In last week’s blog post Why I Don’t Tour (Very Much), I gave a long explanation that basically boiled down to, I don’t tour because I don’t like to. But some of you responded and asked if I’d give a more in-depth answer on the “why” part. Here it is.
People say follow your dreams. I agree. But it’s a little more complicated than that, right? Because following your dreams assumes you know who you are. Sure, they’re related, but if you’re solid on the first part, the second part is easier. But for many of us, we figure out the first part long after we’ve been chasing our dreams down a road that maybe isn’t quite the right fit for who we are.
I was already way down the, let’s call it the “Touring Artist” road, before I realized three things:
- Community and family mean the most to me. As soon as I realized that, it was nearly impossible to reconcile it with a life of touring. It’s extremely difficult to be tied to family and local community when you’re always gone. That’s obvious. You miss the little things. And the little things add up over time. Sure, you can try make it for birthdays, anniversaries, and those big life moments. You can even FaceTime, etc. But what about the times when you’re just sitting around on a normal Tuesday evening and somebody says something, and you all start laughing? It’s hard to explain, because, as they say, I guess you had to be there.
- I struggle with anxiety and depression. Touring exacerbated both, but they were also part of the cause. I used to go hide out in bathrooms before a show, splash water on my face and try to gain composure before going on stage. I thought I was going crazy. I kind of was, because I’d started to normalize those feelings and experiences in my head. It wasn’t a sustainable trajectory. Thankfully, over 10 years ago I got help. Whenever I tour now, I have better tools to deal with it in a healthy way.
- “Doing music” doesn’t have to look a certain way. Let’s say you’re a carpenter. You can do a lot of different things within the construction industry. You don’t have to build houses. You could be a trim carpenter. You could build canoes or beautiful custom paddles like my friend Josh. You could do a lot of things. The music industry is like that. But I thought in order to be a successful musician I needed to write songs, tour, and hopefully end up on the Tonight Show. But that’s not true. Just because I was a carpenter didn’t mean I had to build houses.