in life — and it’s still valid today.

Up in the morning at half past eight
You can't have your breakfast 'cause you'll be late
You tie your tie like a hangman's noose
Ain't no time to drink your juice
So you Run, Run, Run, Run

Listen to a digitized recording of the 45 on YouTube.


Anything Can Happen (from Marry Poppins)

Need some strength to get out there? I have the London Cast Recording and always enjoy it.

"Anything can happen if you let it."
"Stretch your mind beyond fantastic dreams are made of strong elastic."
Broaden your horizon. Open different doors.
"You won't know a challenge until you've met it."

Here’s a recording of it on YouTube.


Who I Was Born to Be

Sung by Susan Boyle

On a more serious but inspiring note, and especially if you’re thinking of travel to run away.

And so here am I
Open arms and ready to stand
I've got the world in my hands
And it feels like my turn to fly
Though I may not know the answers
I can finally say I am free
And if the questions led me here
Then I am who I was born to be

Here’s a recording on YouTube that contains the lyrics.


[That’s it for now. I’ll add more as I have time and am reminded of them. Feel free to suggest some.]