Thanks to Raul at I Live to Travel, I was recently tagged in a post that connects travel to music, to me, these are the melodies of the road. A post like this is right up my alley because I’m the type of person who lives for music. When it comes to traveling, I always make sure I have the perfect playlist for each occasion, whether it be a road trip or a plane ride.
For me, each trip I take seems to have its own theme song, or for longer trips, its own playlist, but unfortunately, this post is limited to only five songs. While it was very difficult to narrow my choices down, as the list is endless, I chose to pick the songs that bring me back to moments in my travels.
Here are my five choices and the moments they bring me back to:
In high school, I was a bit of a hippie, and I traveled around occasionally to see my favorite bands. Normally, it wasn’t very far from home, an hour north or south, but in the summer of 2003, I went a little bit further. With a few close friends, I trekked all the way up to Maine to see one of my favorite bands, Phish, for their It festival. We camped and listened to music all weekend long; it was an experience I will never forget.
Overall, it was a great weekend, but for some reason, I remember the drives up and down the most, and the one song we kept playing over and over again was this one. Now every time I hear this song, I’m immediately transported to the back seat of my friend’s car, somewhere between home and Maine, singing at the top of my lungs: young, free, and happy.
Neutral Milk Hotel
After a rough year, Lara and I headed to Europe to start 2010, and refresh and reboot while there. We were headed to Amsterdam at the end of our trip, and one of the attractions we were most excited to see was Anne Frank’s house. Before leaving, Lara introduced me to the band, Neutral Milk Hotel, whose In the Aeroplane Over the Sea album has continual references to the young girl.
While all of the songs on the album are great in their own way, this song really struck a cord with me during that time in my life. Prior to our trip, I had been feeling really down, I called it my mid-mid-life crisis, and the lyrics to this song really picked me up and brought me back to life. I can even remember sitting on the plane home, listening to this song and feeling happy and alive for the first time in months. I will never forget that moment.
“And one day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea. But for now we are young, let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see.”
This song will forever remind me of my time in Fiji. The girls and I decided to go banana boating in the afternoon, not realizing that at that time, the calm ocean of the morning would turn choppy. Even though I was the only one who properly knew how to swim, we figured we’d be fine if we just asked the driver to go slow. Unfortunately, this was not the case. All the way out in the Pacific Ocean, we left the safety of the wake and crashed into the water. While I was busy thinking of the sharks circling beneath me, I looked over to Caroline who was being buried by water. Knowing that she couldn’t swim and was terrified of the ocean, I realized the life jacket wasn’t enough of a safety net. I swam over to her and told her to do the bicycle to tread water, as I had been taught in swimming lessons as a child.
We got back onto the safety of the boat and headed back to shore for a few drinks. The more we drank, the funnier the situation in the ocean seemed, and we began to sing this song. We even requested it on the dance floor at our hotel later that night. By making light of a scary moment, we will forever have something to laugh about each time we get together.
After a summer of traveling with my cousin and friends from Ireland, being back in America was hard to deal with. Which is why, when they were discussing having a reunion one weekend in Ireland, I jumped at the opportunity to head over. That weekend, we spent a lot of time relieving the days and memories from New Zealand and Fiji, including the banana boat incident.
But, throughout my trip, this song seemed to follow us around, and since we didn’t have it at home, I fell in love with it. Now, anytime I hear it, I am brought back to a club in Dublin, surrounded by some of my favorite people, where we danced until I had to catch my plane back home.
This song will forever remind me of my time in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Michelle first played me the song while we were sitting on the beach overlooking the South China Sea. We sat there, sharing her headphones, and I knew right away that this was our trip’s theme song.
As the trip went on, we grew more and more obsessed with the song, and sang it wherever we went, as we felt it went along perfectly with our Southeast Asian summer escape. We even had our own fun jumping on the beds, singing and dancing along while getting ready in our hotel room. A few months later, the song came out in America, and now whenever it plays, I’m transported back to the beach in Nha Trang.