I have been everywhere in my life. I traveled the country for 3 years. 5-8 hours a day stuck in the back of a Ford Econoline 16 passenger van surrounded by many of my great friends. I still remember the very first time I left. Saying bye to my family and my friends knowing I would not see them for 3 or more months was odd, when the longest I had been away from home was 1 week, if that. We had a 15 hour drive that first night down South. (When we left it was cold, when we arrived it was hot.) But besides all that, the first night I remember sitting in the back of the van in the pitch dark looking back and forth at this empty Wal-mart parking lot and that is when my thoughts and emotions started flying. I started battling depression right away and was asking myself questions such as: Why am I here? What is truly the point in this? Where is the appeal? etc etc etc.. So I walked to Waffle House.
I remember I immediately started praying and counting the days to myself of when I would be able to return home. (This was still day 1 and it felt like I had been gone for weeks) After 93 days of counting on my fingers and begging God to let me feel my love for people and music over absence from my homelife, I instantly felt at peace. I knew that at this moment and at this time this is exactly what I was supposed to be doing without a doubt. The music we played reached a certain group of "outcast by society" and I was so glad to join them. I've always felt a love for people and a strong strong urge to help everybody in anyway possible simply being a "Hello" or simply playing music who for someone somewhere could catch a glimpse of hope for their life through double bass or a "how's life?" Many doors and relationships were open because of that last line.
After my first week on the road (I believe we were in Bakersfield California @ the time) Every show was getting me more pumped up. Not so much the music but because I was chatting with kids about life and about their lives and hope and why people do the things they do. And this was awesome. I was very surprised at how much these kids were opening up to me. I took the time to listen and the rewards that came spiritually and mentally I will never forget. My whole life felt like one huge build up to these points and I can honestly say that interacting with these kids on a nightly basis does wonders for oneself. I was listening to God and doing his will all the while smoking my Camel Lights and never turning down a good brew. Odd right? I have fought many battles and have been put in many situations where I have both won and lost. I constantly try to listen and learn from everything. My heart was in the right place. This was all just the beginning.
When you have five 10 hour days of driving everyday and exhausting yourself every night, tricks begin to be played to ones mind. I constantly was in a spiritual battle and I do believe my band mates were as well. We would all have conversations about what we were doing exactly and strive to move forward. For me it came down to listening to my heart and listening to God. It was and is hard. I am stubborn and easily become deaf to reality and it's take backs. But I truly believe if people would just slow down and listen and follow their hearts then great wondrous things will happen no matter how burnt out you are on "Christians" and religions and segregation etc...etc...etc... Have hope and build faith. Life really is good.
This was taken in Minnesota of the tour package on the last night of the tour. These bands become your family and best friends for life!