We’ve all got them, those treasured playlists we save for kicking up dust on our favorite backcountry trail, or hammering out long miles on some grand trip. They might be filled with throwback tunes from the ’70’s or a modern mashup of electric funk, but their rhythms are like a narration to our adventures, and the beats a constant companion throughout our journeys. These tracks never fail to spice up our lives, and after updating my own favorite mixtape last month, yes, a literal mixtape because my Excursion doesn’t have an auxiliary input, I became curious what some of our favorite overlanders were listening to out on the road. I sent them an email asking for their favorite tracks, and what I received kept me happily drumming my desk for the next few weeks. As you’d expect, it’s filled with a variety of flavors from all over the world and features songs, books, and podcasts that I think you’ll all enjoy. So without further adieu, here’s the travel tunes these folks are listening to in one enormous overland playlist.
Click the mixtapes below to listen to each overlander’s tracks!
Note from the Editor: These tracks, podcasts, and playlists are unfiltered and presented as is, and in no way reflect the personal views or opinions of Expedition Portal or it’s staff.
Live Work Wander
Jessica and Jorge left the safety of their normal lives back in 2012 when on a wild hair they decided to ditch the house and their two Subarus for a van and life on the road. For the next six years, minus a brief hiatus in 2017, they explored North America’s most beautiful scenery from the Utah desert to Canada’s enormous peaks, and back down to Mexico’s sun-baked sands. As you’d expect, many aspects of their lives and personalities changed through this process, including their vehicle and likely their taste in music, but here’s what the dynamic duo is listening to these days through the speakers of their Maltec Troopy. Click the tape below to check out their playlist, or follow the links below to check out their adventures!
If you read Expedition Portal’s front page with any regularity, you’ll know that the Bells are one of the coolest and most well-traveled families around. Graeme and Luisa left South Africa with their two children in tow several years ago, and have since traveled all over the world sleeping out of their enormous four-person roof tent. Yes, they seriously spent years sharing a tent with their two children. Well, at least until their recent renovation which turned their trusty Defender 130 into a live-in camper thanks to a new shell from Total Composites. Now, they’re refreshed with more space and comfort than ever before, and on the road through Europe for a new adventure. Of course, they’ve had plenty of time to refine their choices in music over the years and were kind enough to share their thoughts with us below.
- When the wife has her headphones on: Queens of the Stone Age
- When the son has control of the sound system: Interpol, Hendrix, The Smiths, Madness, Nirvana, The Pixies
- When the daughter controls the sound system (which is way too often): Black Pink, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Bouncy
- When I eventually regain control of the sound system: Seu Jorge playing Bowie from The Life Aquatic soundtrack, Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen, The Cure, Hendrix, Band of Gypsies, and whatever I fancy on the radio.
Podcasts and audiobooks make those very long, boring drives enjoyable and are a great way to kill time when waiting for ferries or in a border queue as well. For podcasts we listen to:
- The Joe Rogan Experience
- The CentreSteer Podcast
- The 4×4 Podcast
- Ted Talks
- The Trevor Noah Show
- Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
- Car Talk from NPR.
Click the tape below to check out their playlist, or follow the links below to see more of their adventures!
Lead family image by Scott Brown
Desk to Glory
Richard and Ashley need no introduction, but we’ll give them one anyway. These two Canadians have been inspiring us with their creativity and adventures since departing B.C. back in 2013. They sold their belongings, rented their condo, and hit the road for a South American adventure they’d never forget. Since then, they’ve been hopping all over the Americas, so whether they’re exploring backroads in Little Red, their 1990 Toyota pickup, or chasing trophy trucks in their 2008 Tundra, they never fail to keep us excited for what’s next. When I reached out to the couple to ask about their favorite tracks, Richard replied:
“We’ve been on a How I Built This kick as of late. The Lonely Planet episode was a favorite. While in South America we listened to every single Radio Lab podcast and found many other travelers who did the same. This just added to the number of things we had in common with the people we met on the road. Speaking of South America, listening to The Martian audiobook while crossing the desolate Bolivian desert on the Lagunas Route was an unforgettable experience. Lately, the Drake Essentials playlist has been on repeat when it comes to music as well. #becausecanada.”
Click the tape below to check out their Drake playlist, or follow the links below to check out their favorite audiobooks and podcasts!
Lead image by Jakob Schiller. Below left by Richard Giordano, Below right by Linhbergh.
If you’re not familiar with the Vagabroads, consider this a crash course. Sunny and Karin were successful businesswomen in Nashville living the good life as they say. When a series of obstacles turned their lives upside down a few years back, the two decided to take a hard look at what was truly important to them.
“Late night conversations spawned questions like: If we had six months to live, how would we want to spend that time? What would we regret not doing? What are we each proud of? What are we each capable of doing? What were we doing on our happiest days? What would we be willing to give up to have more of those days? What kind of people do we want to be? As a couple and as individuals, what do we really WANT?
It would be months before we could answer these questions fully and the answers are ever-evolving but the recurring themes in these discussions consistently involved: freedom, travel, adventure, challenging ourselves, healthy living, the pursuit of creative outlets, the ocean, the mountains, getting out of our comfort zones, and meaningful time with each other.”
This realization would lead them down a path to Central and South America, publishing their first book, and leading a charge for women overlanders that in many ways is changing the industry. Basically, they’re the real deal, and their playlist is almost as surprising and awesome as they are. Check it out by clicking on their mixtape below, then follow the links to learn more about their travels and book!
The Road Chose Me
Land Cruising Adventure
You probably wouldn’t recognize Karin or Coen from LCA on the street, but you’d definitely notice their Land Cruiser. This awesome couple has been traveling the world in their bright yellow troopy for the last fifteen years, and the stories and skills they’ve accumulated along the way are nothing short of staggering. You’ve probably read about many of them on our home page, from tails of crossing vast deserts and negotiating border crossings, to simple tips on how to make your own awning or keep your vehicle secure. These two have always had a knack for doing things their own way, and their music selection is no different, comprised of just six songs, one of which is from a fellow traveler and friend of theirs named Wim Keesmaat. That can be seen by following the link here.
To follow Land Cruising Adventure, check out their pages below, and click on the tape for their overland playlist!
- The Martian
- Jupiter’s Travels
- Travels with Charley
- Ready Player One
- Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
- The Aeronaut’s Windlass
Scott Brady probably doesn’t need an introduction, but he certainly deserves one. Besides founding Overland Journal and Expedition Portal over 11 years ago and helping kick-start the overland industry in North America, Scott has explored nearly every corner of the globe by vehicle and led expeditions on all seven continents. He is a skilled off-road driver, equally handy with a motorcycle, and an avid adventure seeker in all aspects of life. In many ways, his playlist echoes his personality, laid back, yet somehow hard hitting and driven. Have a listen below, and you’ll see what I mean.