vinceconaway: (Default)
I'm a big believer in the power of luck. I've made many decisions over the years, creative and professional, but the biggest have often been leaps of opportunity. Last night I made another one.

I'm on a mailing list for bargain airfare, Scott's Cheap Flights, and when a winter/spring Europe sale was announced I jumped. I immediately scrapped my tentatively planned February southwestern US tour and brainstormed a southeastern Italy tour in its place. The cheapest airfare on the list was in Philadelphia, so I manically messaged a few friends inquiring about parking for the month and once I had a few viable options I booked the flight.

The whole process took almost exactly one hour, including the walk I took to clear my head.

This is me in a nutshell, making snap decisions to take advantage of opportunities. Also me, of course, will be seven months of second guessing until I'm in the seat of that plane, but I'm decisive in the moment. And this trip wasn't entirely out of the blue, it solves the conundrum I've been considering of how to return to the hottest part of Italy during the summers I have earmarked for European travel. Preparation meets opportunity and bam!

I'm not standing still I am lying in wait.
vinceconaway: (Default)
Honestly, I'm kind of boring. I wake up around 6:30, spend a while puttering around online and reading a lot of news analysis, and hop into the shower around eight. I putter some more, head out, have breakfast at a cafe, and play for a few hours. I grab groceries on my way home, eat a lunch of bread, fruit, and lunch meat and/or cheese. I take a nap, and have an afternoon walk. I play another few hours in the evening before eating the remainder of my bread, fruit, lunch meat and/or cheese for supper, and take an evening stroll before curling up with a book.

On my day off, when I'm neither playing nor traveling, replace the music with more walks and museums. I don't do much that's really interesting, but I'm deeply thankful that I get to enjoy my routine in some really, really cool places.

London

May. 23rd, 2017 11:34 am
vinceconaway: (Default)
What an amazing trip. It's been a week and I'm still marvelling.

I turned forty a few months ago, and to celebrate midlife I made the decision to double down on my traveling. So I spent the beginning of the year busking my way around Chile before heading to Peru to spend the big day in Machu Picchu.

I also scheduled a 3-month European tour for the summer, two months in familiar Italy, a few weeks in too-long-neglected Croatia, and a week breaking new ground in Bosnia. And then I learned that my favourite musician was hosting Lost Evenings, a 4-night concert series in London.

Frank Turner writes about life on the road in a way I've never heard from any other artist. From the glories of travel to the challenges of friendship and the disintegration of relationships, he covers it all, and he's an expert because his tour schedule makes me look like a homebody. And I was scheduled to be an $80 EasyJet flight (round trip!) away from one of his performing highlights.

Of course I bought it. I ruthlessly budgeted out the costs, and decided to see the final two nights (Sunday and Monday) so I would still have 3/4 of a weekend to busk before heading out. I caught a 5:30am train to Milan after a very short night of anxious sleep, grabbed a shuttle bus from the train station to the Linate airport, flew into London, grabbed a train into the city, wandered around a bit, checked into my hotel (Hotwire found me a 3-star room for just a few dollars more than a hostel bed), and took a nap.

And then had my mind blown by the best concert I've ever seen.

Sunday was acoustic night, where Frank headlined with a solo show following Beans on Toast (who I'd seen open for Frank in New York in 2015) and Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit. It was incredible. I'm not a big fan of the acoustic versions Frank has recorded, but live they were breathtaking. His song introductions were intimate and vulnerable and everything I could have wanted from a favourite artist. He truly captured the flavour of an open-mic night in a venue of over 3000 people.

Monday found me again wandering London, meeting up with an old friend for drinks before the show. Skinny Lister opened for Frank, a band I fell in love with when they also opened for him in NYC in 2015 then whose Brooklyn concert I had caught the following Thursday, and who I saw headline a small show in New Orleans last fall. It was a fantastic concert and I hugged a stranger at Frank's prompting, but I don't think anything will ever compare to that "Sensible Sunday Revival" lineup the night before.

