Posted by: marykfurness | November 3, 2011

“I Felt Unfettered and Alive”; Travel, Change and Music

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed my opportunity to blog yesterday in the bootsnall 30 days of blogging in November.  So I will combine it with today’s topic, since–for me–both pair up rather well, like a fine wine and a good cheese.

Yesterday, the question was how travel has changed me over the past year, and did I welcome or resist it. Today’s question–what is my “travel playlist”? What music reminds me of travel, or what music do I take along with me?

I am always changed, in some way, by the places I go to, the people I meet, and the things I see.  Sometimes I stay curled up in my little house, in my oasis of a Midwestern American university town, for far too long, and forget there is a world of difference out there.  A three hour drive any direction from here can take me to a small town where people have trouble getting to a doctor or a dentist; where kids my son’s age have nowhere to go on a Saturday night; and where many of those kids may never go to college.  I met many such people this year as I mingled with the spectators during the park and historic site events I attended due to my husband’s job. I learned not to take my town and its array of activities for granted.

As my son and I traveled in Baltimore and Washington in March, I also realized once again that, while I grew up a city girl, travel and distance from the big city has changed that.  I can drive in the city and the country; I can handle myself in a major airport and a small one; I’m not completely freaked out by the traffic on I-95 between Baltimore and Washington, nor am I completely freaked out on two-lane lettered roads, looking for a way to pass that combine,  in Monroe County, Missouri!

And that transfers to riding public trasportation in Europe, as we did two years ago, or handling myself as I travel in Costa Rica–a quiet confidence and comfort in one’s ability to handle most situations.

It reminds me of a line from that wonderful Joni Mitchell song Free Man in Paris –“I felt unfettered and alive; nobody callin’ me up for favors, noone’s future to decide”.  There is a joyful freedom in travel–when I get on that plane and it starts to roll away from the gate; when the car leaves the city limits; when the train leaves the station….that’s when I truly shake off the shackles of regular life and the fun begins!!

Elton John’s Daniel is another favorite “travel song” of mine–I heard it on the Voice of America one night in 1973 in a hotel room in Bulgaria during a 3 month trip to Europe with my family.  I was  rather homesick, and it worked like a charm!  Three Dog Night’s recording of Never Been to Spain also makes my list (no I haven’t been to Spain, which is probably why).  Then there’s James Taylor’s Mexico…. all music to set me dreaming of faraway places.

Notice a theme?  Most of those faraway places are warm this time of year… and sunny….



  1. Hi Mary,
    I just love the thought of you with quiet confidence in the most challenging situations. Travel does give you that ability to work things out.
    Joni Mitchell was given to me by my big brother when I was a teen, Daniel is just the most beautiful song…
    I’m enjoying reading the 30 days of Indie posts, here’s to the next 27 days…or is it more? Thanks for visiting my blog, I am also the wandering soul of the family while my brother lived all his life at home and never left. Have you been to Bulgaria?
    ciao lisa

  2. Lisa–so good to find someone with the same musical tastes! Yes, I have been to Bulgaria several times: once, as I said, in 1973 when I was 13 and the whole family went; and again in 1989 with my dad on a father-daughter trip. The trip in ’73 was the first time he’d been back since he left, due to various circumstances, and it was the first time overseas for my brother and me–that is when the travel bug first bit me! And it’s never let go.

    Enjoyed your blog–what beautiful children! I need to read your Indie posts– haven’t gotten around to that today–


  3. […] Mary K Furness […]

  4. Incredible to be able to share his first time back, we took my in-laws back to Italy and they hadn’t been since she was 7 and he was 18. The best thing was being able to share it with them and our own children! Priceless…
    ciao lisa

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