Supersonic: The Sounds of Travel
For centuries, humanity traveled by land and by sea, braving the elements and the unknown wilderness—all without the benefit of proper audio entertainment. Whether sailing the treacherous passage around Cape Horn or wagon-training it across the plains, we paved our own path in stoic silence, aside from maybe the occasional acoustic folk performance.
Today, through the wonders of modern technology, we’ve added faster and safer methods to our travel repertoire—and with those advances has come a quantum leap in accompanying listening options. The steady clop-clop-clop of the horse-drawn carriage has been replaced by 'sick beats' from our favorite streaming music service. A solid upgrade. To celebrate this supersonic progress, we detail some of our favorite sound selections on all your highways and byways of travel.
Music: Goes without saying, right? Every road trip requires proper tuneage—whether it’s a cross-country trek or the otherwise mind-numbing commute to work. But context matters. An overnighter in Vegas, for instance, calls for a booty-shaking, house-breaking soundtrack—something upbeat. If you’re catching the 6 a.m. commuter train to work, however, you’ll probably want to keep it mellow but motivating. Bon Iver and Lusine are just a couple of artists that come to mind.
Podcasts: The explosion of both internet streaming services and cheap podcasting tools means there is now literally a podcast for everyone. Trust us: This is a good thing. You like sports? Movies? Competitive knitting? 1000% there’s a podcast for you (possibly several). Since tracking down and discovering new shows tends to be as much fun as listening to them, the dreary Greyhound bus home from college could actually translate into hours of enjoyment.
Audio book or articles: Dorothy Parker once said, “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” But we’re guessing Dotty never cracked open an audio book. Most of us who love curling up with a good novel cherish the visceral feel of a hardback in hand; the sweet satisfaction of flipping a page. But in a pinch, the audio book is a life-saver. Or get bite-size stories from a reader app: Fly from Austin-Bergstrom to LaGuardia to Heathrow while listening to articles from the New Yorker, Texas Monthly and the London Review of Books, to name a few. Blast some culture into your ears.
Live tunes: Some of the sweetest travel sounds you’ll hear are upon arrival—assuming you picked a prime landing spot. New Orleans, Barcelona, NYC, Montego Bay, Nashville, Berlin—list goes on. Live music sets a mood and creates memories that put your Facebook page to shame. And if nothing else, even the cheesiest Jimmy Buffet cover band in Key West gets your mind appropriately limber to luxuriate.
Ambient sounds: Traveling for work with a colleague straight out of Office Space central casting? Plunk your noise-canceling cans over your ears and find your zen with white noise or ambient sounds that transport you to a better place. Or share the vibe and bond with your teammate while listening together with your super compact POW Audio speaker. Whether it’s crashing waves on a beach or the interior of a drowsy coffee shop, the pitch-perfect sounds of a carefully selected YouTube video can go a long way—even the length of a trans-Atlantic flight—toward soothing the soul.