Traveling immerses us in the world, but sometimes in the less eventful moments in between destinations, we just need to escape. “The Layover” is a weekly roundup of books, music, podcasts, and other forms of entertainment brought to you by your favorite world travelers.
This week, we reached out to Camille Danielich, a writer and traveler who works for Passion Passport. Today, she discusses the entertainment she turns to during travel’s quieter moments.
“RELAXER” BY ALT-J
When I ventured to California to visit my family and take a side trip to Yosemite National Park this past fall, I did so to the tune of alt-J’s “Relaxer.” As my train wound from San Francisco to the forests of the famous park, I listened to the album on repeat (as I’m prone to do). It set the tone for every portion of the trip — the crisp autumn mornings spent in my tent in Curry Village, my strenuous solo trek up to the renowned Glacier Point, and the hours I passed in flowering meadows. I almost couldn’t believe how perfectly the album’s lyrics and slurry of melodies mirrored the natural rhythms of the park, from the sway of the grassy meadows to the bustle of wildlife at sunrise and sunset.
Since I was coming from New York City, the park — and the soundtrack of mellow acoustics — was a necessary change of pace. And yet, what started as an incredibly peaceful week eventually culminated in chaos — I happened to be leaving when a large chunk of granite broke off of El Capitan’s face, blocking one of the park’s exits. While I waited for the dust to settle (literally) and for my bus to proceed back to the streets of San Francisco, I turned to “Relaxer” once more to pass the time and reflect on the magnitude of my time at Yosemite.
“TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS” BY CHERYL STRAYED
I was resistant to the “Wild” and Cheryl Strayed phenomenon until I found a dog-eared — and autographed — copy of the memoir abandoned on a New York City street corner. Considering it fate, I read the book and fell in love with Strayed’s unique ability to bend prose and evoke emotion.
After I returned home from a post-grad jaunt in Southeast Asia and South America, I was feeling particularly lost and uninspired. Seeking more of Strayed’s wisdom and hoping for a touch of escapism, I picked up another collection of her writing: “Tiny Beautiful Things,” which compiles her most moving responses from her two years spent as an advice columnist called “Sugar.” After transitioning from months of excitement and new experiences to a more quiet and mundane daily routine, I found Strayed’s book to be both heartening and grounding — in essence, it was exactly what I needed.
On a recent red-eye to England, I decided that rather than sleep, I’d stay up the entire flight and watch movies. I’d heard a lot of buzz about the film “Lion,” mostly from friends who told me they couldn’t stop crying as they watched it. Accepting the unspoken challenge to watch a tearjerker while confined in a public place, I pressed play and settled in.
Based on a true story, the film chronicles the life of Saroo Brierley, an Indian boy who gets lost in the streets of his native Calcutta and is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Many years later, Saroo begins to question his origins, eventually embarking on a pilgrimage to find his family and his village. The film, which beautifully highlights the landscapes of both India and Australia and oscillates between the past and present day, is a heartbreaking story of family, identity, and loss. By the end of the film, I was a wreck, though a kind stewardess had the foresight to gift me with a pack of tissues.