Are you crazy about traveling? Do you wish you could travel more? I’ve always wanted to experience world travel and, though I haven’t had that opportunity yet, I was lucky enough to travel all over the United States and throughout Canada for twelve years performing with my family in the band Redhead Express. To be perfectly honest, when we first got off the road a little over a year ago, I was really looking forward to getting to experience a more “normal” life: having a schedule, having more time to just be mom, not racing across the country to make our next show, etc. In a lot of ways, this shift has been just what we needed, however, I REALLY miss traveling! Maybe covid is partly responsible, but I have got a serious case of wanderlust. Just ask Kelly – every week there’s a new place that we have got to visit this year. Realistically speaking though, my plan is to start local and explore the amazing things there are to see and do right here in Utah, and then we’ll see if we can throw a couple bigger trips in there this year too. For right now, I’ll reminisce on some of the things I miss about being on the road full time.
1. Discovering new places:
I love waking up in the morning in a place I’ve never been before. There’s something magical about not knowing what’s right outside the door, especially when we would drive through the night, so I literally had no clue where we were. I love setting out to discover what makes a place unique – hiking new trails, experiencing local fairs and festivals, tasting new foods, jamming with the local musicians, etc. Sure, there’s plenty to explore close to where you live, but it’s thrilling to be in a completely new town or city for the first time.
2. Meeting new people:
I’ve had the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life. People with different accents and from various backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, political beliefs and vocations. I didn’t realize how small my circle of friends was growing up in Palmer, AK. I don’t mean that in a bad way…I had an amazing group of friends, many of whom I still keep in touch with today. But my view of the world and of people was so limited because I just didn’t have any experience outside of my little box. It isn’t something you can learn just by reading about it either. It took leaving home to realize just how big the world is. We sang in churches of all denominations, schools, fairs & festivals, theaters, and the occasional bar, interacting with thousands and thousands of people. I learned that people are generally good. People that hardly knew us opened up their homes and hearts to us, fed us, gave us a place to sleep and treated us like family. While I still wouldn’t call myself an extrovert, I’m no longer the introvert that I was prior to road-life. I can genuinely say that I love people and the people that have come into my life through my travels have impacted my life in a profound way.
3. Spontaneity – a break in routine
It feels a little contradictory to include this as one of the things I miss about the road, because I’ve worked so hard to get into a routine now that we’re off the road. But I thrive in an environment that is more flexible and spontaneous. I get antsy when things are too rigid. Most weeks I do a great job of getting kids to bed at a reasonable time, getting myself to bed at a reasonable time, getting up early and being productive…until about Thursday. Then I get hungry for some variety and by the weekend I just need to get out and do something totally different. Is that just me? On the road, everything from time zones to sleeping situations to gas prices, is constantly changing. It’s amazing to be in snow one day and then wake up at the beach the next. It keeps life exciting and keeps you on your toes. I enjoy being in exploration mode – “what will I discover today?!”
4. Working with and sharing a schedule with my husband
This may be one of the things I miss the most. When we toured, my husband ran sound for us and helped drive the bus. I loved having him out in the House running sound for us and being able to give me feedback on the show. We were able to create and improve the music right alongside each other. While there were times when we didn’t see each other much because he was driving all night and I was catching up on sleep so that I could sing, we were doing it all together. I miss that. Now that he helps run a construction company, I see him in the morning, when he gets home from work and when he’s off work on the weekends. We talk about what’s going on at work and how things are going at home with me and the boys, but it’s like we’re living two separate lives a lot of the time, instead of experiencing life together the majority of the time
5. Lazy travel days
After a long run of shows, it always felt so good to just crash in the RV and let the rumble of the engine lull me to sleep. Life is so fast-paced these days and there are so many demands and deadlines. It’s rare for me to have a slow day where I can sit and read a book or write in my journal or just get lost in my thoughts. Lazy travel days can be so healing.
6. Seeing the landscape change
It’s exhilarating to watch the landscape change as you travel from one end of the country to another, or across Canada and up to Alaska. It’s awe-inspiring to see the color palette and the brush-strokes of God’s canvas. If you ever wondered why humans have such an affinity for the arts, there it is. He is the ultimate artist. Deep canyons; oceans that stretch out as far as the eye can see; soft, white sands; towering, snow-capped mountains; red deserts with cactus giants; lush forests… There’s something about witnessing the magnitude of God’s handiwork that puts everything into perspective and makes my own problems seem much smaller and more manageable.
7. Seeing old friends frequently
Before road life, I would generally see extended family once every other year at a family reunion, unless someone made a special trip up to Alaska to visit. But as full-time travelers, we regularly saw family and friends that were spread out all across the country, because we were always “passing through”. Now that I’m home-bound, it’s so much more complicated to see someone who lives more than a couple hours away. You have to plan the time off of work and budget extra for the trip. It’s just not logical to make it happen as often. Having traveled all over the country, I’ve made friends in almost every state. I miss seeing everyone once or twice throughout the year.
8. Learning about & experiencing the world first-hand
It’s fun to read about the world in books and watch videos about places and things on Youtube, but seeing and experiencing something first-hand is an education you can’t get any other way. Getting to touch manatees and watch iguanas run across my path in the Florida keys, appreciating the beauty of the colorful Arizona desert and participating in jam sessions in places like Flloyd, VA are some favorite memories. And I’ll never forget walking through the Alamo in San Antonio, TX, visiting Arlington National Cemetery or singing in the Whitehouse during Christmas. So many experiences that have brought history and the world to life for me in a way that reading about them never could have.
9. Doing something out-of-the-ordinary
I am a person that enjoys going against the grain (though I’m not a rebel by any means haha) and living out of the box. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a home-body, working a regular 9-5 job or living in the same place your whole life. But I am personally happiest when I am a little outside my comfort zone and doing something out of the ordinary. It’s been a surprisingly challenging transition going from full-time touring band to full-on stay-at-home-mom. I’m still trying to find a new balance there.
I’m sure this one is obvious. I love performing. I love making music and sharing it with people. Performing isn’t always rosy and glamorous, but I miss it. I miss connecting with people in such a profound way, inspiring them and being inspired by them. I’m working on finding new ways to get music out there. Creating music is so fulfilling for me. Thank goodness for the internet and the endless opportunities that it provides!
I would love to hear from you that are reading this. What do you love about traveling? What’s a favorite place you’ve visited? What are some of your favorite experiences on the road, or what places are on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments or send me a message!