Travel Tunes: The Overland Playlist

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!

Instagram             Website


A2A Expedition


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:

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

Instagram             Website


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.

Instagram             Website
 

The Vagabroads


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!

Instagram             Website              I Can I Will: Women Overlanding the World

The Road Chose Me


Dan Grec is a bit of a minimalist when it comes to travel. His first major excursion took him all the way from Alaska to Argentina in a nearly bone-stock Jeep TJ with nothing but a camera, some supplies, and a backpack. After returning from this journey, he was ready to go all out with a luxurious home on the road—a JK. By his standards, of course, this well-equipped Jeep with an Ursa Minor top was the equivalent of the Ritz -Carlton and serves as his current abode while traversing the entire exterior of the African continent. As you might expect, Dan’s playlist follows his minimalist attitude, but just how much so might surprise you.
“I have always found I use music to take me to another place—when I’m cleaning or at the gym, it helps me zone out. Often, when I hear a song that I loved at some prior time in my life I’m transported there—the memories come flooding back and I spend the next 30 minutes remembering that place and time in my life.
When I travel, I want to be present in the moment. I want to soak in every bone-jarring pothole, waving local, and the burning piles of trash.
For that reason, I have made a very conscious decision not to listen to music while on Expedition. I turn off the radio and put the window down, soaking in every experience.
Chances are I will never again explore the remote corners of Gabon or chat to the military in Nigeria, and I want to fully experience those moments, not be transported to another time and place with music.”
Since you won’t get to listen to Dan’s favorite tunes, be sure to at least check out his adventures on his website, or visit his Instagram page below.
Instagram             Website

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!


Chris Cordes


Compared to the other travelers on this list, I have very little to tell about myself. I’ve been overlanding for years, but only went full-time on the road last December after several life-changing events. Since then, I’ve roamed coast to coast across the states, driven the width of Australia, and spent countless hours exploring whatever dirt roads I can find. This has given me plenty of time to fall in love with different types of music, so my playlists tend to be as all over the place as I am. This is especially true of my travel tunes, which sample from indie and alternative, folk, funk, rap, rock, and a few remixes even. For long drives, I also like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on Audible, so I’ve included those below.
To follow my adventures, keep an eye on Expedition Portal’s home page, or check out my Instagram below.
If you’d rather just listen to the music I enjoy on the trail, take a look at my overland mixtape by clicking the cassette further down!

Scott Brady


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.

Instagram 

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Managing Editor.

One Comment

  • Christopher

    October 15th, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Some great playlists here, thanks for the fun article and for posting the playlists in Spotify. Anyone looking for good travel music should check out Lord Huron, especially their first two albums, Lonesome Dreams and Strange trails. Their latest, Vide Noir is also good.

    Reply

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