Sitting next to his father and his cardboard sign, the young African American boy jumped up and down with glee, pulling the Powerade and muffin out of the coffeeshop bag that was just handed to him by a middle-aged woman. He poured out gratitude, and as the woman walked away with her heart full, I overheard her say to her husband as she readjusted the jewelry on her wrist. “Our kids don’t even get that excited when we give them a brand new Xbox”.
When you have it all, nothing is enough; but when you have nothing, anything is enough. It’s strange how huddling under warm blankets is even better if the window is open on a cold night, or how a hearty meal is more satisfying on an empty stomach after a long day building up an appetite. Opposites compliment, and the contrasts highlight unique details that might’ve been overlooked if not for the sequential variety. Context is everything, and juxtaposition is one of my favorite aspects of art and poetry.
The love I have for combining opposites is why I continue to street perform in New Orleans; creating spontaneous moments that unify groups of people is so much more powerful when they are all complete strangers walking around one of the rowdiest cities in America. Part of what I love so much about street theater is that it is art out of its usual context, which means it can hit people when they least expect it (and sometimes, when the need it the most). Sure, the sour crowds of inattentive drunks occasionally spoil my intentions, but like most “problems”, I find if I readjust my perspective then I can see the situation in a better light.
Since my last blog post I have flown from Scotland to Germany, from Germany to Seattle, from Seattle to New Orleans, and then back to Seattle to spend the holidays with my family. I’ve set a new high score for longest time between blog posts, but the time away has allowed me to step back, zoom out, and gain a greater understanding of the bigger picture.
I started this project when I was twenty two years old, and I am now twenty seven. Five years is a rather large chunk of time when you’re under 30, and I’ve grown immensely as a person since I first dreamt up the idea of becoming a nomadic entertainer. My options have expanded and continue to do so, and the world has literally opened itself up. There is very little standing in between me and a spontaneous trip to New Zealand, if I decided that’s what I wanted. Throughout the last five years pursuing my dream I have grown into myself as an independent young man.
This is where I find myself now, faced with the task of defining what it is I truly want as I stand at a crossroad with infinite paths extending in every direction before me. I have a passport and a skill set that allows me to make money in virtually any setting. Presently in New Orleans, I live comfortably working 40-60 hours a month, but over the years the repetition has grown stale, even with a few months of travel every year. Of all the places in this world I’ve seen thus far, New Orleans is where I’d like to call home; but there are so many places I haven’t seen.
My desire to settle down is in direct conflict with my desire for new experiences. The task I face now is to develop my lifestyle further to balance these two seemingly irreconcilable influences. The long-term goals include establishing multiple location-independent streams of income to allow myself even more freedom, but for the immediate future my primary goal is to strip my possessions down to the bare necessities and make it around the world (at least once) using nothing but magic.
The tentative plan is this: I have less than two months remaining in New Orleans before I load the motorcycle up for my fourth trip across America in April. May I’ll spend with my family in Seattle before flying back to Europe in June. From there I’d like to purchase a motorcycle, ride around Ireland and the UK for a few months performing at festivals over the summer. I’ll stay in Europe through the fall, visit my family for Christmas, and then play my first hand at the hemisphere game and spend the winter enjoying a second summer in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and beyond.
Restlessness has become a fire under my ass motivating me to embrace the uncomfortable growth that change has in store. Travel has been the goal from the very beginning of this project, and though the prospect is somewhat terrifying, I believe I’m finally ready to leap out into the world and see what there is to see. I am filled with excitement and gratitude at what the future holds.
Thanks for reading!