It has been almost 2 months since I finished my long-hike and began the transition back into music performance.
Life-on-the-trail and life-on-the-road share many similarities. Both require constant motion – a transitory sort of living. Both rely on the kindness of strangers to every so often provide shelter for weary travelers with perhaps even a home-cooked meal and a shower. Both lifestyles lack the luxury of really knowing where to poop next. Even the changes that I’ve had to make from trail-life to music-life retained common characteristics.
While the calluses on my feet diminished since I no longer walked daily, the calluses on my fingertips grew as I practiced and played regularly. Instead of replacing worn out shoes for my feet, I’m replacing worn out tires on my car. Instead of breaking camp, I’m breaking down (a stage). Instead of loading everything into my pack, I’m loading everything into the band-mobile. Instead of being constantly hungry because of a metabolism that destroyed 5,000 calories a day, I’m constantly hungry because I have no money (I make a living playing music, remember?).
It was so very tough leaving the trail-life behind me. I was so used to hiking through the woods every day that when I wasn’t doing just that, I didn’t feel like I was getting anything done – like I wasn’t being productive.
Everything was so busy and noisy off-trail with so many people moving to-and-fro and living their lives. It was different from the occasional SoBo (south-bound thru-hiker) that I would come across while proceeding north; which seemed like it was anything but to-and-fro because, hell! It was just “to”.
There are so many different smells off-trail than there are on-trail. Some are great! The swirling aromas of barbecue, french fries, and fresh-baked bread (man, these are all foods….) are intoxicating! Some are not so great. The gasoline, perfume, and after-shave fumes are just a bit too strong for me.
But, as it was tough to leave the trail, it has been so fucking incredible to play music again.
I get to revisit and bring songs to friends from all different sorts of regions. I get to check out new music venues. I get to revisit awesome older venues. I get to drink free beer. I get excited to think of when that moment will be during the set where I attempt to do something on the guitar and fail miserably; meanwhile thinking that I am that much closer to pulling it off successfully in the future. I get to run into and play music with other traveling acts. I get to discuss with Ol’ Hanson the things that went good and the things that went bad with the last performance, and then come up with ideas to make it better. I get to drink free beer. And I get to play, play, play. I get to play. I love it. And I get to drink free beer.
I think I’m finally ready to move on with my life. This transition took a lot longer than I originally thought, but here we are. And I’m diggin’ it. The mandolin is feelin’ soooo good y’all and I’m looking forward to shoving its sweet, sweet sounds into your all’s ear holes. Let’s do this.