I’m sitting under a blanket in Charlotte, North Carolina, thinking about how cold it is (only 64!) and relishing in the comforts of being back in a home (we are staying with my best friend from college’s parents). It’s funny how much Golden and I have come to appreciate the wonder that is staying in a house when we’re so used to our transient lifestyle – drifting from town to town, hotel to parking lot to YMCA to bar to whatever.
And back to that first question – how did we get here? The last tour blog!
We’ve put tremendous miles on Pepper Potts (our red mini-van), taking her from the Shenandoah Valley to the Everglades and played 19 shows in 26 days (still have four days and four shows left). And we’ve learned a lot on the way. It was requested from the start that I give bands that want to tour some kind of advice at the end of this crazy thing, so here are a few things I’ve learned:
Don’t be picky – about anything: Be grateful and gracious to every person who watches you, books you, feeds you, houses you, whatever. Eat what you’re given, sleep where you’re able and learn to appreciate it all.
Be good: Any band can go on tour. But if you’re booking it all yourself without some power behind you through a booking agent, marketing team, record label, whatever – you’re probably going to be stepping into bar situations where people don’t know you and won’t care to know you unless you rock. So, that’s easy. Make sure you rock.
Look for the good in every situation: It’s easy to get down on the road. You’re away from home, you’re eating out all the time (which is fun until you do it), you’re driving all the time, you’re sleeping in weird places, etc. As fun as it can be, it’s also tough if you dwell on the less-than-perfect things. Don’t. Every day is an adventure. Treat them that way.
Stay healthy: Eat the best options when they’re available. Pick the salad bar. Eat with friends at home if you can. And make sure you walk a lot or work out (joining the YMCA and hitting them all over the east coast has been so much fun!).
Tour for the weather: The first band tour I was on was with Sophisatfunk from Seattle to Syracuse in January. Don’t do that. It’s cold, conditions suck and you’ll get snowed in in Wyoming (which is also fun, but not ideal). Touring Florida in October was brilliant. The weather was fantastic, we were able to be outside for most of the days (we weren’t dependent on being indoors) and we could sleep in the car or camp if we had to.
Be grateful: I’ve never been so grateful for clean bathrooms and water fountains in my life. If I’ve got those and can curl up in the back of the van – I’m a happy girl. Likewise, good food, kind people, a nice venue-owner – there are all kinds of things to appreciate tremendously.
Live: The greatest thing I’ve learned from this trip is we waste a tremendous amount of our lives doing, essentially, nothing. We’re so busy but accomplish nothing. We slave over a desk, a computer, we sit around on Facebook, we gossip and talk badly about people. We don’t go outside enough, we eat badly, we bask in negativity. But take the comforts away, the bad habit of waking up and sitting on the computer for an hour or watching TV after work and suddenly, the day is longer. Turn your attention to the people you love and admire rather than dwell on those you don’t. TALK to people you meet rather than sit on your phone. Make a phone call to someone you love. Read a book. Write a song. Yes, life is busy and people juggle a tremendous amount, but there’s time to be found or better spent in every day and sometimes it’s by doing nothing at all.
Dream: Every time I travel, I see more and more people out there doing what they love. And I mean this in so many ways. Some people are lucky enough to do what they love for a living and work hard to make it so. Other people might not have a 9 to 5 they live for, but have found hobbies that make them complete. Some people are retired and living in their dream house. My cousin recently married and is literally the most beautifully happy person I’ve ever seen in my life. There are all ways to appreciate and make the most of life. It’s so important to make it a point to do it and realize that whatever your situation is – it is because you make it that way. That means you can always change it. You can.
Appreciate home: It’s easy to get swept up in new places – especially when they’re on the ocean, lined by palm trees and 85 degrees and sunny every day. It’s easy to be charmed by a lifestyle defined by days of traveling and nights playing music at a bar – that’s fun! But I’m only here because people at home believed in me, in the music, came to shows, supported, cheered, loved. This trip has been amazing and yes, parts of me are sad to see it end. An adventure every day is addicting. But, home is where the heart is and I can’t wait feel whole again. Always remember where you’re from and the people who believed in you and helped make you who you are. You don’t exist without them.
Keep growing: The end of one journey is the beginning of another. And so, we’re already looking forward, planning the next trip, the next steps, the next adventure and there will be so many more – both in music and in life. Never stay static, don’t settle for mediocre, don’t wait for good things to come to you. Create them. Don’t depend on others for anything – whether it’s for them to take care of you or create your happiness – create it yourself. Then, you can really share it with another.
Funny, this was supposed to be advice for bands, but I think it’s advice for anyone. And no, I’m not ultra-wise and I’m probably more flawed and mistake-ridden than the average person, but I hope trying to put both the good and bad into words has helped someone else.
On that note, I want to end with a quote from a book I mentioned in a previous blog (Mutant Message Down Under):
“People are non-living when angry, depressed, feeling sorry for themselves, or filled with fear. Breathing doesn’t determine being alive. It just tells which body is ready for burial or not! Not all breathing people are in a state of aliveness….Life is in movement, advancement and change.”
– Marlo Morgan
Thanks for reading.
Follow the Golden Novak Band on Facebook!