At the Louvre with a European edition of The Da Vinci Code

At the Louvre with a European edition of The Da Vinci Code

Back when I studied abroad in Europe, I can vividly remember sitting on trail in Switzerland, reading about Dr. Langdon traveling through the Swiss Alps and looking out my window at those very mountains right that I’m reading about in the book. When I was in Paris, it was so much fun having a copy of The Da Vinci Code while I actually visited the Louvre. Similarly, one thing that’s fun about traveling is flicking on the radio and listening to the local music. With the exception of mexican music freely available on the radio when you’re anywhere in the southwest, most all the music in the States is in English (obviously), so when I talk about listening to local music it’s not gonna necessarily be as radically different as listening to French rap in France or Celtic music in Ireland. It’s more about accents, occasionally unique musical instruments (like banjos in the south), and about places you can visit actually being mentioned in a song (and visiting them yourself!), like driving down Route 66 while listening to a song about Route 66. 😉

In this post, I just feel like sharing some songs that I like that talk about various locations you can visit in the country.


So right off the bat, one of the obvious ones is Hotel California, a classic song by The Eagles. It’s funny how often this song is played in California hotels! It’s like “their song.”

The Eagles – Hotel California

In addition to Hotel California, another big one out in this state, especially this summer when I was there, was California Gurls by Katy Perry. As what would probably come as a shock to no one, you’ll hear this song on the radio a lot.

Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls

s’cool to hear Snoop talking about Venice Beach after being there. Makes the world feel like a smaller place and I really like feeling the sense of connection that comes with being able to relate to a location in a song or the magical feeling of being in a place where a song is being sung about.

This is actually in contrast to living in LA and seeing for yourself in person places where some of your favorite TV shows or movies were filmed. Being on that location actually gives me a sense that the TV show is fake. Just some actors and actresses running around with camera crews right around the corner. It actually kinda kills the believability of the experience that’s being presented. Songs, on the other hand, I’ve noticed I don’t have that same reaction for whatever reason.

Seattle, WA

Another song that’s both on my playlist and on the radio is Hello Seattle by Owl City. They bring up locations like Puget Sound, I love their music, and even the opening line to this song is “Hello Seattle. I am a mountaineer.” Oh HELL YES!!

Owl City – Hello Seattle

In the song “On The Wing,” they talk about living in the alpine heights below the northern lights. Sigh… Part of me is still really wishing I made it up to Alaska, but if it’s any consolation, this upcoming winter is predicted to be the worst winter they’ve had in the PNW in the past 50 years! So maybe I’ll get that intense winter without making that drive quite yet afterall… 😉

Owl City – On The Wing


I never really listened to much country music growing up, but I’ve also never had an aversion to it. Lately for some reason it’s been growing on me. The most common comment I get from people when I tell them that I’m from Georgia is that I don’t have an accent. (You only really find the southern twang if you leave the big cities and go into the country, or if you start heading west into Alabama and so on. South Carolina has its own accent as well, kinda like Savannah, but it’s not country. It’s more southern belle.)

Anyways, there’s one song I heard a few months back that really made me feel like being back home, talking about taking the highway 20 ride into Georgia. or driving on I-20 as we called it. The song is called Highway 20 Ride by Zac Brown Band. His southern accent isn’t too thick here. For example, he pronounces Friday FRY-day rather than FRY-dee. 😀

Zac Brown Band – Highway 20 Ride

Speaking of different highway names, here in Portland, going west towards the coast is 26, but it’s often called the Sunset Highway by the locals since commuters driving west out of town in the evenings after work drive directly into the sunset. Not to be confused with Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles which also runs east-west(ish) and is a nice road to drive at sunset.

When it comes to other places that have highlighted this trip so far such as Denver, Boulder, or the Colorado Rockies, I can’t think of any songs off the top of my head, but either way, it’s really nice having music fit your lifestyle, your experiences, your travels.

It seems everyone finds their own unique collection of things to appreciate, has their own individual way of experiencing the world. This works for me. I like it. 🙂


  1. Nate
    on October 31st, 2010

    Hey Ariel,

    I like all the music you’ve got about places. Have you heard any post-rock? Listen to a song when you’re at your next vista or sunset or just driving through a place. Then the music BECOMES the place you’re listening at. Lyrics about a place are fun, but this stuff will hit the core of you… Hope you enjoy it.

  2. Ariel
    on October 31st, 2010

    Oh man… that’s a GREAT song too Nate! I love how it provides a nice musical background feeling to the experience without adding lyrics to distract your mind. 🙂

  3. Nate
    on November 1st, 2010

    I love just melting into this type of music. Depending on how much you like hard rock or ambient music, there are tons of other bands who fit those genres. Explosions in the Sky is a good primer, so is This Will Destroy You.

    I started reading your spritual blog after you recommended Adya’s tapes to me on Pavlina’s forum over a year and a half ago. It’s been great reading about your journeys. I also shoot landscapes semi-professionally (but now I’m all film), so it’s cool to read about similar interests. Keep it up!

  4. Erica
    on November 17th, 2010

    I believe you will enjoy this…

    Sit back, close your eyes, and feel.

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