One of my all-time favorite albums is one that pulls from many. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ greatest hits compilation is a collection of tunes that takes me back almost two decades – back to when I first started listening to it.

Do you have a song that reminds you of a certain person, place or time? The whole album reminds me of many. I can remember listening to it as I drove home from college each summer. I remember listening to it in Illinois, through Missouri and in various other parts along I-40.

After college, it became my go-to whenever I’d take a short roadtrip somewhere. San Francisco, Arizona and Las Vegas were all surrounded by great music and good vibes. If I wasn’t so into driving, I’d have just pulled off the highway, found a roadside shack of a restaurant and enjoyed a cold one while the music played from my car. But there were places to go, schedules to follow.

It was the soundtrack for my drive home to California after living in Connecticut, and in recent years it’s become my daytrip soundtrack for short jaunts to and from Temecula.

Every time I’ve enjoyed the album, it has been paired with a sense of freedom, adventure and camaraderie. Today I drove up the coast and dusted it off once again, realizing immediately the effect it had on me. It can brighten a gloomy, overcast coastal sky and turn bumper to bumper traffic into the open road in a heartbeat. It’s never been paired with sad times, breakups or a stormy season of my life, and that’s probably one of the reasons I still love it to this day.

Tonight, after all these years, I am thankful that an album still has that ability to elevate my mood, inspire adventure and remind me of so many great times from days gone by.

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