Travel and a turntable

//Travel and a turntable

Travel and a turntable

One of my favorite activities on the road is browsing through collections at record stores in search of jazz, rock and world music on good-quality vinyl – a pursuit that began at home during a winter staycation.

My husband and I were going for a walk downtown Chicago, hoping to stop by a few stores. As it was a January afternoon, we quickly needed a refuge from the icy wind. With a few more blocks until our destination, we decided to walk inside the first place we could find. It happened to be a very well-stocked jazz store, selling CD’s, records and books. As jazz enthusiasts, we felt compelled to check if they had any of our favorite artists.

We only bought a book that day, but the seed had been planted and the quest for records began. We soon found ourselves going to record stores wherever we traveled. San Francisco’s North Beach, L.A.’s Hollywood Boulevard, Toronto’s Queen Street West – all good spots to look for vinyl. Before long, we moved beyond jazz to include rock, alternative, flamenco, even classical. There was only one problem – we didn’t have a turntable.

It’s truly a killjoy when you are excited about a record you have discovered, but you can’t listen to it. Buying a quality, yet affordable record player is, as we found out, both time-consuming and frustrating. However, once you have it and put the first record on, when you hear the first scratching sound and then the music starts to play, you know it was all worth the effort.

Thanks to collecting records, travels not only take us to other places, but also back in time, as some of our favorite tunes were recorded decades ago. Often times, we will also search for local music – it’s a great way to get an insight into the local history, customs and traditions – whether you prefer a vinyl record, CD or MP3.

In a post a while ago, I wrote that “my most cherished travel experiences are those that happened by accident.” In this case, it was traveling locally that started a chain of events that have positively impacted my life. Who knows what the next staycation may bring…

What do you shop for when you travel? Share your story in the comment box below!


By | 2014-02-06T00:44:30+00:00 January 14th, 2012|STORIES|23 Comments

About the Author:

Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.


  1. avatar
    Sławek January 17, 2012 at 2:22 am

    I always wanted to get a record player. Even started a record collection, if you could call 6 Electric Light Orchestra albums a collection. However the cost of a record player in Poland is pretty high, hovering around $250 bucks for what is now considered a niche product. The cost, coupled together with my small apartment and ease of MP3 downloads, is what’s keeping from making the plunge.

    But the idea of buying albums all over the world, then thinking back of the trip while listening to the record is very cool indeed.

  2. avatar
    Jetting Around January 17, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Hi Sławek – I hear you about the cost… Same in the US. It took us months of research to find a record player that was affordable, but offered decent quality. We ended up buying one online from a former DJ and so far, so good.

    On a side note – I’ve seen your blog before. :) I grew up in Poland, so it’s fun for me to read it. Pozdrawiam!

  3. avatar
    Sławek January 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Dziękuję za pozdrowienia i również pozdrawiam z Wrocławia. Wiem że się znamy, mówiąc w sensie blogowym. Na Fejsie dodałaś ‘Magika’ i tak też trafiłem na Jetting Around.

    Ciekawe masz wpisy i miło się czyta o tak wielu miejscach. Tak trzymać!

    Do usłyszenia.

    • avatar
      Jetting Around January 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Dzieki za mile slowa. :) Wroclaw fajne miasto – chetnie bym sie tam znowu przejechala, juz kilka lat minelo od ostatniej wizyty.

  4. avatar

    […] it’s going to used record stores or live events, music is a big part of my travels […]

  5. avatar
    Cassie | Ever In Transit December 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Awesome, I just commented on this topic your souvenir post! I used to LOVE to do this, and then sometime in the last decade I got old and boring and stopped listening to new music, in favor of podcasts and NPR. Sheesh, I’m lame.
    Cassie | Ever In Transit recently posted..Foto Friday | Misty Hills of the Mendocino CoastMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around December 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Haha, my problem now is storage. I need to find a good way to organize the LPs. :)

  6. avatar
    Kieu December 30, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I’ve always admired records collections – they always seem like such a classy way to collect memories.
    Kieu recently posted..Where should we honeymoon in 2014?My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around December 31, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Collecting memories – I like that!

  7. avatar
    Fiona January 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    This is so cool, reminds me a bit of that scene in Midnight in Paris when Owen Wilson is taken by the Cole Porter record. Well done on finding a record player too!
    Fiona recently posted..Learning to Waltz in ViennaMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around January 2, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      That’s a lovely comparison. Thanks, Fiona! :)

  8. avatar
    Erin at The World Wanderer January 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I love records. My parents are music fanatics, especially my dad, who has collected records since forever, and even used to own a record store in the 70’s. Love how the sounds bring you back in time, definitely worth it.
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Top Thirteen Moments of 2013: Photo Essay.My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around January 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      Cool info about your parents, Erin! Now I am not surprised you do weekly music posts on your site. :)

  9. avatar
    Tawny of Captain and Clark January 7, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Oh, we also like to shop for records. We got a new record player for a wedding gift and we’re pretty obsessed. We are also really into collecting art from all the destinations we visit. That way we’ll be able to decorate the future crib. You guys made an awesome find! We love that you enjoy good vinyl as much as we do.
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..Honoring a life through our travel bucket listMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around January 7, 2014 at 1:38 am

      That’s a GREAT wedding present, enjoy!

  10. avatar
    @mrsoaroundworld January 7, 2014 at 4:01 am

    I miss records, I really do :) But how to do keep them all?
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..5 things I hate about travelMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around January 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Oh yes, it took me a while to figure out storage, but all good now. :)

  11. avatar
    Mary Anne January 7, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I had the greatest record collection growing up. My dad played in a rock band and we had every music genera and some real collectibles.

    • avatar
      Jetting Around January 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Your dad was in a rock band? How cool!

  12. avatar
    Sean August 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Yes, totaly agree with you. In those old stores sniffing in boxes for undiscovered musical gold! And you never know what you wil find. Also love the conversations that will than start, mostly wild old artist or so!

    • avatar
      Jetting Around August 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Well put, Sean! No doubt that part of the fun is not looking for something specific. :)

  13. avatar
    David Richard September 25, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    I love checking out record stores when I travel, too! I don’t get to travel as much as you, or go as far, but whenever I’m in a new city, I search online for nearby places selling vinyl. I usually end up buying something, too, so I know the feeling of not being It’s torture!
    David Richard recently posted..Record Player Stands – Reviewing and Comparing the Top 10My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around September 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      I wish I still had the turntable! Now that I’ve moved, maybe I’ll get a new one and get more records. Cheers!

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