Soul Searching on Tour
You don’t “find yourself” on the road. As a full-time independent musician, I can promise you I’ve tried. I’ve spent about a third of my adult life on tour, and am preparing to live out of my car off of merch sales and club guarantees for the next six months. But I’m not preparing for moments of self discovery or newfound wisdom.
Touring is many things. It’s thrilling. It’s addictive. It pays the bills. Sometimes it’s disguised as vacation. However, if there’s a void in your psyche that you hope to remedy by traveling, seeing the world won’t cure you, it will only distract you.
To put it bluntly, imagine dying tomorrow. If you envision a lack of fulfillment, maybe that you regret not fully expressing yourself to your parents or delving deeper into your spiritual beliefs, embarking on a five-week international trek won’t change any of that.
Here’s what will happen on tour.
You’ll meet hitchhikers and pescatarians and minimalists who will expand your mindset. You’ll hear accents you’ve never heard in person before. You’ll taste loganberries and In-N-Out and bison jerky for the first time. You’ll learn to distinguish North Carolina BBQ from South Carolina BBQ and authentic Native American cuisine from touristy gimmicks. In fact you’ll learn a lot of things, like how to wakeboard and home-brew beer and break into football stadiums. You’ll probably have the time of your life.
But eventually you will be standing in your bedroom folding your laundry, and everything will feel more or less the same as when you left. And that’s okay.
The thing about “self discovery” is that it’s vague, elusive, idealized, and simply unrealistic. If you set out on the road with the goal of actualizing yourself, of gaining a perspective that rectifies all the deep-seated conflicts in your life, of suddenly stumbling upon the true essence of morality and God on the California coastline like the climax of a Jack Kerouac novel, you’ll most likely return home disappointed. Unless the only thing left on your bucket list is to drive the Pacific Coast Highway, traveling won’t awaken you.
In my experience, to get the most out of touring, you’re better off looking for moments of joy, new friendships, aesthetic Instagram photos, an appreciation for knowing where your bed is each night, furthering your career, and maybe even some extra cash if you’re fortunate.
And perhaps you’d be best off expecting nothing at all, and seeing where the road takes you.
Andrew Tufano is a performing songwriter with an acoustic pop sound that blends folk and soul influences. He is based in Nashville and tours across the US.
Visit his website: http://www.andrewtufano.com/