The Theme Song
Since the epic vacation of 2007, every voyage comes complete with a theme song. When planning a new travel itinerary, often the selection of the primary musical accompaniment happens within days of the selection of the destination, sometimes even before booking a hotel, selecting flights, or asking for time off work. A single song title may make the choice inevitable, or a wide range of songs could fit the profile, such as when I planned my trip to Cooperstown, New York. Certainly a baseball theme would be most obvious, but between soundtracks from The Natural and Field of Dreams, and classics like the Troggs and Terry Cashman, narrowing down the choices became as difficult as deciding when to pull a seasoned opener when the team holds a one-run lead and the cleanup batters are on deck.
The thought process in selecting the theme song (or songs for longer vacations) occasionally happens when random music plays that has hovered in the baffles of my favorite playlist selections. Just as often the final selection blossoms from a new song with which I have suddenly fallen in love. A song may be representative of the geographical destination leading me down the road or a wistful emotional destination driving me to my escapism. Collectively the songs provide a ribbon tying my vacation together and they serve as a bungee cord keeping my loose ends bound together when I completely desire to vanish into the scenery that surrounds me. And once a song connects me to a place, a time, an adventure, and a memory, it stays with me forever.
I describe my iTunes devices as my ultimate traveling companions loaded with a soundtrack that I adore intimately. They rank as my most critical travel must-have and I prioritize the music as holding the most pivotal role in my travels. Anything else – clothes, shampoo, atlas, rental car – may be obtained along the way, but my collection of musical oxygen remains irreplaceable. Once when I had forgotten to pack the necessary car charger, I applauded myself for packing an iShuffle to carry on when my iPod had given its last full measure of musical devotion somewhere between Sioux Falls and Brookings. More than once I have purchased the necessary cable to connect these devices to the car’s audio system, thinking that I had tossed one of the many I own into my suitcase. Once I forgot my glasses and was forced to wear my contacts from morning until bedtime, but never has the music been left behind. It illuminates every voyage and during my solo outings serves as the closest resemblance to a traveling companion.
Any one song of the one hundred fifty hand-picked selections reminds me of a specific trip, or lingers in me as a mental photograph of the sites I have visually savored, or captures a moment in time when I felt absolute tranquility. Neil Diamond’s tribute to Richard Bach spoke volumes inside another nameless-faceless rental car climbing through the rocky snow-capped cliffs on my way up to Logan’s Pass. During any given commute to the office, my mind drifts through the litany of recollections from that day’s spectacular, memorable experience, and others like it from across the United States, all in thanks to the playlist of tunes that I appropriately title “Travel.”
Below is an audio snapshot of the Travel playlist
Americaby Simon and Garfunkel
Anthemby Neil Diamond
Breathe Meby Sia
Classic Gasby Mason Williams and Mannheim Steamroller
Come Sail Away by Styx
(Ghost) Riders in the Sky by The Outlaws
Hallelujahby Jeff Buckley
In The Hall Of The Mountain King by Edvard Grieg
The Masterplan by Stop the Clocks
Soarin’by Jerry Goldsmith
Trip The Light (feat. Alicia Lemke) by Garry Schyman
Where the Streets Have No Name by U2