Get Up & Go: Music

As I mentioned before, I studied abroad in Paris during my junior year in college. I didn’t go with a huge, organized group and instead sorted out my own housing. I lived in a large, run down house (that may or may not have been illegal) about 11 miles south of Paris in a blue collar suburb called Savigny-sur-Orge. My room was tiny and I slept underneath a very itchy French Army blanket. The washing machine took three hours to do a single load of laundry, but it also took quarters (why I had extra quarters lying around during my study abroad is a mystery). The house itself was populated by a mish mash of young people from all over the world–later, I’d realize I was living in my very own version of L’Auberge Espagnole.

One of my housemates was a tall Scottish dude named Jamie. I’d never met an actual Scottish person in real life before and his Glaswegian accent was a constant source of amusement and confusion for me. One day as I was leaving my room, Jamie started singing to me–not like, in a romantic way. But in my general direction as a kind of means of getting my attention. At first I thought he was mocking me, “Oh yeah, alright, take it easy baby, make it last all night…she was an American girl.” I smiled sheepishly and scuttled off to the kitchen. For the next week, each time he’d walk past my door, he’d sing more lyrics from the song, always ending with “…she was an American girl.”

Finally, I took it upon myself to look up the song. I was reared on Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind, and Fire. The only thing remotely rock-ish that we listened to was Sting, so any rock music that pre-dated my ability to buy music for myself was totally foreign to me. I downloaded the song and listened to it whenever I was feeling a little bit homesick. Now, eight years later,  whenever I hear the song it instantly transports me back to Paris 2005.

There are other songs–Minus the Bear’s “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse” a song recommended to me by a friend before I took of for my study abroad. The lyrics were spot on for my time in Pa-ris, “Sitting on a park bench that’s older than my country,” and I listened to the song on repeat any time I went for a long, wandering walk through St. Germain des Pres. Towards the end of my time in Paris, I happened to see “Before Sunset.” The movie ends with Nina Simone’s rendition of “Just In Time,” and I get misty listening to the song. If I ever get married, that will be the first song I dance to with my husband.

So, when I realized my Eurotrip was just around the corner, I decided to put together an epic playlist–one to serve as a soundtrack for new memories, and one that reminds me of my previous kind of life changing trips to Europe.

Do you have a travel playlist? If so, what’s on it?