Sounds of Travel 12: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Here at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs.

Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the Comments and we’ll post it at the end of the series.

“King of the Road,” my first Sounds of Travel pick, evokes the spirit of independence. It’s an ode to the traveler who strikes out alone without a care in the world.

“500 Miles” by the Proclaimers, however, is a tribute to traveling with another. In my case, this travel often has been on foot– literally.

My husband is a walker. He has great big feet–size 14. When I met him when we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of the first things I noticed is his need to walk. He has a way of striking out into the world in great big strides wearing boots that could double as door stops. Not long after I met him, I was hoofing it to keep up.

One of our first forays into mega walk travel was on a camping trip into the Gila Wilderness in southern New Mexico.

“How far are we going, exactly?” I wanted to know when he suggested such a venture. It’s not the walking I mind– it’s the carrying stuff. “It won’t be that far,” he said. “By the way, there are a couple places we’ll have to cross a stream.”

“Okay, sure,” I said, not mentioning my phobia about wading through water–or rather, I did have a phobia about wading through water. After crossing the stream at least 14 times, I was cured.

That walk was just the beginning.

“How about a trek in Nepal?” he suggested as our first Christmas vacation while we were living in Singapore. “We’ll hire porters to carry our stuff.”

That trip took us from Jomsom to Pokhara. Two other couples went with us. It’s not the going up a mountain that hurts all that much if you go slowly. It’s the going down that is hell on knees.

Then it was the 9-day trek in Ladakh, India through the Markha Valley.

“There are pack-mules AND porters to carry stuff,” my husband said to entice me. The only time I whined a bit was when I noticed how dry my skin was becoming in the thin mountain air. “I don’t know if my skin can take much more of this,” I said, thinking that in another week I’d look one hundred.

“Why don’t you ask the women here what they do?” my husband said, casting his gaze towards a group of women in the distance who were wrestling with rubble and dirt while hoeing a field. He’s sympathetic that way.

Still, whenever he slips on those massive Red Wing boots of his to head out the door, calling for me to come with him, I know it will be an adventure–one that I wouldn’t be taking if I wasn’t willing to share the road.

The first time we heard “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” we were on a date seeing the movie “Bennie and Joon.” The song was the movie’s theme song and Johnny Depp was one of the stars.

When we got married, three weeks before we moved to Singapore, this song was the recessional at our wedding. For a traveling pair who walks, it seemed to fit. Whenever I hear the Proclaimers belt out this song in their jaunty, Scottish Irish fashion, I see images of all the places my husband and I have passed by from the simple walk in the neighborhood to the expanse of a spectacular vista.

One of my two most favorite images of the miles we’ve traveled is of my husband winding through the streets of the Old Quarter in Hanoi with our daughter perched on his shoulders high above the crowd when she was three. My other favorite image is of him strolling through the streets of Bangkok swinging our then 3 month-old son in his Graco car seat carrier like our son was a purse.

Yep, he’d walk 500 miles–and 500 more. Honestly, I would too.

Click here for previous Sounds of Travel.