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!