There’s no question that the road can drive anyone a little “batty”, but there are so many positives that can be taken from the experience, you must never lose sight of that! Like I said in my last blog, I always have tried to take away the best I could from road experiences, such as visiting museums, getting into the local color, visiting thrift shops, you name it. But the real thing is the people. I can truly say that the best impressions I’ve ever been left with from any given place are it’s people, and how I was able to connect with them.
Some of the most fulfilling experiences in this regard were the many clinics I have done, which I love to call being on the “campaign trail!” I call it this because that’s just how it feels. I’m there playing, talking, telling stories, and then afterwards there’s always the “meet and greet” aspect of it, where I get to really talk to and feel the presence of the folks I’ve been entertaining, and to get their feedback. One thing I truly love is to see how appreciative people can be when they know you are there with them, and that it took a lot to get you there! I don’t think there was ever a clinic I did in Australia where the first question from the audience didn’t begin with “first we want to thank you for coming this far!”
It’s very rewarding for sure, but the grind can really get to you. You have to be very careful about how you pace yourself on the road. I can remember thinking I was having just a fine, normal time out there on tour when I first did a really big one, but when I got back home I was agitated and snapping at everyone, and wasn’t really myself at all. I knew right away that the road had gotten to me in ways I didn’t even realize! When I did my Australian tour, it was great fun, but I can remember the man who brought me there telling me “we won’t let your feet touch the ground!’ Well, he was literally telling the truth, as every day began with an early morning flight to a new city, immediate non-stop radio interviews, then TV interviews, live TV and radio performances, magazine and newspaper interviews, one hour to eat dinner, one hour to get ready for my clinic, and then, the clinic itself! Not to mention all the socializing afterwards!! Then I’d have to be sure to get a good night’s sleep, because I’d have to be up and at ‘em again by 6AM for another flight! Good thing the tour was preceded by a week in Tahiti, and finished with a week on Dunk Island, in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia! At least the promoter of the tour knew and understood about keeping me “sane on the road!”