When you think of travel and music, what comes to mind? Many people may think of The Sound of Music, Beethoven, or Mozart. However, each of us has our own soundtrack that plays in the background of our lives.
Sometimes one of those melodies becomes a featured track during a pivotal moment in the plot of our lives. We may not notice the music but it’s always playing. As I thought about the songs on my travel and music journey, I was surprised what was on my life’s soundtrack.
I’ve shared some personal travel confessions before. Consider this another one as there will be some songs on this list that may shock you. There are also things you never knew.
Thanks to Erik for sharing his travel and music list and asking me to share mine. Here’s a closer look at the travel soundtrack of my life.
The travel and music soundtrack of my life
Even if you aren’t a fan of music, there always one song that you remember vividly, bringing you back to a place or moment. You experience it again as the words and music play. The emotions play on your heart in tune with the melody in your head.
Music has the power to connect spirit, emotions, and experiences together to create powerful memories in our lives.
As I look back on my travel experiences, these songs symbolize those moments in my life. Some of these songs will surprise you – both the music and the memories.
My first road trip and cassette tape
When I was in middle school, I took two big road trips – the first real road trips with the family. One trip took us from South Carolina to Maine. On that trip, I remember driving through northern New York, a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and listening to Billy Joel songs.
However, it was my trip to Chicago where songs became part of my personal soundtrack. On this trip, I saw the Chicago Cubs play in Wrigley Field and listened to the first cassette tape I ever bought (actually, my mom bought it for me) – Billy Ocean’s Tear Down These Walls.
I remember reading the inside liner and all the words of the songs over and over. I learned Billy Ocean was from Trinidad and Tobago – probably the most famous person from that country. I had no idea where that was but I listened to his tape, heard Calypso music for the first time, and enjoyed the most popular song from that tape “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.”
How many people would have thought Billy Ocean would be the opening soundtrack to my travel and music story?
Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean
The only girl I ever dated in high school
When I was in high school, I was a shy, quiet, sensitive kid who had high standards and low confidence. I had two girlfriends in high school – one lasted two days and the other didn’t even live in the same part of the state. However, it’s how we met that impacted me.
During my junior year, I was part of a group called Youth in Government. My friend McKenzie and I proposed a bill to change the legal driving age in the state of South Carolina. We were chosen to be part of a mock government week at the State Capitol in Columbia. So off we went – my first trip without my parents.
That week, we were assigned a lobbyist for our bill – Andrea. During the week, we hung out, talked, watched cartoons, and enjoyed being around each other. At the end of the week, we danced together to the song “The Dance” by Garth Brooks.
I don’t like country music but that one was special. Later that year, I took Andrea to my prom. To this day, the years have passed but we are still friends and keep in touch.
After reading more about the meaning of “The Dance”, it seems like the perfect song for a life of travel – taking chances, living for what you believe, and never regretting the choices you made even when those decisions don’t work out.
The Dance – Garth Brooks
My first international trip and radical new music
My first trip overseas was to the country of Estonia. I was there with my college church group as we visited a missionary and talked to people on the streets.
The year was 1995 and our group was taking the bus from Tallinn to Tartu. Unfortunately, our bus broke down and a few of us in the back were falling sleep due to a carbon monoxide leak. As we were stranded on the side of a ride in the middle of nowhere, we did what college kids loved to do – we brought out the music.
That year, there was some radical new Christian music – unlike anything ever heard. Forget gospel hymns, choirs, church music, and soft, easy listening church songs. This was 1995 – not today. And this was different than anything anyone had ever heard.
Regardless of how you feel about religion, the song you are about to hear is not the music you would expect from church people in 1995 (or any year). And definitely not on the side of a highway in Estonia rapping about a “tat…that wiggled around like marmalade jelly.”
Jesus Freak – dc Talk
The best summer I ever had
The year was 2004 and it was a busy summer. It was also the best summer of my life.
My unofficial start to summer kicked off with a month traveling around Europe – the first time I had been back since 1996. The trip was an emotional roller coaster. However, I found my purpose that summer and have been traveling ever since.
The rest of the summer, I hung out with friends, played softball, and fell in love with Lake Tahoe. That summer was filled with memories and places. It is so intimate and personal that I can’t share all that happened. However, there is one person that knows what that summer meant to me.
I wish every season of my life was like that summer (but not quite that busy). Throughout the summer, there was one CD I played over and over – Switchfoot. And there is one song that stirs my soul with strong memories and feelings that I want to have again.
Dare You To Move – Switchfoot
Close to home, music from a foreign land
A few years ago, I realized something really important about travel – I didn’t need to go far to experience the world.
In 2011, I went to the Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games and Festival. I’ve spent the day hanging out with Scottish Games professional athletes. I’ve learned about the history of some Scottish clans. And I’ve enjoyed some of my favorite music from a Celtic band.
Travel is a state of mind and attitude – whether close to home or halfway around the world, explore with an open mind and heart.
New or familiar places, Foreign and loved faces
In 1988, a new song came on the radio that blended piano, guitar, cello, and a raspy voiced singer. During my depressed teenage years, this was my anthem. Today, it’s one of my favorite songs of all time.
What does this have to do with travel?
Since 2004, this song has been my alarm clock. Whether I am at home or discovering a new city in a foreign country, this song wakes me up and starts my day. This song has traveled with me to almost every country I have visited.
For every trip that I take and new place that I see, Cinderella will join me.
Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone – Cinderella
Travel and music – the soundtrack of my life.
Do you love photos as well as music? Check out my amazing photo series on Yosemite in Winter to see one of the most beautiful places on earth covered in snow!
What is your favorite song from your travel experiences?
Filed Under: Traveling Thoughts