I took a long stroll around the city before flying out early Tuesday afternoon, and I was thrilled to discover my budget had been dead-on. Of course, I splurged on meals and a concert t-shirt (which I never buy but which was too good a commemoration to pass up), but the credit card statement is a problem for August. The entire experience was a case study in how to feel alive.
vinceconaway: (Default)
From Chile to Peru to Ohio to Texas, it's been an intense few weeks. Most importantly, I've gone from two months alone to being surrounded by friends and family. It's quite a difference, and one I'm enjoying very much.

I have a lot of tribe here in Texas, both working at the Sherwood Forest Faire and among Austin-area locals. There are hugs, conversations, and delightful flirtations floating around me and I've been immersed to my eyebrows. It is good to know I'm loved.

Homecoming

Mar. 7th, 2017 08:42 am
vinceconaway: (Default)
Air travel is always a little surreal, even now. It adds a dreamlike haze to the trip I've just taken, and I looked through my photos to reassure myself that it really happened. Of course, that might also be the sleep deprivation.

It's an unfamiliar feeling, traveling such a long distance almost due north. South America has a big benefit to my, as a traveler, that jet lag isn't an issue. Certainly, today will be difficult since they served us a meal around 3, my body was ready to be awake at 6:30 as always, and the time in between wasn't necessarily the most restful experience for all my impression of being in a coma. Still, I've been sleep deprived before, and found that it's a strangely gentler experience since having given up caffeine.

With my layover and connection, I should get home around 3, just in time for the perfect afternoon nap. With no time zone shift, I hold out hope for a pleasant evening and a productive tomorrow. And, of course, catching up on a few movies before they go out of the theatres: Lego Batman is up tomorrow and I'll catch Logan sometime in the next week.

I've got a few days in Ohio, and looking at my schedule I'm pleased with my planning. I'll have all Wednesday and Thursday to get my ducks in a row before heading south on Friday morning, catching an overnight in southern Tennessee or northern Alabama, and rolling into Hattiesburg, MS on Saturday afternoon. I'm headed to the Gulf Wars SCA event, but not to camp; it seemed silly to haul so much SCA gear in my car for six weeks with only four days at the event, so I'm day tripping from a local Airbnb. I'm curious to see how that goes.

From Gulf I head onward to the Sherwood Forest Faire outside Austin. I'm very excited to be back, especially with all the friends I made last year; after a few months of delightful isolation I'm ready to be a social creature again. Then I'll head back up north in order to catch a flight to Europe May 2, for a three-month tour. I deliberately decided to push myself this year, partly in celebration of my fortieth birthday and partly in defiance of it. I still love what I'm doing and this is my way of redoubling my commitment.

Interestingly, the past week has shown that I'm not very good at vacationing; I enjoyed the rhythm and flow of my tour much more when I was building my daily schedule around work. In addition to the social contact provided by interacting with my audience, I appreciate my recreation time a lot more when there's less of it to overwhelm me. That's not to say I didn't enjoy my week off, but in hindsight four days would have been a better choice. Noted for the future.

So that's the status of the Vince. On a plane, introspective and, as always, with one eye on the past and the other on the future with too little appreciation for the present. Let's make the magic happen.

Daily Life

Feb. 21st, 2017 04:11 pm
vinceconaway: (Default)
Living on the road is very different than vacationing. This is true in general, but especially when I'm traveling abroad.

I typically eat out of grocery stores, for example, even if I'm not doing the sort of light cooking that I do in the States. Eating out every day is not only detrimental to the budget, but brutal for health. It was important to acquire, early in my travels, the skill to pick up affordable picnic basics and build a long-term diet from staples such as bread, fruit, and cheese.

And then there is my daily schedule. I tend to work for 4 hours a day on those days when I'm playing, with five hours or so between my first and second sets. This leaves me part of the morning, midday, and the early evening to myself. I take a lot of rambling walks as my main recreation, but often I'll hit a museum or other tourist attraction in the afternoon. However, because of my schedule, there's typically only room for one.

