Its 1:30pm on a bright sunny Melbourne afternoon and I have only just gotten out of bed. I use the word bed very light as I am actually sleeping on a very thin, scratchy top bunk in an eight-person dorm. I am sharing with seven other men, all from different parts of the world, full of smiles and holiday excitement. We are courteous to each other and mindful of each other's personal space, however at 7am this morning the uncomfortable truth to hostel life reared its ugly head.
I was blissfully swept away in dreamland, dueling with pirates or whipping through the clouds a top a big, white, fluffy dragon, when I was thrust back to reality by the harsh fluorescent lighting that was switched on above my bed. It rammed its merciless glow deep into my corneas, jolting me awake, groggy and disoriented. If that wasn't enough the distributive light was followed by loud, consistent chatter. It seemed that all seven men had decided that they all needed to be up at the same time, all bouncy and awake, ready to face they day and apparently they had felt the need to share this bliss with each other.
I grumbled and tossed and turned, hid under my covers, acted like a stroppy five year old and tried in vain to shut out their utterly distasteful display of joy at that time of morning, but alas the warm grip of 8am had me in its grasp and I was forced to climb (fall) off my top bunk and face the day.
How is it that I find myself in this situation I hear you ask? Well my ever faithful readers I am on tour again. I have been on tour with my one-man show, Confessions of a Grindr Addict, for the better part of six months. Skipping off to this place and that, packing my bag full of props and cloths, cloths that never seem to correspond with my designation's weather, and kiss goodbye to my friends and family.
Sounds like an exciting and adventurous life right? Well it can be, honestly, but there are some days, every so often, that you wonder why you do it.
Touring can be uplifting experience. Every new theatre brings you face to face with new audiences, keen eyes and ears ready to soak up your story. Each one reacts differently to your story, laughter in places you never thought were funny, some like to call out their response and others will remain silent, connected with the piece but choosing to respond with a quiet smile.
New friends are made everywhere you go. I've met some of my closets friends on tour, some fellow performers, technicians, venue managers or just people I approached in a bar. I love the freeness that comes with touring, you feel more open to just walking up to someone and saying "Hi" or joining in on conversations happening around you. You find a boldness that is sometimes forgotten in your day-to-day, 9 to 5 life.
New locations bring new adventures too. I have had a blissful opportunity to visit places in my country and around the world. Places that come with unique experiences and history. I have seen amazing Melbourne architecture, travelled under Edinburgh to discover worlds lost to time, seen how perceived "rough around the edges" Newcastle can be a haven for people of all walks of life. Adventures and opportunities that would have just remained undiscovered had I never hit the road.
There is, however, a loneliness that comes with an adventurous life. Each new place can, at first, leave you unsettled. Everything feels foreign, the locals have a way of being that your not accustom to. You feel dislodged, people are walking n all different directions but you don't know where to go or which crowd to follow. The familiar comforts, your routines are gone.
Its an exciting change yes, but there are times, more than you care to admit, that you find yourself standing on a street corner totally at a loss of where to go. People brush by, eyes gazing past you, through you, people bustling on with purpose, no one noticing that your there, lost, tired, wondering where to go and why.
The why of a tour can hang heavily on your shoulders. They can send you broke, with little hope of a profitable return. Some audiences can be less accepting of your work, sullen faces or rolled eyes greet you as you take to the stage and there are even those times when you find yourself back stage, leaning on a wall, thinking "I can't, I actually can't go out there and say those words again, no not tonight, I just can't." These nights are rare, just a tired, irritated reaction to your surrounds, your dislodged traveller life.
Ultimately though as an artist you have little choice but to tour, not because of money or fame, well not for me anyway, but because of the desire, the joy. I love to share my story, to take to the stage and share a moment with those who have come to listen. I often feel that I owe it to the story, to be told, not to fade away and stay locked in my laptop but to be told. So many stories burst to life then fade away, left to smolder on the embers of opportunities untaken.
I don't think that I could stop touring now, even though I long for the comforts found outside of an eight person dorm hostel room, there are too many places unvisited, too many adventures untaken and too many stories yet to be told.