Posted by: AmbleAlong | June 18, 2012

Insider Travel Tip: Moving to the Beat of my iPod

It invariably happens every time I pack for a trip, prepare for an adventure, or find myself somewhere other than home…  A song (or songs) gets in my head and is from that moment on indelibly linked to where I am traveling and, subsequently, memories from that trip.

Case in point, Tim McGraw’s Refried Dreams and Pam Tillis’ Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life) were understandable signposts for a 1995 trip to Cancun, with both Mexican food and some Spanish on the docket.  As you’ve guessed, neither one was on an iPod back then, but rather a cassette tape…   Doesn’t make the memory or connection to that trip any less strong!

On the flip side, a 1998 vacation that found me in Paris gifted me with a continuously looped version of Ricky Martin’s La Copa de La Vida/The Cup Of Life stuck in my head courtesy of the World Cup being held while we were there.  No iPod that time either, but still a very vivid memory.

Sometimes the music still shows up, even when there was no plan or immediate reason as to why…  At a dance club in Florence we found the crowds crazy about singing karaoke – to the music from Grease!  Chalk up a badly performed Hopelessly Devoted To You into the annals from Italy.  (Now this particular memory I would happily cleanse from my mind, but I have to say it was fascinating that a 20+ year old movie had spawned such a competitive spirit among those participating.)

Though the above examples are from personal travel, now and again it happens with business travel as well.  This week, for instance, I just traveled for business to New York City.  I love everything about visiting there – the pace, the food, the architecture.  The song that kept me company this time was The Wanted’s I’m Glad You Came.  I could probably blame that on the catchy tune or some pre-Olympics coverage of gymnastics or track and field, but I just plain love the song and am not sorry it connects me to New York!

Even though I have not yet been able to figure out how to physically capture songs in my scrapbook (a list, lyrics written across the page, a recordable card?), it always amazes me how intricately music has woven itself into the tapestry of my travels.  With just a small snippet on the radio or by hearing one of these favorites on my iPod, I am immediately returned to a place and time for a few short minutes.  And as for future trips, I always know the music will find me one way or another…

Happy traveling!




  1. When I was in Munich in 1999, Mambo No. 5 was everywhere. I couldn’t escape it. So I bought the CD, so that I could take it home with me. Now when I play it I’m transported back to one memory or another. Conversely, when I think about Munich I start to hear “1, 2, 3 4 5, everybody in the car so come on let’s ride…”

  2. I definitely agree — a song can take me back to specific times/places just as much as a smell can take me back to my grandma’s house when I was a child — such powerful sensory memories!


  3. Very well said! I absolutely love the nostalgia of listening to songs that remind me of specific seasons, places, people–music is so amazing like that!

    Courtney Hosny

  4. Music is an important part of life, and anything that can make traveling for business a better experience is OK by me!

  5. Every time I listen to Shania Twain, it bring me back to the emotion of the first time I meet my actual wife. That day, She gave me a CD of Shania. There is something magic in music, no doubt. Thanks a lot.

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  7. So true. Whenever I listen to Spoon, it takes me back to when I was traveling in Germany in 2008. I listened to them to help me climb a pretty steep hill – 10th century church ruins were at the top, so I’m especially glad I had the musical motivation to make it up there!

  8. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Connie

  9. For me, a simple word or phrase can spark a song at any moment. Even a smell of food or sound. My mind is so full of so much music it’s a jukebox, of sorts. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post.

  10. So very true, the soundtracks of our lives are so much a part of our memories.

  11. Love the post concept and the scrapbooking conundrum! I find it amazing how, even if its been years or decades since you were last there, a song can transport you right back to a place – sights, smells, all senses fully reawakened.

  12. I’m Glad You Came is a great track for NY, great choice, and great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. I love how songs are connected to memories. You just gave me an idea, what about a travel playlist named after a place?

    • LOVE that idea! Let’s make it happen!

      • It could be our little project seriously 🙂

  14. Absolutely. Mana always takes me back to Guatemala!!! Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  15. Your blog header is very nice 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words! I took this photo on our honeymoon to Positano, Italy. Everything in that city is very photogenic! :O)

  16. Spot on! I’m a frequent traveler and couldn’t relate more to this post!

  17. […] more: Insider Travel Tip: Moving to the Beat of my iPod « AmbleAlong Comments […]

  18. Great post! Music and smells transport me back the most. Sadly my memories haven’t been blessed with great music e.g. Livin’ on a Prayer, Bon Jovi reminds me of a year spent in Israel picking tomatoes! I’d much rather it was a Nina Simone track for example! Looking forward to reading more about your travels

  19. Nice Article

  20. Great post! I am definitely that way with music: certain songs carry such powerful memories for me, and I’m sure that will happen when I leave to study abroad soon. Thanks for the follow! Looking forward to reading through your travel stories and absorbing some wisdom!

  21. I agree with this. Music has a way of embedding itself into your memories, making it a piece of the puzzle when the moment is far long gone. I have yet to experience music with traveling but I have, for countless of times, associated music with a particular emotion and situation in my life. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  22. Interesting!