It's by routines such as these that I've built a life for myself on the road, where it doesn't matter how frequently the scenery changes because the basic elements of my day rarely do.
vinceconaway: (Default)
Well, technically the halfway point was a few days ago, but I haven't really had the motivation to write recently. The trip is a real whirlwind, and I'm a little dizzy for it. I'm having a pretty great experience, though, and I'm quite pleased with how things are going. I'm already tentatively writing itineraries for future Chile tours, and I would like to make them a recurring part of my schedule.

There have been setbacks, of course. The PVC couplings I use for joints on my portable dulcimer stand weren't up to snuff, but I figured out a way to use tape on their insides to create a subtle fix. I'm rather pleased with that bit of ingenuity even as I'm a little miffed I hadn't thought to test the new setup before flying ten thousand miles with it.

I'm stressed, of course. Bus travel here is quite comfortable but a bit haphazardly organized. I haven't missed one yet, but I'm never confident until I'm on board and I've been confirmed that I'm in the right place. My language proficiency is stepping back for every step forward, and every day that I feel confident is matched by another day when I feel continually bewildered and lost. There's a race at my temples between my greying hair and receding hairline, and I always come back from overseas tours feeling like I've aged at an accelerated pace while I'm gone. But while I'm here, living on the balls of my feet and adapting to surprises, I feel very much alive. And if past is prelude, when I come home to familiar surroundings I'll feel incredibly powerful for having been away.
vinceconaway: (Default)
I'm torn between disbelief that it's only been two weeks and that it's already been two weeks. I'm covering ground like I've never done before, changing cities every 3-4 days. It was a good choice based on my previous South American experience, where I was several times tripped up by local anti-busking regulations but then stuck for a week because the economics of a long bus ride and losing a room deposit were greater than potential busking profits. Still, it's starting to get tiring.

I think I may take the weekend off. I've had a remarkably successful time so far, and I've sold more than half my CDs less than a third into the tour. Valparaiso, Concepcion, Temuco, and Valdivia were all very good to me, and today I rolled into Villarica.

That trip is itself a bit of a tale, with a bus breaking down part way and an hourlong wait before another bus came along with standing room only. I'm rather pleased at how that came out, honestly, because it shows a lot of personal growth on my part. Earlier in my travel experiences I might have meekly accepted the word of my driver and waited for further instruction, but I was a little more insistent this time and it worked in my favour. As a bonus, after twenty minutes the guy seated beside me got off the bus, opening up the seat and leading to a delightful conversation with Marlena, a Chilean-American who was traveling to meet distant relatives.

So into Villarica I rolled, and it was an interesting experience. The city is lovely, though much smaller and more touristic than anyplace I've yet been. Most interestingly, from a professional point of view, the buskers I've grown accustomed to are entirely absent. After several cities where amplified bands are not uncommon street corner ornamentation, it seems a little odd not to have encountered a single one. This makes me a little hesitant to try my hand and, while in years past I've brazened my way into things with a philosophy of "ask forgiveness, not permission" I don't really want to push my luck. An interesting counterpoint to my experience on the bus.

And I do rather want a break. I'm ahead of my projections, and while I embrace an attitude of "make hay when the sun is shining", I'm about to spend ten of the next fourteen days in now-familiar territory that has been good to me. It may be time to catch my breath for a bit.
vinceconaway: (Default)
I'm having an interning time, operating in my third language. I'm doing pretty OK, and it's starting to feel more natural as I continue, but there are still holdups. For one thing, Italian is a huge help until it isn't. There are a few simple rules to remember and I can often convincingly fake a word using its Italian equivalent. When that doesn't work, though, it really doesn't work, and what I find most frustrating is when a noun changes gender. It's not hard for me to remember that "orecchio" becomes "orejo", except that it's actually "oreja". Drives me up the wall.

The differences are interesting in other ways, as well. Spanish has a multitude of ways to call something attractive, where Italian gets a lot of mileage out of "bella". With "bonita, linda, hermosa", Spanish has a lot of ground covered. And their word for musical tuning gives me great pleasure, "afinar", "to make fine" (as in fine art). Italians are differently poetic, saying "acordare", "to make agree".

