- 1. Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver
- 2. The Night We Met – Lord Huron
- 3. Set the Fire to the Last Bar – Snow Patrol
- 4. A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton
- 5. Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
- 6. I lived – OneRepublic
- 7. Reckoning Song – Asaf Avidan
- 8. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
- 9. And We Danced – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
- 10. All I want – Kodaline
If you’ve ever traveled away from home, then you probably know that aching feeling you get when you come back. That gray colorless feeling as you slowly slip back into the routine of everyday life. You’re no longer that exotic foreign person, people are not that excited anymore to hear about life back in your country, and everyone you meet is basically a slightly different version of yourself. You’re home.
You know that constant disquieting feeling you get, where thoughts in your head keep reminding you that you have an entire planet to explore, yet you’re wasting your life away between four walls and a closet door full of memories? Well thanks to the linguist wizards down in Germany, we have two perfect words to explain it. Fernweh and Wanderlust. Literally translated, Fernweh means a distance-aching and Wanderlust means a lust for wandering.
During that time, I have found, based on personal experiences, that songs, as they do with almost every other problem in life, offer a great relief and way of coping. There’s something hard to explain about hearing your feelings sung by a popular person. Maybe it’s the need to be understood or maybe it’s just knowing that thousands of people around the world now relate to that same feeling and that you’re not alone in this. Therefore, as part of my social responsibility, I have put together a list of 10 songs for those suffering souls out there, waiting for the nearest chance to get back on the road.
Let’s start with those few days before you leave back home. That bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to everyone. The excitement to see your family and friends back home again, to tell them all about your experiences but also the dread of never seeing your foreign family and friends again.
1. Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver
“I am not the only traveler, who has not repaid his debt. I’ve been searching for a trail to follow again, take me back to the night we met. And then I can tell myself, what the hell I’m supposed to do. And then I can tell myself, not to ride along with you.”
The great thing about Lord Huron’s song is that it can work for many different situations. Of course, for me, I think it’s most suitable for an Erasmus/Exchange year abroad kind of situation, but you can use it however you like. So put your headphones on, lay back and enjoy the ride.
3. Set the Fire to the Last Bar – Snow Patrol
“I find the map and draw a straight line, over rivers, farms and state lines. The distance from A to where you’d Be, it’s only finger lengths that I see. I touch the place, where I’d find your face. My fingers in creases of distant dark places. ”
I’ve spent ages trying to figure out which part of this song to use as a quote underneath the video link, because every line in it is just on the spot. I should warn you though, side effects to hearing this song may include goose bumps and waterfalls.
4. A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton
“And I need you, and I miss you, and now I wonder. If I could fall into the sky, do you think time would pass me by? ‘Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles, if I could just see you tonight.”
How many of us who spent some time abroad would not walk a thousand miles to see their friends who are now probably scattered around the globe? I don’t think that number is high, and if you get that thought often enough, this song is for you.
5. Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
“Did I say that I need you? Did I say that I want you? If I didn’t, I’m a fool, you see, no one knows this more than me.”
Have you ever pondered upon all the things you could’ve said but you didn’t? Have you ever wished you could go back to tell your friends abroad how much you love them? Not just over text, but look them in the eye and tell them you appreciate their existence. This is the song for you.
6. I lived – OneRepublic
“Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say. I, I did it all. I, I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did, yeah, with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”
Have you ever looked back at all the crazy new things you did while you were away and wondered how you could have ever done it? Have you ever had that haunting fear that you’re wasting your life without doing anything else or that you’re merely existing instead of living? This song is for you.
7. Reckoning Song – Asaf Avidan
“One day baby, we’ll be old, oh baby, we’ll be old and think of all the stories that we could have told.”
Do you ever feel like you’re losing the motivation to go abroad again? Do you feel that spark you had when you first came back fading away? I think this song would be perfect for you. What better thought to get you on your feet that thinking that one day you will be old and wonder what you could have done and you didn’t.
8. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
“I don’t want the world to see me, ’cause I don’t think that they’d understand. When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.”
Probably the worst feeling about getting back home is realizing that none of your friends there know what you’ve been through. None of them had the same experiences or met the same people, none of them knows what it feels like to compress an entire lifetime in a couple of months or semesters. If you feel like nobody except the friends you made abroad understands how you feel, this is the song for you.
9. And We Danced – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
“And we danced, and we cried, and we laughed, and had a really really really good time. Take my hand, let’s have a blast and remember this moment for the rest of our lives.”
For those times when you start reminiscing about the night life and the clubbing and going crazy, staying up till the early hours of dawn, this song comes in handy. Most songs on this list have been on the gloomy side of music, but this one might turn your mood around when you need it, making you laugh with eyes red and full of tears.
10. All I want – Kodaline
“All I want is nothing more, to hear you knocking at my door, ’cause if I could see your face once more, I could die a happy man I’m sure. When you said your last goodbye, I died a little bit inside, I lay in tears in bed all night, alone without you by my side.”
Last but not least, after the roller coaster of feelings you have during the first months of your return, you would, unfortunately, reach a point of hopelessness. Don’t worry. You will come out of it, but during those times. You might doubt any of it was ever real, and you might think you’re just being over sensitive. For those times, this song would help you to not feel alone in this.
Hang on to your hope. Keep reviving that spark you had when you first came back and work hard so that you could one day have that experience again. Life is full of possibilities and the best is yet to come.
Written by Farah Kamal Zaghmout
Farah is 26 from Jordan, holds a master’s degree in German as a foreign language, published author, blogger, freelance translator and university lecturer.