Tuesday January 8th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL
I’m only home for a couple of days before having to head out again, and I’m realizing just how much effort is involved in living the road life. I did it for decades without giving it a first thought much less a second, but now I see just how much energy it takes to travel week in and week out.
I used to do it for the adventure, and there was plenty to be had. It was exciting to experience a constant variety of new places and faces, not to mention learning the craft that consumed most if not all of my entire being. I was so immersed in it all I failed to notice how difficult traveling is.
Now I’m doing it mostly for the money, and I see it from a completely different angle. It would be much more economical not to mention a whole lot less stressful to be located in one particular city or at least region rather than flitting around like a moth visiting scattered flames on a whim.
That’s how it’s been lately, and I’m less than thrilled. My routing is all over the place, but so is the available work. Two weeks ago it was Reno, and then last week it was Nashville. Thursday I have to be in Eau Claire, WI and then Minneapolis for the weekend. That’s way too many miles.
It’s also impossible to be efficient with all activities off the stage. Any kind of regular schedule for anything from eating to sleeping to exercising gets ruined, and one can only absorb that for so long before it starts taking an expensive toll. I’m sure I’ll have to pay mine far sooner than later.
Finding some kind of stability has got to be a priority. The benefits of what I’m getting out of it aren’t even close to the price I’m paying to keep pounding it out on the road. When I was starting I needed stage experience, plus it was fun to travel for the first time. Now it’s the total opposite.
I now have a heaping helping of experience, and it’s not fun living the gypsy lifestyle. Staying in hotels gets stale very quickly, as does having to drive 500 miles in a day or spend hours sitting in the middle seat of an airplane between the unwashed and the morbidly obese. It’s a hard life.
I see why places like Las Vegas and Branson exist, and for an entertainer that would be heaven on Earth. The audiences do the traveling, but for them it’s a vacation and they have the feeling of adventure I used to have when I started on the road. Having a ‘normal’ life appeals to me now.
That’s why I chased radio so long - even though it kept stomping on my soul with the force of a landlord stomping on a cockroach. I thought in theory if I landed the right gig I could have had the best of both worlds and experience stability along with being able to still perform regularly.
The performance part never gets old, and I still love it even now. Being on that stage when it is going well is a feeling I can’t see myself or anyone else tiring of any time soon. It’s nothing short of intoxicating, but the audience benefits also. If there was ever a true win/win scenario, this is it.
I want to perform every single time I can, but I want to do it as close to home as possible. After crisscrossing the continent for as long as I have, steady time in one place would be a treat beyond words. I never thought I’d feel this way, but I totally do. Either I’m maturing or just wearing out.