  23. That is very very true. Every trip I’ve had, I’ve associated it with an album. Great times. Thanks for this! =] Love it

  24. Reblogged this on WELCOME.

  25. I couldn’t agree more! There’s Snow Patrol’s Dark Roman Wine that reminds me of my holiday on Crete; there’s Nelly Furtado and James Morrison’s Broken Strings that takes me back to a crazy week in Ireland and Coldplay’s When I Ruled The World that will be forever associated with roadtripping in Israel. It really does seem that every trip of mine also has a theme song 🙂

  26. When I lived in Spain (1999/2000) Tom Jones’ Sex Bomb was all over. Whenever I think of that song I have to smile. Who knew why that song made it there?

  27. I love the connections with music that we form in our lives. Thanks for sharing yours and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  28. Agree, when music and memories collide. And there I go again, reminiscing what it’s like ..before… 😀

  29. Truly beautiful photos.

  30. Wow it’s great blog

  31. I completely agree with you – there is always one song that reminds me of a trip or of a holiday, and brings back good memories every time I hear it again.

  32. I love this!

    I have a vivid memory of a bus trip from Ha Long Bay to Ha Noi. By way of introducing myself to the couple in the seat in front of me on the tour bus I asked him to play me a song that had meaning to him, from his country, and I’d trade him for one of mine. We switched i-pods. He played me The Streets of New York (yep I’ll find any excuse to talk to Irish people) and I played them a song my childhood friends band recorded. I can remember what I was thinking on that bus trip, that I’d just found out my uncle had passed away, and green stream of the rice paddy’s out the window.

    I can’t wait to meet fellow travelers and bond through music. I have a double earphone jack packed already.

  33. great site, i like it. greetings.

  34. Viva la Vida by Coldplay always takes me back to my travels in Southeast Asia. I was starting a tour to Cambodia and on the first night 5 of us who had never met before sat in a bar on Khao San Road and sung along with the guitarist at the start of what would be an amazing night and an even more amazing, life changing experience in Cambodia with a group of people who would become close friends of mine.

    That song is now my travel anthem

  35. Yes music is an entwined part of life – the beat that accompanies our travels and work and rest… a blessing

  36. Great post. I also have a “soundtrack” for all of my travels as well as specific periods of time in my life. I’ve captured such memories on my blog. For some reason, even though some trips or periods remain very fuzzy in my memory, it’s the songs that jolt my memories.

    • My “theory in a nutshell” on this is basically that the song is shorthand for the trip – a short, sweet, and concise megabyte that stores easily as a key in your brain to unlock the memories and senses of travel…

  37. Noises (and songs especially) always take us back to a certain place. Where we first heard them, who we were with etc. Its because songs are easily ingrained in our brains (unlike, say shopping lists) because of rhythm and/or ryhme. The brain automatically ingrains the situation as well. Although why our brains have adapted to nostalgia instead of memory i dont know!

  38. Awesome blog. Congratulation as well as welcome on freshly pressed.

  39. Great post! ….Thank you so much for following my blog!

  40. I love traveling and I love traveling with my iPod!! Thanks for sharing your great blog. Where will you go to next?

    • Going to northern Italy in August! Venice and Lake Como…

  41. …and happy travelling with music :)))))))

  42. Every holiday I went on as a kid had this exact same issue, now I find myself exasperated as I desperately try to remember what the name of “that song that was always played in Turkey but probably came out in the UK 3 years ago” was.

    At least Brittany will always have Eithel 65 with “Blue”.

  43. very nice:)
    something to your future new System on iPod is ;

  44. When in South Africa just prior to the World Cup in 2010, a bunch of African pride songs came out – as well as the Edward Maya song “Stereo Love.” This song was playing on the radio while abroad but no one knew what it was called – nor could I remember any of the worlds, the only part I had remembered was the accordian sound! Fast forward a year and a half, I first heard the song in my friend’s car – when I began freaking out and texted a friend of mine that I had hung out with in South Africa that I had finally figured out what “that song” was!

  45. Our Europe trip in 2008 was full of horrible renditions of Madonna’s “Hung Up” with the lyrics “Time Goes By So Slowly” every time we were waiting for a train. What you’ll do to pass the time…

  46. I like bringing my camcorder on my trips. Before I turn it on, I’m already thinking about the song that I’m going to use to dub in my video. Then when I play the video back in the hotel, I hear the music in my head. From then on, the music brings me back to the places I’ve filmed whenever they play on the radio.

    • Hi yp2m! Love this idea, and what a smart way to incorporate music…

  47. Blogged about this “phenomenon” too! 🙂 Songs always have a way of bringing back memories of amazing travels, people and places!

    Ah…the power of music!

  48. I went to Ireland right when Nellie Furtado’s “i’m Like a Bird” came out. It was all I heard. And now I associate it strictly with Dublin. 🙂

  49. What I love with travels accompanied by music is that it makes the whole experience a lot more soothing and enjoyable.

  50. Great post! I first heard the Pretenders’ “Talk of the Town” and “Echo Beach” by Martha and the Muffins while vacationing in London. Can’t hear either one today without recalling that trip.

  51. Thank you for sharing ,i like nice post

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