Circle Of Music

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Circle Of Music

Here are a couple lightweight handy non-essentials we’ll be carrying in our packs. This miniature maraca and this bear bell.

Hali picked up the maraca at ReRun for a buck. The bear bell has been stowed with our camp gear for years, unused. The closest I’ve been to a “live” bear was as a teenager in the bunkhouse of my Grandma’s cabin in Northern Minnesota. I had to chase a black bear away from the garbage with a bear club(think caveman). Poor bear was scared to death.

The maraca is essentially a party starter. The bear bell, in theory, is to fend off bears. But I got to thinking about some of our prior travel experiences and how we can utilize these simple instruments to create more life-long memories.

In the Mountain Hostel high up in the Swiss Alps, a trio of Scots and a couple Irish lads would gather round nightly and play   their instruments, entertaining the rest of us with an impromptu circle of music. There was a flute, fiddle, and some percussion. What fun it would be to whip out these tiny music makers and join in.

On the remote island of Inisheer, just off the coast of Ireland, we met Jonny, from Nashville, in a pub waiting for the traditional music to start up. Once it did, Jonny joined in with his guitar and the “trad” played on, well into the night. We knew this as our room was just above the pub and we saw Jonny, a bit hung-over(the side of the boat), on the ferry back to the mainland.

One summer in Munich, Hali shooed me out of our room with a hunk of limburger cheese and a half baguette. Just outside the Marienplatz, I stumbled upon a young vagabond banging on an upside down plastic bucket. I offered him the “stinky” cheese and crusty bread if he would play some Hendrix. He did, then he ate.



You see, music is as international as cheese and bread. So, I see these easy-to-pack little gadgets as a way to get involved in the travel community almost as effortlessly as giving a hand out to a total stranger.

If we can maintain a simple beat and shake it, bring on the maraca and bear bell and let’s join the party-the circle of music.






About Woody

The travel bug is contagious. I caught it in 1985 while traveling with Hali on a three month backpacking trip through Western Europe. Having a passion for geography, local history & culture, and with a journal in my back pocket, I hope to share our experiences through this blog – whether traveling the well worn rail, or off the beaten trail.

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