THE LONG HAUL: Preparing for Tour
Photo by Michelle Patrick Photography via Getty Images
This week I’ve been at home trying to prepare for this spring season, which will largely be happening in transit as I embark on a months-long album release tour. I often find the preparation phase for a big tour much more anxiety-inducing than the actual being on tour phase. This time, as my imposter syndrome begins to scream at me in the midst of an album release, I’ve been clinging to planning and to-do lists. I find myself writing these lists over and over, as if the act of writing down all that I need to do will absolve me of the intense vulnerability at the root of my stressful dreams. If I can just check off all the things on the list, it will be OK!
So, although I have no advice for getting over crippling self-doubt or stress dreams about packing in a loop until you miss your flight, I can share with you some of the items on my tour to-do list!
I like to take the time between long tours to check in on all my instruments the same way I would with my van. Time for a tune-up!
My banjo has been sounding less than ideal lately, and having a lot of trouble staying in tune, so I upgraded my budget tuner pedal to a higher-quality one and brought my banjo over to my friend Frank Evans, who gave it a once-over, including tightening the head tension and adjusting the bridge. I’m happy to report that it is now singing!
As I shared here last month, my guitar was broken on my last trip to Glasgow, so after the gracious folks at Pre-War guitars got it fixed, I have been searching for a better flight case for this trip, lest my guitar receives the same treatment in the hold!
And my van has decided that it no longer wants to open from the inside of the driver’s door or blow cool air out of two of the four front vents. Why? I have no idea. It’s haunted, or it hates me. Anyway, I’ve got it booked into the shop for when I’m in the UK so that it will be ready before I start the US dates, but I won’t be without it for this week when I need to run errands.
Tour is a weird state of being; it’s not a vacation, but you also don’t have access to much of your normal self-care, like working out at a gym or getting a haircut. I try to think ahead when it comes to this, to avoid feeling physically and emotionally destroyed throughout my travels.
I haven’t owned glasses in a while, and I’ve been abusing my eyeballs on these international flights by wearing my contact lenses for far too long. On my list this week was to get some new glasses, which required a lot of research since I needed a quick turnaround. I ended up calling my last eye doctor for my prescription and ordering from Eye Buy Direct, which offers certain styles with a two-day turnaround. Not bad!
I’m definitely getting a haircut. Keeping up with my bangs is especially hard and I often do ill-advised “self-trims” while traveling. If I can schedule myself in before a long tour I’ll ask for a shorter-than-usual trim knowing that I need it to look decent while growing out a little.
I had a telehealth appointment with my doctor and made sure all of my prescriptions were filled for 90 days with a refill. I’ve often had trouble keeping up with this because it can be hard to get an appointment in the 1-2 day window I might be home. Now I always try to schedule telehealth and ask for 90-day supplies, etc.
I will also be going through my closet and seeing what I want to wear. I’ve gotten into the habit of swinging by Buffalo Exchange every few months to change out some old clothes for something updated on a budget. It puts a little bounce in my step to have something new to wear on stage and keeps me from looking the same in every photo and video.
I’m trying to visit with as many friends as I can, knowing that these relationships will be neglected for a few months while I’m traveling nonstop. Nashville is an understanding community, since folks are used to popping in and out of town, but I have learned that if I don’t put the effort in while I’m home, I can easily come back to a very lonely existence. When people are used to you being gone, it’s easy to feel like you have no friends and everyone has forgotten about you. Putting in the off-tour time and attention also applies to family, including my husband!
Now back to my regularly scheduled programming of writing (and re-writing) my to-do lists before my plane takes off tomorrow night!