Music 2 Travel

Sitting in my little cubicle hovel, having not seen the sun since I walked out of the parking garage at 7:35 AM, I put the iPod on Shuffle and the first song that comes on is “Trapped by Love” by Manu Chao. If you haven’t heard of Manu Chao, do a quick search on iTunes and listen to a track or two. While they may not be my favorite band in the wrold, they were (and maybe still are) the soundtrack to every backpacker’s journey about 12 years ago.  
From Office Cubicle to Guest House Patio

20 seconds into the song and suddenly I’m thousands of miles away at a rustic but brightly colored youth hostel in South Africa. Or maybe it is a simple Guest House with a communal patio area in Laos.  I know I did have cares back at that time – was my malarial medicine really doing the job?…where was I going to sleep now that the guest house listed in Lonely Planet had closed down 6 months before?…had I split my money up into enough stashes in order to avoid being totally wiped out by a less than honest hostel mate?… –  but those cares seem so much lighter in retrospect. And so much more “alive”, if that makes any sense. 
Its amazing how quickly and completely the right music at the right moment can change your whole perspective. For a minute there I was almost believing that it is normal to spend a whole day indoors squinting at a spreadsheet. While it may be common and even expected, it doesn’t mean its good. 
On Sunday I randomly found myself listening to this video a friend posted on Facebook. 
Oohh…bad idea. Within 2 minutes I was searching for flights to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Bahia. Take a minute. Play the video. Close your eyes… and listen. Whether you’ve been to Brazil 100 times or if you’ve not gotten any closer than buying a pair of Havaianas at your local department store, don’t you just want to go? The rhythm is so up beat, the mixing of genres that come together so…I won’t say perfectly, I’ll say beautifully, the improvising of instruments (the credits at the end credit one musician for playing the “Box of Matches”) – all of it captures the essence of Brasil. I’m transported from my kitchen table to a friend’s house party in a small Brazilian town.  
Whether its Lebanese rap, Italian opera or Cuban salsa, if I get that right music I find myself traveling and I am reminded of what it is that makes me excited about life.

*Side Note: I’m reminded that I haven’t updated my “Flight Plan” playlist with new songs in quite a while. The songs on this list remind me of far away places and the joy of travel. If you have any favorites you think I should add to the list, please add a comment below or on my blog’s Facebook page.  I plan to do a lot more travel in 2013 and I’d love to have some new songs for the journey. 


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