“Are you tired of touring?” is a question I get often, and the answer’s no. I think that’s 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, stare zombie-like at an iPhone screen, hit up the Chipotle near the venue, play the gig, drink free booze and pass out after not brushing your teeth.
Sound good to you? Me neither. So, I do none of these (except play the gig). I get out and see the town, explore, get lost. I travel.
Travel highlights what already's within you. 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 natured in the face of delays, multi-faceted absurdities and people being good ol’ fashioned assholes, chances are the open road will treat you fine.
If you prefer the company of Netflix over exchanging pleasantries with a stranger, well, travel’s gonna eventually wear you down. “I just have to sleep in my own bed” isn’t a professional traveler characteristic. Nothing wrong with being a homebody, by the way. Who doesn't like growing vegetables and enjoying a low likelihood of hosting a monkey parasite?
I’m odd. I enjoy being home, sure, but if I’m not traveling in some description after about a week I genuinely feel like I’m letting myself down. I’m lucky- I can sling a hastily packed bag over my shoulder, book a ticket and just GO. Few are able to pull that off, and I don’t take my good fortune for granted. Life won’t always be like this, and I’m not worried about the greener grass on the other side. The grass is plenty green in Iceland, and I’m going to experience it first hand.
For anyone 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.
People love talking about where they’re from, and this simple ice breaker 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. It's also made long flights something I look forward to.
”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 is a valuable currency. Chances are I'll bump into you somewhere out there. First beer's on me.