Many adventurers carry with them their personal stereos, iPod or MP3 players. They do this for many reasons - to keep them motivated when the going gets tough; to remind them of home; to keep them sane! The Adventurers in our display have created these exclusive playlists for you to listen to and picture their epic journeys...
What music inspires you on your travels? We would love to hear from you! Head over to our Tales of Adventure page and get in touch.
"Certain tracks didn't really have specific meaning to me but some of my favourite albums on the Americas expedition were these:
John Mayer - Continuum
Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
Audioslave - Audioslave
Creed - Greatest Hits
"We carried a Walkman in the panniers for making recordings for the BBC but we couldn’t afford the space to carry audio tapes to listen to music. Our music came from our heads or the places we travelled through. The most stunning and memorable music was the music of nature – the birds, wind, trees, insects and animals. The most constant music was the metal whirl of the chain on the cogs, the click of the gear changers and swish of the tyres on the roads and sand tracks."
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run This song was a great inspiration to me to change direction in my life when I felt unsatisfied as a corporate executive. It is my favourite song ever, which I played hundreds of times in the years leading up to the journey. I used to sing it often on the bike.
Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl I mention this song early on in the book of the expedition, Discovery Road. It brings back memories of my lovely girlfriend, Cassie, whom I split up with in order to be free to undertake this journey. It was playing in the car on the night I decided that I needed to breakaway and have this adventure.
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road This is such an emotional song for me. One morning when we were exhausted in Tanzania, having just cycled across Mikumi National Park, amongst the wild animals, we heard this and other Elton John songs in a café in a tiny town and it made it hard to drag our tired muscles away from the music, out of the chair and onto the bikes.
Simon and Garfunkel - Homeward Bound I sang this many times every day as I cycled as a kind of meditation. It has a simple lyric that evokes a great story of loneliness, travel and discovery, and is easy to sing. Although I didn’t ever want to stop and head home we were generally aiming to make it hime.
JT - Kanda Bongo Man This guy was just huge throughout Africa in the early 90’s. We couldn’t escape him. Every little roadside shop and bar blasted out his music. This incredible sound was the soundtrack to our journey across Africa. The young African men had this fabulous way of dancing to the fast beat music – they hardly moved, they swayed and made only slight movements of their hips or shoulders – it really worked.
Beth Carvalho - Meu Guri The haunting voice of Beth Carvalho is the sound of South America to me. It is so romantic and sad. We heard her music often as we crossed Brazil.
Bruce Springsteen - Drive All Night It takes me back to those days of long, long roads ahead, cycling in the dark through forests, missing loved ones and feeling very far from home.
In one of our heading images to this page, you can see Kate sat next to her ipod which took her through her journey. It is now part of the Adventurers display. Her favourite tunes were:
Gnarls Barkley: Crazy Became the Carbon Cycle theme tune. The opening duh, duh, duh beats and strong, fast rhythm unfailingly inspired faster pedalling (I still get an adrenalin rush when I hear it) and the lyrics are uncannily relevant for a slightly mad trip, cycling through big open deserts and over high mountain paces, on a bit of a mission.....
REM: I've been high The feel of this song captures, for me, some of the sheer joy of being on the road in the mountains; huge spaces, a certain sort of freedom, physical aliveness and tons of beauty.
Norah Jones: The long way home I love the 'on the road' feel and the slightly sheepish, apologetic-and-yet-not-apologetic lyrics about the impact on others of being away for big chunks of time. And the lines about money are spot on. Somehow, trip costs always escalate so that you might as well be throwing sack loads of notes overboard; but of course, you'd do it anyway.
'Money's just something you throw
Off the back of a train
Got a handful of lightning
A hat full of rain...'
KT Tunstall: Other side of the world / Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
Impossible not to sing along with 'You're or or or or ORRRRR the other side of the worrrrrld' or, occasionally, to wonder about the answer to her
'And can you still love me
When you can't see me anymore?'
The rhythms are fantastically speed-inducing too of course. I once got an eye wateringly, unbelievably immense speeding fine in Norway, driving on the (I thought empty) Arctic Highway to KT Tunstall cd's. I blame her entirely.
They Might be Giants: Istanbul (Not Constantinople) This is my favourite dance song ever and it works great as a biking tune too. Just love the bonkers lyrics and overwhelming exuberance of the whole thing.
Aswad: Shine However clichéd , when you feel like you are indeed 'stretching your sinews to the bone' it's good to be reminded, and oh so cheerfully, of this kind of sentiment: When they said I'd never make it, I found strength from within'
Shooglenifty: Carboni's Farewell I've seen this fabulously mad Scottish band live in various venues, including Knoydart and Stornoway. This song is a bit of a breather amongst the faster paced ones, heartbreakingly beautiful and, of course, conjures up the Scottish mountains I've loved all my life.
Monty Norman: James Bond theme Picture the scene. Lone cyclist grinding along an apparently unending stretch of tedious road in blasting heat, riding slower and slower and feeling a tad sorry for self. Puts this song on - and suddenly the slog is transformed into a thrilling mission, and sense of humour and perspective is duly restored! This is also the transformation we have to make socially: from a grudging resistance to tackling climate change (oh no, I have to change my light bulbs, how unreasonable) to taking on the urgent need for sustainable, climate-friendly, one-planet lives as a challenging, adventurous, life-enhancing journey.
Road to Kashgar - Orchid Ensemble
This piece of music reminds me of the desert and of the huge mountains in the distance - too big to really get their scale. It reminds me of the long, dry, dusty road, and of the smiles of the Kazakh people and families that we stayed with.
But in general I don't really enjoy music that much when I'm away in the wilds / in a far-flung adventure because it distracts me from the raw experience of the place. I love to hear the sounds of all that I'm passing through, and never listen to music whilst cycling. In the tent I like to hear the wind, the breeze, the sounds of the earth and the place I'm in, so also never really listen to music. The only time I have listened to and appreciated music whilst on an adventure was in the middle of the Greenland icecap after days and days on the ice, to have a bit of 'quiet' time to myself for about 10 minutes in the evening without need for conversation with my tent mates - almost a bit of peaceful meditation.
The songs which kept Ewan and Charley company as they chased shadows across the world on their Long Way Round:
2 + 2 = 5 - Radiohead
The Scientist - Coldplay
Mr Writer - Stereophonics
Tender - Blur
Curse Curse Curse - Singapore Sling
Dissolved Girl - Massive Attack
High As The Ceiling - Stereophonics
Panic Attack - 50Hz
Let's Hear It For God - Headland
Just A Ride - Jem
Coffee And TV - Blur
Crackwire - Gear
Mongolian 3 Vox Master - Rupert Gregson Williams
Elemental - Tears For Fears
Everywhen - Massive Attack