There are some songs that can instantly transport you to another place. They make you want to pack up your suitcase and jump on a plane every time you listen to them. Here are some of my favourites:
Africa by Toto
When I was living in the UK for a couple of years, this song used to bring tears to my eyes whenever it played on the radio. It made me miss Africa so much that I could hardly stand listening to it. Now I’m back home, it still makes me yearn for Africa, but the images of home have been replaced with hot air balloons gliding over herds of wildebeest migrating over the wide open plains of the Serengeti or the Masai Mara.
Desert Rose by Sting
Exotic and mysterious, this song instantly evokes images of Morocco. I can almost feel the hot air billowing around me, I can smell the spiced tea and hear the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer.
Down Under by Men at Work
Any reference to vegemite sandwiches immediately brings Australia to mind. Even though not a word is mentioned about kangaroos, the Sydney Opera House, Uhuru or the brilliantly blue skies of the outback, this song still manages to transport your mind to that extraordinary continent on the far side of the world.
California Girls by The Beach Boys
An oldie, but a goodie. Whenever this song is played on the radio I have visions of bikini-clad girls on roller-skates eating ice cream at the beach. And isn’t that exactly what California is all about?
Better Not Tell Her by Carly Simon
Not an obvious travel song, but the second stanza’s lyrics start with: “Better not tell her why you love Spanish dancing / Don’t bother to say that it’s hot in the summer in Madrid.” Since this is a favourite shower song for me, I frequently find myself wondering why he loves Spanish dancing. And since I will be visiting the Costa del Sol in November 2010, this song reminds me of that trip all the time.
Kalinka by Ivan Larionov (1860)
I’ve been listening to Classic FM almost exclusively for the last six months or so on my way to and fro from work and this song is played on a fairly regular basis. I almost know all the words by now (even though I have no idea if I’m saying them correctly or what they mean!) and every time I find myself singing enthusiastically along while stuck in traffic on the N1, my thoughts wander to domed churches, vodka tastings and summer palaces.
Are there any songs that remind you of places you’ve been to or inspire you to dream about foreign or exotic destinations? Please let me know…