We’ve all been there… you bravely booked a train ticket that will take you from A to B in only 9 hours … or even worse, your ultra low budget style is giving you 2 extra flight stops so you’re on the road for at least 23 hours. How are you going to survive all those hours? Read a book? Listen to a podcast? Exchange ideas with your fellow travelers? Write a piece? Look at your pictures? Or do nothing and listen to music. Undoubtedly one of my best investments for the trips I make has been a good headphones! No in-ear’s that only block out half of your surroundings, no, actually some proper headphones on your think tank! Those nice over-ear headphones that you put on and just totally shut you off from the world around you. I use the Bose QuietComfort 35 II silver. It’s a bit more expensive than in-ear’s, but it’s worth it! I love listening to my favourite music while I look out the window of the train with a blank mind, just watching the world passing by.

“turn up the volume close your eyes and let the music take over your soul”

What about the ultimate playlist?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it cannot be chiseled down. And so is your taste in music. I wouldn’t dare to refer to a particular playlist as ‘ultimate’. That’s why we shouldn’t talk about a certain genre, but about what defines a fine composition for you. In my previous travels I’ve tried everything to find my ultimate list. I subscribed to playlists via Spotify that pretended to be the ultimate list for the backpacker, for the traveler, for the laidback dude… for the… Well, lots of things. Mostly it’s a match, but nothing is more annoying than having to skip a few songs every now and then. Remember that blank mind? In that case, there’s only one option: create your own playlist.

“one of my best investments for the trips I make has been a good pair of headphones”

Even my own playlist isn’t carved in stone… it changes quite often. When I hear a song for the umpteenth time and it gets boring, it goes out without a hitch. A dynamic playlist, so to say. The main thing I pay attention to is that the playlist is varied. At the moment it contains some folk music (from Holland) which reminds me of Holland every now and then, it contains reggae, it contains upstream songs, slow songs…. really a lot of everything. This makes sure that I’m not just in 1 flow of music. In general I don’t have party music in it. Of course it’s taste bound, but when I see idyllic villages passing by, I’m not necessarily waiting for “gangnam style”. If you’re interested, my playlist for this trip is public on Spotify: the99backpacker.

Just your own playlist?

Definitely not. I’m still subscribed to some other people’s playlists. Some I find on Spotify, others are recommended to me and some playlists belong to friends. Occasionally I turn these on and I “steal” the music I like as input for my own playlist. I enabled the option “download” on my own playlist in Spotify. As soon as I add songs to the playlist, they will be downloaded to my phone. Nice and handy at times without wifi.

Audiobooks or podcasts by the way… what a godsend! I want to travel as light as possible. Every extra gram is one too many. That’s why I avoid as many physical books and magazines as possible. Instead I listen to more and more audiobooks these days. Okay, fair is fair, sometimes even I dive into a bookstore and buy a book when I know I’m going to chill out for a while in one spot. In other words, chilling at the beach from morning till night. A physical book is for me a guilty pleasure, secretly nice to have again. But I just don’t want to drag it around 🙂

If you’re interested, my playlist for this trip is public on Spotify: the99backpacker.

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