Moving and living abroad brings up a whole range of emotions. This playlist captures those moments from the initial move, to thinking “what have I done”, to absolutely loving your new life.
I’ll warn you, I’m a bit of an indie music lover, so most of these songs lean in that direction.
Enjoy and let me know what songs you’d add to the list in the comments section! 🙂


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The Weight of Lies – The Avett Brothers

For when you think of moving abroad to escape something. This song will make you take a step back and think about your decision.

Fave lyrics:

When you run make sure you run
To something and not away from ’cause
Lies don’t need an aeroplane to chase you anywhere

Sleep On The Floor – The Lumineers

For when you have that feeling that you need to just escape to find yourself.

Fave lyrics:
Take a withdrawal slip, take all of your savings out
‘Cause if we don’t leave this town
We might never make it out
I was not born to drown, baby come on


Mykonos – Fleet Foxes

This song is beautiful. Like crazy beautiful. It is perfect for those times when you are thinking of just running away from at all but second guessing yourself and maybe even feeling a bit guilty about it. This song will make you realize you should go for it.

Fave lyrics:

And you will go to Mykonos
With a vision of a gentle coast
And a sun to maybe dissipate
Shadows of the mess you made


Renegades – X Ambassador

For when you are ready to leave and so excited or when you just arrive in a new country and the whole world seems to be in front of you

Fave lyrics:

It’s our time to make a move
It’s our time to make amends
It’s our time to break the rules
Let’s begin…


Chicago – Sufjan Stevens

One of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics of this one perfectly reflect that feeling of being drawn to a particular place and the need to go find it. Once you arrive it changes you and makes you into someone you had never known before.

Fave lyrics:

If I was crying
In the van, with my friend
It was for freedom
From myself and from the land


Holocene- Bon Iver

My absolute favorite Bon Iver song, and fun fact, it’s the song I always listen to while taking off or landing from a flight. Anyone else have a go to take off and landing song or am I just a weirdo? This song is the definition of melancholy. To me, it is about realizing how insignificant your life is in the span of the world, but reminiscing on the points of your life really matter in the end while looking at a view that changes your perspective on life.

Fave lyrics:

… and at once I knew I was not magnificent
High above the highway aisle
(Jagged vacance, thick with ice)
I could see for miles, miles, miles


Kreuzberg- Bloc Party

Totally captures that feeling of being young in a new city and searching for something (or someone) to hold onto

Fave lyrics:

There is a wall that runs right through me
Just like the city, I will never be joined
What is this love? Why can I never hold it?
Did it really run out in the strangers’ bedrooms?


Adelaide- Ben Folds

Gotta love Ben Folds and his lyric writing ability. With Adelaide, he makes me think maybe it would be a good idea to move to a little city Australia. This song captures that feeling of moving wherever you want because you just feel like it

Fave lyrics:

Pack the bags
And catch a flight
And you can kiss my ass goodbye
I’m in Adelaide


Rivers and Roads- The Head and The Heart

This song talks about that period in your life when nothing is the same anymore because everyone starts going their separate ways and how bittersweet that can be.

Fave lyrics:

Been talkin’ ’bout the way things change
And my family lives in a different state
If you don’t know what to make of this
Then we will not relate


Little Wanderer- Death Cab For Cutie

Perfect representation of all that is expat life and doing the whole long distance relationship thing. I can relate so well to this song, which makes it my favorite on their newest album.

Fave lyrics:

Always fall asleep when you’re waking
I count the hours on my hands
Doing the math to the time zone you’re at
Is an unseen part of the plan


From Finner- Of Monsters and Men

For that moment when you realize maybe you’re always going to be a little homesick, but you’re also loving every second of your new life

Fave lyrics:

And we are far, far from home but we’re so happy.
Far from home, all alone but we’re so happy.


World At Large – Modest Mouse

Let’s end this list on a happy note. Well, the lyrics of this one aren’t exactly happy, but, hey at least the tone is upbeat! To me, this song is about not really knowing yourself or being content yet so you just keep wandering in search of something. After all, I think that’s what most expats end up doing.

Fave lyrics:

I like songs about drifters – books about the same.
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane.
Walked on off to another spot.
I still haven’t gotten anywhere that I want.


I hope you enjoyed this list and don’t forget to comment on your fave expat songs. 🙂




    • Ohhh good song that always makes me smile when it starts (as a good take off song should do) 🙂 Happy to know I’m not alone in having a go-to take off song!

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