I often get my music taste from people whom I surround myself with. My cousin Patrick formed my early love of Reggae and “hippie” music, then my high school friends were all into classic rock and piano men like Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright, and Billy Joel. My mother raised me on U2, James Taylor, and Carole King. So I am big on classics. I respect music. There are a lot of people out there who know a heck of a lot more than I do about it and who are like my cousin and willing to spend thousands on concerts in one summer. I love concerts, but if I have to choose-I really like slipping my headphones on and walking around downtown Chicago or through the Art Institute of Chicago with my favorite bands instead. I had this friend out in San Diego who I wanted to spend time with before I left for my big RTW trip. She is a big music buff. All about jam bands and indie artists. I do not own a car, therefore I do not listen to the radio and so she was the one to introduce me to One Republic’s song “Good Life.” I’ve heard that the radio has over played this to no end, but in case you have not heard it…I suggest it. It is an altogether feel good song. Lucky for me, she introduced it to me right before this amazing adventure I was about to journey through all by my lonesome.
In this song, they paint these beautiful places all over the world starting with: London. Ah London! It is actually a really great song not just in general but for traveling too. The whistling in the background, along with this beat that makes you just jittery down through your knees and toes, until finally you do get up, and you begin to move or just start walking because you HAVE to. You just need out. You need to go. The anxiety has built and built and it is time. All the worries just completely melt away with this song. How frustrated I am at work or my career. The questions that are constantly cycling through my brain of: “Where am I going?” “What am I doing with myself?” “When can I travel next?” I listen to Ryan Tedder reminding me that:
“Please tell me what there is to complain about. When youre happy like a fool let it take you over. When everything is off you gotta take it in”
Every shitty thing happening right now, it really does not matter in the end. This song in fact forces me to feel the way I do when I am on my own traveling somewhere in this vast world of ours. This confidence that is indestructible. I am indestructible. The world is here for me. Asking me to please soak up every place, every piece of history, every social phenomenon or catastrophe. It is so important for me to obtain every single molecule of information my brain can hold. One evening my British friend Martin was talking with me and another friend of his over a beer in Sydney right after we met sometime. As we were talking mostly the basics (where you from, where you been, where you want to go), he suddenly asks me to give him some music of mine. Now like I had said before, I am not too bold or confident in my personal music library. I suggested a couple things to him, but poked back asking why he requested that. He looked me right in the eye (which is a quality I am overly fond of in people) and presented this idea to me of picking up different music from places that you travel to. Sooner or later you have formed this nice diverse playlist that becomes your sound track for the trip. So now when you are not on a journey somewhere, and stuck in dreary old Cambridge England (like he says-not me), you can listen to these songs and your mind is automatically brought back to a certain place or places. Your senses are triggered and you feel the same when you did then. Like when we were sitting there drinking the beer in that hot Sydney hostel bar. To this day, every time I hear the song “Good Life,” my senses awaken and are brought out of their deep slumber in the world of the past, and I am brought back to how I felt riding trains through Australia, or sitting on the beach, visiting mosques in Malaysia or having a beer with Martin. And every time…it makes me smile. Martin is writing a book right now, and I hope this small story has enlightened you to how brilliant this fellow is. His book is about travelers and backpackers and is called “More Than Footprints,” which explores the idea of what us travelers really take or really leave behind, like a footprint. Check him out:
I need these little reminders of the person I am while I am limitless in the world. I know you are sitting there thinking, “Shannon, why do you feel you are limited? You don’t have to be if you chose not to” But my friendly reader (if you are out there)…I am limited. We all are. We are limited by bus schedules and by costs of a coffee. We are limited by our supervisors and paychecks. We are limited by our governments and by the visas that are necessary to leave or enter a place. Once I have entered onto a plane, I feel my entire body just sink. My shoulders are finally relaxed. On that plane, no one can tell me what I do and do not have to do (unless it is for safety purposes). On that plane, I can choose to drink a cocktail or perhaps take a nap. I am not scheduled to be anywhere. I am on my own time and going somewhere that I want to go to. I have the unknown ahead of me instead of the monotony of everyday life. Everything will be new and never done before. I cannot prevent what is to happen and I do not have to worry about the result of it, because I cannot change it. Liberation!
Hmmm…..76 days until Japan.