To sum up, I'm really enjoying pushing my limits when it comes to language. I'm learning a lot in a short time, and it's really intense. ¡Salud!
vinceconaway: (Default)
It has been a truly wonderful day, performing in Concepcion for the first time. The city is built for busking, and is filled with buskers, but despite their numbers and their amplification I found ample spaces to perform. I had a lot of fun and did quite well for myself, but at the end of the day one memory stands out.

A little girl, maybe six years old, had been handed money by her parents to toss into my hat. I thanked her and made my typical half bow, and she responded with an absolutely florid bow in return. I've been grinning about it ever since.

Santiago!

Jan. 11th, 2017 07:58 pm
vinceconaway: (Default)
What a day it has been!

My plane landed in Santiago shortly before 10am and I cleared customs and immigration with no hassle. I caught a shuttle bus into the city and checked in to my hostel for the night. It's the only night of the tour where I'll be sleeping in a dorm, and it's been fun getting to know some fellow travellers. It's quite a mixed group, surprisingly close to my own age and including a professor and quite a few hikers.

The bed wasn't ready when I arrived, so I left my things and went for a few hours of walking through the city. It was surreal because I know I've been here and spent the night, but absolutely nothing about the city is familiar whatsoever. It feels like total Terra Incognita, and I've enjoyed exploring with a fresh eye. Tomorrow I head to Valparaiso, which I expect to be more familiar since I spent a delightful week there in 2014.

I spent a bit of time today reassembling my dulcimer; I slack the strings for air travel. Its builder has laughed at my abundance of caution, but it makes for much less stressful flights to know that my baby is completely unencumbered and is built to withstand 3000 pounds of tension. In a very rare occurrence, both my flights (CLE>ATL and ATL>SCL) were large enough aircraft that I was able to bring the dulcimer on board with me. Quite often the domestic leg is in a smaller plane and I need to gate check it with the strollers. If I'd known it would be overhead luggage the whole route I might not have spent the time taking the tension out of the strings, but gate checking is always at the last minute and I like to be prepared.

I feel quite well! With only a two-hour time difference I have no jet lag, just fatigue from a very fitful night in a small space. It could have been worse, of course, since I had an empty seat beside me which I shared with the woman on the other side of it so we could both spread out a little. I'm taking it as a good omen for the tour that on a pretty full flight I got such a luxury.

Of course, now that I've arrived I'm realizing my packing mistakes. I forgot sunblock, which was easily rectified at a corner pharmacy (though not before I got a little sun on my afternoon wander). More interestingly, I brought too many dark shirts. I'm used to coordinating outfits with jeans, but this time I decided to adopt a more formal look with black slacks and I probably should have taken that into account when choosing the rest of my clothes. I did run across a gentleman in a similar outfit, however, and his look screamed "musician" so I think I'll be OK.

My phone says that my "strolls" involved 11 miles of walking today, so I'm calling that a win. I certainly feel I've got a better grip on the city, and maybe it'll be a bit less foreign the next time I turn up. Tomorrow I'm off to Valparaiso, the standout city of my 2014 South America tour!

Anxiety

Jan. 9th, 2017 09:42 am
vinceconaway: (Default)
My plane leaves tomorrow for South America and I'm rather nervous. I've been to Chile before, and one reason I scheduled the trip the way I did was to have three weekends in my favourite and most successful busking city from my previous tour. Still, it is a place where I witnessed a theft of a woman's camera from off her shoulder, and has a reputation for being on the dangerous side.

A lot of my anxiety is less serious, though. I'm mainly concerned about catching buses, since the websites haven't let me purchase tickets ahead of time. I'm about to try again, at least for the two buses that are most important for my timing: nights when I haven't booked lodging because I'm planning on an overnight ride. Even so, the crossing into Peru is a bit tricky. From what I can tell, in guidebooks and online fora, the way to do it is to catch an informal taxi (colectivo) across the border to Tacna, and then grab whatever buses I can to Cuzco. Happily, I've had the foresight to give myself three days to manage any delays before I head out to Macchu Picchu, the most timing-sensitive plan of the trip.

