“Are you tired of touring?” is a question I get often, and the answer’s no. I think the answer’s no because I don’t tour so much as I travel. What's the difference? Well, here’s a typical tour day for most- limp out of the hotel room/bus/van just in time for lobby call, collapse onto a green room couch, stare in zombie-like enthrallment at an iPhone screen, hit up the Chipotle near the club, play the gig, drink free booze on the rider, pass out after stubbornly refusing to brush your teeth. Sound good to you? Me neither. So, I do none of these things (except play the gig). I get out and see the town, explore, get lost. I travel.
Travel, in my opinion, highlights what already's there. Enjoy people? Well, you’re in luck- people are, it turns out, everywhere. Dig exotic cuisine, or at the very least a Chicago style hot dog? Go nuts! More significantly, if you’re a person who remains fluid, flexible and good humored in the face of delays, multi-faceted absurdities and people being good ol’ fashioned douchebags, chances are the open road will treat you fine.
If you prefer, however, the company of Netflix over exchanging pleasantries with the barista, well, travel’s gonna wear you down. “I just have to sleep in my own bed” isn’t a characteristic of many professional travelers. Most people are thermostat at 72 kinda folks, and I get it, nothing wrong with that whatsoever. Stay home, grow vegetables and enjoy your low likelihood of hosting a monkey parasite.
I’m odd. I enjoy being home, sure, but if I’m not traveling after about a week of recharging I genuinely feel like I’m letting myself down. My livelihood affords me many luxuries, principally the freedom to sling a hastily packed bag over my shoulders, book a ticket and just GO. It won’t always be like this, and I’m not worried about the grass being greener on the other side. The grass is plenty green in Iceland, and I’m going to experience it first hand.
For anyone reading this who’s new to touring, traveling a ton and feeling burnt, or generally stuck in a rut, here’re a couple things I do that changed the game. Rather than Yelp something for lunch, ask somebody. Sounds simple, but it’s effective. People love talking about where they’re from, and this initial exchange almost always leads to additional recommendations. Read a work of fiction set in the place you’re going. The good stuff, I’ve found, manifests more readily through stories than Trip Advisor. "All cities are the same" is bullshit. Don't become that guy.
Travel. Travel, travel and travel some more. Especially in these bizarre and unstable times, experiencing people and places first hand in real time is the most valuable currency that exists. Chances are I'll bump into you somewhere out there. First beer's on me.