I am a hardened and dedicated music fan!
I am never happier than when lounging at a festival in the sun or seeing live music in small venues. I also love to travel (I suspect I’m not alone). I’m in my happy place when exploring local markets, hiking trails and drinking strange beer in amazing countries.
Why Travel and Music?
The two fit together as if some divine creation looking to reward the human race, hand-selected two of the most enjoyable pleasures. Kind of like burger and fries! I travel nowhere without music swarming through my headphones; the tube to work, supermarket aisles or at home. Even as I sit here typing ferociously, the sweet voice of Blondie fills the warm Greek Island air like fireflies to a candle flame. I like the complete detachment from everyday life and ability to replace this with my own play list.
Some say I’m missing out on whats happening around me, but I say (are you ready for this folks), it puts a stride in my step and makes it easier to remember where I was at certain times in my life. Example: when I hear Pink Floyd, I drift back to a campsite in Patagonia, watching a sea of water swept up by heavy winds, blow across the waters surface. When I hear Portishead, it takes me back to Italy when I came out to my parents, and when I hear Coldplay (just for the record I am not a fan now), it reminds me of a border crossing from Argentina into Bolivia. So you see for me, music is a catalyst to remember times in my life.
When I hear those same grooves years later, pulsating through café speakers, it takes me back to another time and place. I may hear Blondie in a few years and think of sitting on my Greek balcony and smile sweetly.
When I lived in China and shopped in the Silk Market (if you’ve been, you’ll understand), I would crank up my headphones to avoid the onslaught of beckoning salesmen. They can be ferocious and I have a tendency to acknowledge everyone speaking to me, thus with a hand-selected playlist filling my eardrums, I could escape. The same in the Aswan bazaar, after a year of calling Egypt home, I was still harassed like the day I arrived. Music filled that gap, or at least my ears from keen salesmen looking to accost me and my wallet.
Long bus rides and music are the perfect combo. Before iPods and when facing a 20 hour bus ride, I would buy a 10 pack of AA batteries, slowly working my way through the lot until Bob Marley was singing at two paces slower than normal. Now iPods stay charged and I love it. No more packs of disks filling my pack and sadly, no more cheap CD’s to buy. I’m a sucker for cheaply ripped music. There is nothing better than putting on some incredible sounds on a long bus ride, and staring out the window at the changing scenery. Like I said, it is creating your own playlist to suit the environment, see where I’m going with this now?
That leads me to a question for you guys, the readers, but let I’ll set the scene. You’re travelling through India and all is well with the world. The temperature is perfect, people are smiling, kids are playing football, sweet aromas fill the air and you stumble upon a CD salesman. Your foot starts tapping and delicious music fills your ears. You ask for the name of the artist and consider buying it, cooking a nice Indian meal for your friends back home with throw cushions to sit on. Could this be your best idea ever? So my question is do you ever listen to the CD’s when you get them home?
Typically, I load them onto my iPod, listen once then tend to forget quickly. That isn’t to say that I won’t listen to the music again as everyone has bad music on their iPods, it needs to be there. All music has a specific time and place and when that time comes, and you have those killer sounds of an Asian monk chanting or whale noises, you will be the hit of the party.
I leave you with a memory which has stuck with me. I was waiting for a long bus ride to Istanbul from a place called Olympos, set inside an orange grove, near roman ruins and a hop skip and a jump from the beach. I was lying in a hammock and there was no one around. The staff were cleaning up and put on a Rebirth of Cool soundtrack at low volume. My feet sank into the raised edges of the hammock, softening and relaxing until they became irrelevant, my arms hung down the sides like deflated balloons and my head nestled sleepily into the confines of a warm space.
The music sent me off into a peaceful daydream and couldn’t have been more perfect. When I hear that same CD, it reminds me of lazy days in Turkey before an overnight bus ride.
Could that be perfection folks? I think so. Happy travelling.
Here is some travel music that I filmed on an island off the coast of Madagascar. Your welcome.
Also, here is another gem, my gift to you.