every adventure needs a soundtrack.

yesterday, i arrived safely at home from a 12 day journey of 7 European cities. as you can imagine, traveling between those points, whether by vehicle, train, or plane, requires a soundtrack.

living life — eating food, talking with new people, seeing new sights — demands a soundtrack.

i filled an entire journal with my thoughts and reflections while on this trip, which must be accompanied by a soundtrack.

here’s mine:

1. stranger ways, anberlin.

if you’ve never listened to this band, you’re missing out. they’re my all-time favorite. and, this year is their final album/tour. there’s a line in this song “a little bit closer to knowing you.” as i walked through so many airports and public places, all of these faces of people i would never know passed by me on each side. i may never know them, but by being there i was a little bit closer.

2. toes, lights.

“you’ve captured my attention. carefully listening, don’t want to miss a thing, keeping my eyes on you. got me on my toes.” perfectly sums up international travel. each opportunity that whizzes by my face is something i may never see again. as challenging as it was, i was determined to remain present in each moment . . . to be on my toes.

3. beating heart, ellie goulding.

when constructing this playlist, i searched for epic songs with a heavy beat to keep me aware. that was originally what drew me to this song, but then i heard this line: “and i don’t know where i’m going, but i know it’s gonna be a long time.” i suppose this aptly describes climbing aboard a 9 hour flight to go places i’d never been.

4. this side, nickel creek.

this song is just layers of harmonic beauty. it soothes my weary soul. every time i hear, “only the curious have something to find,” i smile. it’s possible that my innate curiosity motives me more than anything else.

5. you and i, paper route.

the king of all epic songs. no matter how many times i listen to this song, i never get over it. is always inspires the same emotion deep within me: a desire to do something fantastic with somebody that i love like crazy.

6. chasing the light, mat kearney

ultimate song to cheer me up. i love the timbre of his voice when he launches into a verse. “holding hands with people in life, til they walk away saying no goodbyes, and you keep saying that you’re running down a dream but you don’t know where it leads.” i guess i was really caught up by the concept of all these thousands of faces passing me by, that i would never see again. so introspective.

7. cold war, sleep for sleepers

honestly, i’m not a big fan of violence and conflict. seeing all these ancient cities brought to ruin, along with the history lessons of the battles and wars fought over territory, rights, and human goals really got to me. humanity cannot avoid that level of strife, no matter what generation or culture we live in.

8. coffee and cigarettes, augustana

everybody smokes in Europe. when i accidentally got a very smoky hotel room, the concierge said with surprise, “you do not smoke?” he was baffled. i smiled apologetically. but what i really like is this line: “put me on a plane, fly me to anywhere.” that’s pretty much exactly how i felt the day i left. just wanted to get away.

9. add my effort, the weepies

it’s a lot of work traveling with 40 people you don’t know. i found myself re-introducing myself over and over again, answering the same questions and telling the same stories. but these people didn’t know me, and i didn’t know them, so it was worth the effort. relationships, on any level, take time and effort to develop. they’re worth it.

10. trees, twenty one pilots

Greece is full of olive trees. i love olives. Rome had these really cool coniferous trees that i don’t know what kind they are. but i like trees.

11. wildflower, smashing pumpkins

i also like flowers.

12. hard to hold, RAC (feat. tegan and sara)

such a peppy song with a happy beat. i was dancing to this song when one of my travel-mates tapped me on the shoulder and asked what i was listening to. when i told him, he stared at me blankly, and then said, “well, i can see that it makes you happy.” perfect response.

13. damage, jimmy eat world

listening to music helped me appreciate the sights that were flashing by my window, rather than just closing my eyes to nap. i was afraid to miss even a second of the beauty around me. i also spent time talking with my fellow travelers and getting to know them. this song asks the question: “are we all too damaged now to possibly connect, to honestly connect?” i don’t believe so.




it’s good to be home.

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