Roadtrip culture

The culture of car travel - from travel songs to road movies

Car travel enthusiasts know that travel is not only a great way to visit new places, but also a cultural phenomenon with its own values and fashions. During periods of popularity of car travel, the experience gained during such trips was sung in songs, described in books, shown in movies. This is how separate genres were formed: "travel novel", "road movie", "travel book".

"A lot of people don't think that travelling by car can become a source of inspiration - an unknown road, adventures, traveller relationships are a great palette for creativity. Ever since the popularity of car travel in the 1960s, artists inspired by travel began to create songs, films, and write on the subject. The work inspired by the road continues to this day, ”says Vaidas Klumbys, DFDS Communications Manager for the Baltic States.

The road in the songs

Thousands of road songs have been created, and the most popular tunes have not changed for decades. According to a list compiled by the American blog Insider, the most memorable songs about travel are characterized by their variety. One of the most energetic songs, often played at the beginning of the trip, is the song "Highway to hell" performed by the band "AC / DC". Behind her list is a slightly more dreamy, rhythmic Prince's song, "Little Red Corvette," which the traveller can feel as if driving a small, red convertible on the winding roads of the central United States. 2008 is not inferior to this classic either. Rascal Flatts' hit "Life is a highway" has been heard not only on everyone's radios, but also on the soundtrack of the film "Cars".

"Another piece of music reminiscent of car travel is John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads, written in 1971, when car travel only became popular and became a holiday entertainment for many families. Therefore, it was very easy for travellers to identify with this song. In addition, this song is now recognized as an official song of the state of West Virginia, ”reminds Vaidas Klumbys.

Travel in movies

The DFDS Communication Manager notes that the theme of car travel is often used in cinema as well, many action movies begin on the road. This genre of films became popular in the golden age of Hollywood, a period that coincided with the flourishing of U.S. road network infrastructure. One of the first films about car travel reached cinema screens as early as 1953. It was Hitchhiker directed by Ida Lupine and starring Edmond O’Brian.

According to the list of the best travel films created by the film evaluation blog Rotten Tomatoes, several masterpieces that have become travel classics are distinguished: the comedy Brothers Blues, directed by John Landis, created in 1980, recorded by the biggest music stars of the time, and 1969 m. Delhi Hopper's Careless Traveller was awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.

Travel films are appreciated not only by spectators but also by film professionals. 2019 The Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly, about a concert artist travelling by car on U.S. state roads won as many as 3 Oscars: for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.

Roadtrip books

The theme of travel by car is very suitable for books due to the many possible twists and turns of the plot: events, adventures and complex relationships between travellers. One of the first literary works on the subject is the 1924 work by F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby. The book "Rolling Spam Cruise" was published. It’s a short story about the author and his wife’s journey off the southeastern coast of the United States, first published in an amateur magazine and later reaching book readers in book format. However, the best-known and most read book about travelling by car on the road in 1957. by Jack Kerouac. The book tells the story of a friends’ journey through the United States and is full of jazz and poetry.

The Michelin travel guide, which ranks the best restaurants in the country these days, has an unexpected and interesting history, but this publication was completely different in its first year of existence. The Michelin tire company was founded in 1889, but at that time there was almost no demand for car tires, as there were only a few cars on the roads. The Michelin brothers, thinking of encouraging people to ride and use the tires they sell, released a travel guide that included hotels, gas stations, instructions on how to change vehicle tires, and roadside restaurants worthy of travellers’ attention, which were originally rated only one star. Over time, this guide became very popular, the brothers began selling it, and the restaurant rating system became more subtle. Restaurants are now rated in a three-star system, which means: one - the restaurant's cuisine is one of the best of its kind, two - a great cuisine worth deviating from its route, three - the food in this restaurant is worth the trip.

“Various works create a culture of car travel. The adventures experienced during the trip, the places seen, the people I know inspire artists to create. The journeys and experiences they describe can be enjoyed by many generations. We see that the travel culture has been revived, and travellers are increasingly embarking on a holiday adventure in their own car, ” says Vaidas Klumbys, DFDS Communications Manager for the Baltic States.


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