Songs to Get You Through the Bosnian Wilderness

We piled onto the bus headed to Zagreb on New Year’s Day.  I whispered a heartfelt goodbye to Sarajevo out the bus window with sadness in my heart.  We had only spent three full days in this beautiful city and it had found its way into my soul.  Needless to say, we weren’t looking forward to the nine-hour bus ride in front of us.  It was approximately 300 km to the Bosnia-Croatia border and it took 7 hours to get there.  We would pass a fortress, a massive waterfall and burned-out buildings that were being reclaimed by nature.  We would wind our way through valleys and down switchback roads into villages and towns through Bosnia and Herzegovina, on our way north-west to the Croatian border.  Dark rivers at the bottom of steep cliffs.  Beautiful Ottoman fortifications still standing over small towns.  Parents saying goodbye to their grown children at the bus stations, fathers carrying bags, mothers smothering them with hugs and kisses.  Darkness fell and through the lighted windows of homes, I peeked into the lives of ordinary Bosnians, eating dinner, talking with each other, laughing.  Not that different from us.  In the end, no matter how rich or how poor, how metropolitan or how rural, all any human ever wants is to belong and to be loved.

Here are just twelve songs that were on my playlist during that journey.  They seemed to resonate with me as we drove through this unexpected wilderness.  I didn’t choose them for their lyrical significance but their mood seemed the perfect backdrop to the lonely roads between the small clusters of civilization, as darkness fell and we entered into dramatic landscapes of Bosnia.

Sam Outlaw’s  Ghost Town

Adele’s Hello

Nathaniel Ratecliffe’s Howling at Nothing

Lumineers’ Ho Hey

Robert Plant’s Rainbow

 Florence and the Machine’s Cosmic Love

Tori Amos’s A Sorta Fairytale

Junip’s Far Away

X Ambassadors’ Renegade

You+Me’s You and Me

Train’s Give It All

José González’s Stay Alive

Of course, it takes a lot more than twelve songs to get you through a 9-hour bus ride.  But sometimes, the music you’re listening to plays like a soundtrack to life at that moment.  Do you have a playlist that echoes a particular country or road trip?

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