So I head back into the void, taking the leap once more. It's a reason I savour travel as much as I do; it forces me to live in the moment and dance to the tune of circumstance. It's brutal on my psyche, but I never feel more alive.
vinceconaway: (Default)
I'm looking over my repertoire and putting together lists of music that needs work in the next few days before I go to Chile. I've been focused on the upcoming 2018 recording session, so I've been writing, arranging, learning, and retaining new material; but now I need to switch gears. In South America I anticipate that I'll mainly be playing original music, with some renaissance and baroque added for flavour, but I've only got about 20 of my songs performance ready at any given time. If I can add another dozen worthy-but-forgotten pieces into the mix then life will go a lot more smoothly for me.

I'm well into crossing t's and dotting i's.
vinceconaway: (Default)
I leave for Chile a week from today, and it's a bit intimidating even as I'm knocking out chores left and right. (Emails to festivals? Check! Income taxes? Check! Sales tax filings for $0 in states I haven't worked lately but that impose non-filing penalties? Check!) I'm wondering about what I may be missing, as well as the anxiety over the many things that could go wrong.

Plus, I'm looking further into the future. Do I want to return to the US via Milan or Munich this summer? Come back right before Pennsic or into the thick of it, giving myself an extra weekend of busking at the expense of treasured down time? Do the Holborn Praeludia look like a better fit for the 2018 or the 2022 albums? (Yes, I really do think that far ahead, and the 2020 album is set firmly enough in my mind to know they wouldn't be appropriate there.)

It's a whirlwind, and I'm looking forward to the moment when my butt hits the airplane seat. I stress beforehand, but once I'm strapped in my perspective changes and my anxiety drops as I focus less on what might happen and more on what is actually happening.

I'm looking forward to it.
vinceconaway: (Default)
I was caught by surprise with several events in 2016, so I'm looking to make fewer assumptions and have fewer expectations in the new year. Happily, I'll be spending much of 2017 abroad, where I excel at living on my toes.

One reason I enjoy traveling is because of the person it brings out in me. As a touring busker I'm well aware that anything can happen, and I embrace possibilities even as I dance among them. As someone who sees recognizing opportunities as his most essential skill, travel is my best mental exercise, and upon every return I feel recharged from having left.

And so, as I make my wishes and resolutions for the coming year, I'm keeping that mental flexibility foremost in my goals. Happy new year!
vinceconaway: (Default)
I know it's been a hard year for a lot of people, but personally it's treated me fairly well even as I mourn for various people and events. I'd like to thank everyone who made this year so good for my music and travels; it's been a very full year for me, and I can't believe so much has happened in a mere twelve months.

I began the year in southern Ontario, Canada, recording Dulce Melos. I'm incredibly proud of how it came out, and of how ambitious I was with the complexity of its music. I continued my Baroque explorations, delved even further into sixteenth century music, and discovered some fourteenth- and fifteenth-century gems in addition to the Celtic and early medieval music which has long been my foundation.

From Canada I went to Texas, although it minimized my culture shock that I was living in Austin (unofficial motto: "Keep Austin Weird"). I had a truly splendid experience at the Sherwood Forest Medieval Faire, feeling myself absolutely at home among close friends old and new. It's a delightful show with a lot of heart and skill behind it and I relished the experience of playing there. Austin audiences were incredibly welcoming and generous, and between my colleagues and our patrons I had a magical time.

From the newness of Sherwood I returned to my stomping grounds of Gulf Wars, a large SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event in southern Mississippi. I had a great time, as my Canadian friends mingled with those I have in New Orleans. We did have a bit of an incident, however, with a massive storm system that swept through. I had just begun a set in the tavern when the intense winds and driving rains began, and I moved my setup to the minstrels' gallery (it's an amazing place). I spent the next few hours at my dulcimer, doing my best to add a bit of calm to the atmosphere. They're calling that night "Gulfnado", and it's a story that will always be shared by those who were there.

