How music takes me back through my travelling history

Music is a huge part of my everyday life. Whether it’s on my lengthy commute to and from work, getting to sleep after a stressful day, or just generally existing, you’ll usually find me with my massive over ear headphones on listening to one of my Spotify playlists – mostly at a volume so loud that the whole of Leeds can probably hear it too.

I was doing just that on my way to work the other day when a song came on that immediately took me back to one of my trips away in 2015, and it made me realise that there are so many other random songs that do the exact same thing and take me back to points in my travelling history over the past few years:

Rather Be by Clean Bandit (USA, 2014)

Back in 2014 I spent a couple of months working at a summer camp in the USA. There was a general technology-free rule, but we played music a lot at camp games or staff activities or during meal times in the main hall because singing songs is a big part of camp culture. Two songs take me back to this summer: Rather Be, which became the camp’s anthem of that year because it had just come out and summed up the general camp vibe, and MKTO’s Classic, because it was just played all the bloody time for some reason. (I’m not complaining, it’s a jam, don’t @ me lol x)

Lean On by Major Lazer (Europe, 2015)

In 2015 I went on a Topdeck Travel tour for the first time, spending two weeks travelling across Europe. I don’t know if this happens on every Topdeck tour, but we had a song which the tour leaders played on the bus every time we were about to stop for food/sightseeing which was Lean On by Major Lazer. Now whenever I hear that song I’m taken back to those wonderful hungover/tired/generally excited bus chats, while also sort of subconsciously getting hungry and expecting to see some sights.

Anywhere by Passenger (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2016)

I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on a solo trip in 2016 so I spent a lot of time listening to music as I walked around the city. This song had only been out a week at the time so it kept popping up on my Spotify playlists as well as playing on the radio in odd places I went to, so now whenever it plays it always takes me back to walking up and down the Royal Mile.

Despacito by Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee and Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran (New Zealand and South East Asia, 2017)

This one is sort of self explanatory. I went travelling across New Zealand and South East Asia last summer, when the two top songs in every chart in the whole world seemed to be Despacito and Castle on the Hill, and everywhere we went they seemed to play them both one after the other. I started a tally at one point and thought about turning it into some kind of drinking game but I would probably have been hospitalised.