Drive and Listen

A Way to Fulfill Your Wanderlust


Screenshot from Drive and Listen website

Bonjour, mon ami!—Take a trip to Paris without leaving the comfort of your bedroom by visiting Drive and Listen.

Grace Fong

To me, one of the most exciting parts about going on vacation is when you first arrive at your destination’s airport. It’s been a long, seven-hour journey to Amsterdam, and you finally feel the plane’s slow descent. You were told to sleep on the plane to avoid jet lag, but instead you spent the entire time watching old 90’s movies—it’s not like the baby in the row behind you assisted in creating a serene environment anyway. After landing, you follow your fellow passengers to the luggage pickup and head outside to grab a taxi. It’s two in the morning and although your entire body seems to be in sleep mode, your eyes are bewitched by the unique city of Amsterdam. 

Without a doubt, riding a taxi to the cheap hotel you booked doesn’t sound as enticing as the activities you might’ve planned for your trip; however, there’s something so mesmerizing about the first look of a city as you ride through it— the culture, the architecture, the ambiance, the history, all imbued throughout the heart of the city create a scene that can be found only there.

When COVID-19 unexpectedly hit the world, Erkam Şeker, a Turkish graduate student, missed riding his car around his home city, Istanbul. In fact, he missed it so much that he even longingly reminisced about the traffic and road rage he partook in. He then realized that he wasn’t alone— thousands of others were also missing their home towns and feeling claustrophobic within their quarantine zones. So, during the spring of 2020, he created an ingenious app (and website): Drive and Listen. 

When I first discovered this website, I was in the middle of doing homework. Once again I took a “five minute break” after doing the first two problems of my Pre-Calculus homework. My thumb subconsciously brought me to a video on my explore page that promoted the website Drive and Listen. It looked intriguing so I decided to check it out; however, before I knew it, the sky had gone from a light blue hue to a prune-petered sky. For hours, I watched multiple cities, listened to radios in different languages, and laughed at multiple people falling off their bikes in a variety of cities.

This website isn’t just for people who miss their home cities; it’s also for people who miss the experience of traveling or even just riding around in a taxi. Drive and Listen gives viewers the POV of a car driving through different cities. No more going on Google World finding a picture of your house from ten years ago and navigating the laggy system all the way to your grandma’s house. Instead of the irritating routes you have to constantly press on Google Maps, Drive and Listen creates a virtual experience where viewers take in the exuberant lives of cities from all over the world. 

Drive and Listen is such a unique website because it bundles up the daily life, the culture, the aura of the city and displays it on screen for you. The website gives you a chance to compare what the rest of the world looks like to the city you’ve been contained in for most of your life. You can even see all the people from pre-Covid roaming the streets strolling through the city—how ancient! The website currently has dashcams of over 50 cities that you can choose from. They also offer a vast array of local radios for you to listen to in the city’s primary language. I never knew my Irish accent was a tiny bit skewed until I listened to Dublin’s local radio. If you want to enhance your “travel” experience, you can even turn on Street Noise to hear the harmony of wind breeze and car horns. 

Because of the unexpected global pandemic, traveling has been something that most people have been restricted to do. Although it’s not exactly the same experience as groggily standing in the humid heat as you travel on a coach bus tour of ancient castles, Drive and Listen gives viewers a mote of their beloved traveling experience back. 

This break, please don’t confine yourself to your hibernation zone to rewatch the 500 episode tv series you finished last year; instead, give yourself an authentic car ride through the vibrant cities from all over the world!