Ten Travelling Tunes for Friday, February 8

I’ve been stuck at home for a while now, and I confess, I am longing for some kind of adventure. It doesn’t have to be a big one; a jaunt to Sydney and back will do be just fine, but a change of scene is definitely required for this little Ruby.

Our Editor-in-Chief, Miranda is off doing just that at the moment, enjoying a well earned break from hustle and bustle in Thailand. I’ve never been particularly keen to visit south-east Asia, but the photos that are bouncing back through Facebook are quickly turning me into a little green-eyed monster. So many things to see and do, and I’m stuck at home with my computer and a chip on my shoulder.

How best to comfort myself during times like these? With a playlist of tunes about scouting the Great Wide Yonder, of course!

This week’s list will take you across oceans, send you spiraling into location-based love affairs and leave you with the itchiest of feet.  All you have to do is take that first step to the mystical, musical land that resides After The Jump.

1. Going North – Missy Higgins

Written after the great Broome adventure that was filming Bran Nue Dae, Higgins sums up the importance of new horizons and the growth inherent in taking on the challenges and experiences that come with taking the road less travelled. It celebrates the concept of the journey, both the physical and the spiritual, with a lazy, relaxed sound that reinforces that taking your time is often the best policy for enjoying your jaunt.

2. Gypsies In The Palace – Jimmy Buffett

So, you’ve gone off on that trip you’ve been planning for months, and your adventure is going swimmingly! But what’s happening back at home? Is someone watching your place for you? Was that house-sitter such a good idea after all? You may never know, but this track will certainly cause a few sleepless nights if you let it, and not just at your end!

3. Foreign Land – Eskimo Joe

Being in a place far from home can be confronting, especially when tragedy strikes. The band’s front man, Kav Temperly explains that it was written during an emotionally draining visit to America in January 2008:

“It had just started snowing. It was a magical moment. That night we had to do this Australia gig, and when we got to it we found out that Heath Ledger had died. He’d died two blocks from where I was walking and at the time I was walking and it started snowing. He was from Perth and we were in New York, this big foreign city, and I felt this immense loneliness of this kid from my hometown dying by himself there.”

Sometimes there’s nothing left to say, because somebody has summed it all up perfectly.

4. Six Months in a Leaky Boat – Split Enz

This is easily one of my favourite Split Enz songs. Tim Finn’s chirpy falsetto, the adventurous and dangerous tale of the lyrics made light with hand claps and a jaunty instrumental, the reflection on the Antipodean challenge of remoteness from the rest of the world: what’s not to love? This is probably best enjoyed after a couple of drinks, belted at the top of your lungs. It’s the perfect soundtrack for those nights where you accidentally let out your inner backpacker.

5. Petrov, Yelyena And Me – Flight of the Conchords

Another New Zealand band, only this time there are some significantly dodgy Russian accents involved. Turning the worst case travelling scenario into a dose of comic cannibalism might have been a challenge for some, but Bret McKenzie manages to pull it off… somehow!

But it does make you wonder: how did three stranded Soviets get their hands on a Rolling Stones record?

6. Have Love, Will Travel – The Basics

I have great love for The Basics. It may even surpass my love of their drummer’s little side project. Their retro-pop-rock makes me incredibly happy, although not nearly as happy as the thought that if I can just get them to love me, they might come and visit. That would be lovely!

7. Love Letter – The Gadflys

The long-distance relationship is probably the most dreaded part of any traveller’s lifestyle. But hey, you can’t always take your lover with you. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

These days, it’s not so hard to keep in touch, what with Facebook and Twitter and ALL OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA at our fingertips (as long as you have signal).

But some of us still long for the days of yore when the only way you could contact your beloved was via the written (and posted) word. This song not only sums up beautifully the sentiment that comes through when the time between responses is a little longer than we are accustomed to today, but also the beauty inherent in a clumsily written letter. The mixture of frustrated daily reflections, coupled with the heartfelt sentiment and longing of the sender is something that can easily get lost in the flurry of pokes and emails and tweets, but is certainly something worth keeping.

8. I Could Die Looking At You – Jordie Lane

Or maybe your travelling heart is one of fleeting love. Perhaps you simply let your emotions take you by the throat and turn you into a pulp, knowing that it’s okay, because in a couple of days you’ll be flying back home to the place you call home, and if you follow your heart, you’ll have a few more memories to comfort you in your everyday existence. Maybe one day you’ll go back to the mysterious stranger who intrigued you, and you’ll be together forever.

Whichever way your love goes, a foreign love-affair can be a delicious experience, and one that is sure to bring a soft smile to the lips of both parties for many years to come.

Or you could push all that stuff to the side and just appreciate how amazing Jordie Lane is. Excuse me as I go a little bit gooey.

9. Every Fucking City – Katy Steele

Remember how I keep putting Paul Kelly songs in my lists because there’s always one that’s appropriate to my theme of the week? Yep. This is another one of his, covered here by the delightful Katy Steele for the triple j Before Too Long concert.

This track is certainly an interesting one, documenting the end of a relationship in the middle of a European tour, and the resulting disillusion with the whole experience.

Funnily enough, Paul Kelly wrote this on a European tour. It immediately became a crowd favourite, and was requested by someone almost every night , meaning that on that trip every fucking city did sound the same.

10. Three Down – The Waifs

Travelling can really take it out of you, especially if you’re doing it for a living. Eventually, you’re just looking for an excuse to give up and go home. The Waifs are well-accustomed to that feeling, having spent years touring the US folk and country circuit. This jaunty little track sums up the feeling across three different situations, proving that sometimes life on the road is sometimes ain’t all its cracked up to be.

Where have you been and what tracks got you there? What songs and albums take you on a trip without even leaving your lounge room? Let us know in comments, on Twitter and Facebook!

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