Have you ever heard a song on the radio, or at a restaurant, which immediately takes you back to a different time or place? Music has helped me through many travel adventures, and when I hear certain songs today, I am transported to a vivid memory of some other place.
My favorite memory song is “Africa” by the band Toto. I studied abroad in South Africa, and my classmates and I were super cheesy. We blasted “Africa” on the sound system of our heavy-duty safari truck when we went to the Kalahari desert for spring break. Embarrassing, yes. But that song will always remind me of rafting on the Orange River and getting stranded in some desert camp after our truck broke down.
When I was in Ghana, my friends and I often took the steamy hot, crowded mini-buses called trotros to various destinations around the country. On most of these trips, I stared out the window and listened to the Counting Crows on my ipod. Counting Crows may sound strange, especially considering the fact that West Africa has awesome music, but I guess I was grabbing on to something familiar in a place where nothing else was. Now when I hear “Rain King” or “Long December,” I remember buying fried plantains and peanuts from the window of the trotro while we were stopped at a traffic light.
In Vanuatu (a country in the South Pacific), my host family and I would walk to a nearby beach almost every Saturday afternoon. My younger “siblings” would play in the water and I would listen to Bedouin Soundclash and write letters on my thin air mail stationery. I actually can barely stand to listen to Bedouin Soundclash any more because that time of my life was really lonely and depressing and the music pulls me back there.
Even when I was younger, my family often played a soundtrack over and over again on various trips. I will forever associate Natalie Imbruglia with driving along the Oregon coastline because my dad bought “Torn” right before the trip and our rental car had a cd player. (Sorry Dad, I totally just outed you as a Natalie Imbruglia fan…)
What are your favorite music memories?