I then headed to Italy as I do most years, where I made some discoveries pro and con. Cities that have been good to me in the past, Padua and Bologna, had recently passed anti-busking regulations, and even the nominally friendly city of Perugia gave me some problems. In response, I broadened my busking to cities where I had spent very little time in the past, and was very pleased at my welcome in Prato, Terni, Foligno, and Pistoia. Taranto, Genoa, and Pisa were delightful and reliable as they've been so often in the past, and I'm pleased to have added Foggia to the list of cities where I reliably return.

From Italy I resumed my renaissance festival circuit, picking up in St Louis. I always feel very at home there, with this being my fifteenth year there as a musician, but it was a bit of an oddity; the festival is in the process of moving from the spring to the fall, and these two weekends were "preview" weekends offering a limited version of the show free to the public. Even so, I had a really positive experience, and the weekends were a rousing success.

I then spent a month performing at SCA camping events. It's typical for me to include a few of these throughout my year, as with Gulf Wars, but we were celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Society's founding. This meant that I went from St Louis to a ten-day camping event outside Kansas City, and on to a week outside Indianapolis, with a few days visiting my parents before a long weekend at the War of the Trillium surrounded by my family of friends in Greater Toronto.

I then continued my Canadian adventures by spending July as a street performer at Byward Market in Ottawa, the nation's capital. I love Ottawa and, as is a theme in my travels, have a number of friends there. It's my favourite busking pitch in North America, as a historic neighbourhood meets a farmers market under the umbrella of a very helpful and organized management team.

I returned to the States, and to the SCA, for my annual trek to Pennsic, north of Pittsburg. My fifteenth year there, I'm starting to play for the children of people who started listening to me as children, themselves. I taught a class on neat medieval sites to visit in Italy, and I was honoured to co-teach a lesson on street performing with my old friejnd and dear colleague Jack Strauss, who calls himself Dr Henry Best in the Society. We have sharply different styles, and it was a lot of fun to see where our perspectives differed and lined up. I'm especially proud to be a part of this class because it has a history of encouraging artists to become professionals, with several alumni who have gone on to make some brilliant art.

I'm running out of creative ways to say "and then I went someplace else".

So off to the New York Renaissance Faire rode I! It's a truly beautiful show set in a former botanical garden, where I'm surrounded by (you guessed it) good friends, delightedly playing for New Yorkers who live in the live entertainment capital of the world and know how to be a phenomenal audience.

Sadly, the New York Faire overlaps with the new autumn dates of the St Louis Renaissance Festival, but I was able to return for the last two weekends of its season. As I mentioned, the preview weekends had gone off very well, and the full show was an even bigger deal.

After two weekends off, which I spent being a social butterfly in southern Ontario again, I headed south to Louisiana. This was my fourteenth year at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, after a very difficult year for them. The site flooded in March, under 8 feet of water, and after they had cleaned it up did so again in September. I was deeply impressed at how many people pitched in their labour to make things work, and how well management pulled off the event after two such disasters. Thankfully the weather had gotten the water out of its system, because we only had one wet festival day the entire season for a remarkably good run.

In short, it's been a very good festival season for me. Outside of my live performances, however, I also got a lot more into Internet video this year. I launched a Patreon campaign and I'm very pleased both at its generous reception and with how much fun I'm having. I've been intending to take more video, and this has been a brilliant motivation to keep coming up with new variations. Many thanks to all of my patrons! And many thanks to everyone who has offered me encouragement, feedback, applause, and their business. Without you there could never be me, and I'm deeply thankful.
vinceconaway: (Default)
I'm booked through July, here's where you can find me!

January 10 - March 7
Busking tour of South America (Santiago de Chile, Valparaiso, Concepcion, Temuco, Valdivia, Villarrica, Vina del Mar, Antofagasta, Calama, Arica, Cusco, and Lima)

March 12 - 16
Gulf Wars (SCA)
Hattiesburg, MS

March 17 - April 9
Weekends
Sherwood Forest Faire
Bastrop, TX

May 2 - July 27
Busking tour of Europe (Genoa, Vicenza, Cremona, Modena, Orvieto, Gubbio, Foligno, Pisa, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Split, Rijeka, Ljubljana)

July 30 - August 4
Pennsic War (SCA)
Slippery Rock, PA
vinceconaway: (Default)
I've solidified my Chile tour details! I spent a few hours last week with my guidebook and previous research, and I strung together a bunch of cities and dates in a way that looks like a feasible tour. My Patreon patrons got to see this last week, since they're a big help in keeping me on the road, but I'm excited to share details with the general public!

