Tuesday Tunes: Songs for Wander
I have a love-hate relationship with travel.
The Love part, of course, is because I love to do it. I studied abroad in college and it broke open my world. I’ve flown around the country for friends’ weddings. I can find so much peace in a good long train ride, so much adrenaline and joy in the wheels-up moment on a plane. There's so much excitement in the unfamiliarity of a new place, and I think I’ll crave that excitement for my whole life.
The Hate part, then, is because travel is a commitment—and sometimes it feels like everyone has made that commitment except for me. According to Instagram, and all the thinkpieces about traveling now before I get “old” and have commitments, I need to be out there now, in the big wide world, exploring before real life really gets in the way. But I don’t always have the money or the time or the energy. Instead of jet-setting, I’m paying rent, and hovering over those Instagram photos, and wondering if I’ll ever be able to afford the life I dream about. If I’ll ever be able to put in the vacation time, pay for a ticket, and have the ability to just go.
Wrapped up in this love-hate relationship are two realities. The first is—I could travel. I could prioritize this hunger of mine. I could direct my income that way, structure my days off differently. It would take work, sure, but at the end of the day, I could do that work. I could get up and go the way I dream of.
The second reality? The second reality is, I can be where my feet are right now. I live in the most diverse neighborhood of the biggest city in America—there’s a world of options right in front of me, new streets and backroads to get myself lost in. I can have loukoumades for breakfast and soup dumplings for lunch and Mexican for dinner and any number of drinks for a nightcap. I can walk to the waterfront or take a train to the mountains. I can head home to my beloved hometown beach. Or, I can dream about what’s to come—what state, what country, what sights, what sounds.
Travel is a wonderful thing. So is this moment, at home. Here are five songs for when that gnawing feeling of wanderlust makes you appreciate your home just a little bit more.
“Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” // the Avett Brothers
The line “Decide what to be and go be it” has driven so much of my adult life, and feels particularly apt when I think about the woman I want to be, and where I want her to come to life.
“Green” // Ben Rector
Ah, the call of the PNW. I’ve never spent any time out there. To those of you who live out there, know there’s a city-loving East Coaster at heart who really wants to know what color green Ben is talking about.
“Flamenco Sketches” // Miles Davis
In college, I was asked to describe how this song made me feel, and my answer was: cobblestones, fog, a smoky bar, a foreign city, and a night way later than I intended it to be. This song feels like going there.
“Blowin’ in the Wind” // Bob Dylan
This track is a strange one for this playlist. On the one hand, it makes me want to feel free and rootless, like the answers I want are all Out There beyond me. On the other hand, it’s one of my favorite songs to enjoy from the comfort of my bedroom, with windows open and the sun going down. A rare song that can make me feel both ways.
“Clarity” // John Mayer
This song wraps change, worry, comfort, ease, fear, and wonder up in one for me; it holds all those feelings whether I’m in my own apartment or crossing state lines in a rented car. Maybe it’s the only reminder I need that no stage of life is supposed to last forever.
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