1. The Freedom!!
For me, there are few things that compare to hopping in my ’dino blue’ car with an iPod full of audio books, my guitar in the back seat and a cooler full of lime flavored Perrier water and ’Sweet and Salty’ granola bars. It’s heaven! I get to pick the tunes no matter how girly they are. (Just yesterday I was driving down the 401 outside of Toronto singing my heart out to Avril Lavigne’s “Let Go” CD and yes…it was epic). And we can’t forget the best freedom of all…PEE BREAKS! Trying to co-ordinate a carload of musicians on the same pee schedule is a pain, and if you’re a musician who drinks A LOT of coffee and wears Spanx, there is nothing holier than being able to pull off of the highway without people groaning around you or judging your bladder for not being the size of lake Ontario. The freedom to change your plans on a whim: priceless!
2. People Will Worry About You…Constantly:
“Oh my god! You’re going ALONE?” “Won’t you be SCARED?” ” Won’t you be LONELY?!” “WHAT IF YOU’RE LONELY!?!”
are just a few of the comments I received in the weeks before I left for my first solo tour from family and friends. These comments made me angry, irritated and very anxious. I even received these comments from strangers! Eeessh! It’s hard to stay excited when hit with that! I was so excited planning my first solo tour and these words rolled a dark cloud over me and I really started to doubt my capabilities. I was sitting at my parents house the night before I hit the road crying my eyes out. I am sensitive and a bit of a people pleaser, so I took a lot of it to heart. I can’t help but wonder if male musicians receive these sorts of comments. I think the thought of a young woman out in the world travelling on her own scares people, which I do understand. Turn on any television or radio and you hear awful stories about women who were attacked, raped, pillaged and all of that. I think female musicians can easily mistake the anxiety of others as their own and self sabotage themselves. What saved me from crawling into a hole of self doubt were a the handful of people who pushed me to move outside of my comfort zone. My parents, my boyfriend, my manager and an old boss from a café I worked at. Their supportive words and talks helped push me past my anxiety and onto the road, making me a stronger musician and person all around. Hold onto those people and respectively block those worrysome folks who’s good intentions cause you to doubt how f***ing awesome and capable you really are!
3. The Kindness of Strangers….Accept it and pass it on!
A great thing about being on the road solo is how KIND people are to you! Holy moly. I’ve had more people offer to pay my meals and put me up than I can count. I used to go through life not accepting that kind of help from people. I think I wanted to look strong and do things on my own. Wanting to prove that I can do it all by my little self. I have since realized that by going through life like that doesn’t help you all that much and makes you come across as stuck up. If someone wants to take you out for a meal, LET THEM. It makes them feel good. And make sure you remember this time, and return the favor to someone down the road.
4. “Table For One Please….No Really…It’s just me…No I’m Not Kidding”
You will be doing a lot of things alone. Driving, eating in restaurants, sleeping in hotels, etc… People aren’t used to this, especially when you’re a woman. It can easily cause you to feel lonely if you don’t have a good attitude about it. At every restaurant I go to, I have people say “Are you really by yourself?” and then you get ‘the look’ from tables around you. You know, that looks that says “what’s she running away from?”. I just laugh it off and try and look at the positive side of things. I can sit at a table at a restaurant and do emails on my lap top without having to make small talk (it makes me feel very efficient!) and I can get to a hotel room and REALLY relax with some quiet time to myself. Really appreciate the time alone, because the next time your in a crowded conference room with 1000 other musicians wheeling and dealing, you’ll really appreciate the time you had sitting alone at that café writing a blog post for your website in Wakefield QC last week. xox