January 10: depart Cleveland

January 11: arrive Santiago de Chile

January 12: arrive Valparaiso and the real beginning of the tour

Janaury 16: travel south to Concepcion

January 19: Temuco

January 23: Valdivia (northern edge of Patagonia)

January 26: Villarica

Janaury 30: back in Concepcion

February 2: back in Valparaiso

February 6: Vina del Mar

February 9: third weekend in Valparaiso (the city was the highlight of my 2014 South America tour and a big reason I chose Chile)

February 13: travel north to Copiapo

February 16: Calama

February 20: Iquique (I know I can't busk there because of city law, but the place looks stunning)

February 23: Arica

February 28: Cuzco, Peru

March 2: Day trip, Macchu Picchu and happy birthday to me!

March 4: Lima

March 7: 2am departure back to Cleveland

I'm getting really excited!
vinceconaway: (Default)
It's funny, but I've been conceptualizing my return to Chile for so long that is hasn't felt real. Ever since I caught a bus out of Valparaiso in 2014 it has been my intention to return, and even buying a plane ticket didn't add much more than typical money anxiety.

But now I've got an itinerary and I've started booking housing. For some reason, the reality of the trip only starts to really come together in my mind once I've done all my googling for busking info, when I've read my guidebook and marked the places to go, and when I've looked at bus routes in order to map out a progression from city to city in a way that makes practical sense. So now I have it, and it feels like A Thing. I'll let you in on the details next week; I want to give my Patreon patrons a bit of a head start on the details since they're helping finance the trip.

Interestingly, the high-profile Macchu Pichu visit isn't really my focus. At a friend's prodding, for which I'm grateful, I've explored my options to get there beyond just putting the nearby city of Cuzco onto the appropriate part of my calendar, and I've asked my parents for a very luxurious Christmas/birthday present to bring the details together. Beyond that, I'm too busy focusing on January to really give my full attention yet to March.

Don't get me wrong, I expect to be floored by the ruins and I've heard legends from fellow travelers. Still, the busking side of things is what really gets my creative juices flowing, possibly because I unhealthfully define myself through my work. Regardless, I've worked through the first phase of anxiety (though I'm sure there will be others), and now I'm eager and ready!
vinceconaway: (Default)
A lot has changed as I've grown older, and my driving habits are a fascinating example.

When I was 24 I spent six weeks commuting between Cincinnati and Tampa, fourteen hours each way. I was in grad school, taking classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, performing at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival Saturdays and Sundays, and driving Mondays and Fridays. It was brutal, and the next year gas prices and creative problem solving encouraged me to switch to airplanes.

As my body has aged I've noticed that my capabilities for such drives aren't what they once were. More importantly, I no longer have the will to force myself to undertake such misery. I'm at a fortunate place where I can afford a few $50 hotel rooms throughout the year, and I schedule around that.

I rarely drive more than nine hours in a day, and never more than eleven. I'm more willing to take breaks than I was in my twenties, enjoying a stroll around a rest area and maybe indulging in a handstand for blood flow to wake me up. And I'm liberal with allowing myself the aforementioned hotel rooms.

Oddly, however, I noticed today that some of these changes don't seem to be one way. I only started drinking coffee in my early thirties, and recent bouts of TMJ-related jaw issues have caused me to quit caffeine entirely once again; apparently my thirties were the buzzing decade. Today I drove over eight hours and I reverted to form, with only a single gas/lunch/bathroom stop at midday. It seems there was a different variable at work.

Now I'm questioning other assumptions about my aging process. This could be fun!

August 2017

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