My song of backpacking

I was listening to Train's "Drops of Jupiter" this morning and thought of the many times I listened to this song when I first started backpacking - learned backpacking.

And then I remembered a song that followed me for that entire year: Jason Mraz's "I'm yours"

It's what I looked up to.

I'd seen in movies how people walked empty gravel roads, with their backpacks on, smiling; relaxed on patches of grass; drank water out of their old, battered, scratched-up bottles; lived each day on a measly budget but with loads of enthusiasm - were happy - but I'd never really done it. I didn't exactly know how to, except that I just had to go ahead and try to live the images in my mind's eye.

This song taught me how to. Of course, there were other people/things that taught me, too, but this song did a lot of it.

When I bought a copy of "Eat. Pray. Love" in a Queenstown bookshop (I'd never read it before, but I felt that somehow I needed to) I scribbled this song's lyrics onto the front page. Then, when an American couple pushed my campervan out of a mudpit I'd ended up in, I gave that book to that woman.

Somewhere in the world there is a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat. Pray. Love" with Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" lyrics scribbled in front.

Listen to the music of the moment, people dance and sing  
And it's our God-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved 
So I won't hesitate no more, no more 
I guess what I be saying is there ain't no better reason 
To rid yourself of vanities and just go with the seasons 
It's what we aim to do, our name is our virtue 
Open up your mind and see like me 
Open up your plans and damn your free 
Look into your heart and you'll find the sky is yours 

It followed me from when I started in Queenstown, spent my days on the Kaikoura coast, when I travelled further north - Hanmer Springs, Blenheim, Bay of Plenty, 90 Mile Beach - when I learned to surf, when I learned to really, really let it go and sit on the verandah in the evening hours, under a blanket with Joe, and talk.

There's a whole generation of backpackers out there with this as their heart song. I know it.

And when I hear it, I smile.

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