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November 29, 2017

“We did it.”

- Sarah

What now, blogger boy?

That’s the question, isn’t it? In an earlier post I talked about how I’ve been looking at my life over the past few months in terms of before November and after November. I know November isn’t over but November means Europe and so here we are. I’m sitting at my table listening to CBC radio. They’re talking about Donald Trump.

Europe is most definitely over.

Yesterday was a long one for all of us. We were up at around 7:30 for a quick hotel breakfast, and then we were off to meet Kees, drop off the rental gear, and hand over the tour van. After that it was a drive to the airport in Amsterdam, then hurry up and wait for boarding. We were laughing together as always. There was no nostalgia or sadness or anything like that. We had work to do – the work of getting home safely.

The flight was a flight. Seven hours aboard KLM, which is now officially my favourite airline, even though there were no Viking girls on-board this time around. They treat you so well on these flights. The staff are friendly and they bring you things and they laugh with you. Flying the North American skies you sometimes feel like an inconvenience for the flight attendants. On KLM it’s like you’re all on the trip together.

Our Toronto landing was one of the softest I’ve ever experienced. There was a smattering of applause and then the usual scramble began – getting off the plane, customs, baggage, etc. Sarah’s parents met us at the airport with the infamous Sarahvan and soon we inched our way into the clogged artery that is Toronto traffic at rush hour. The laughter continued for the next two and a half hours as we made our way home to London. Our rendezvous point was Ken’s house. His wife Paula and my wife Kimi were waiting for us when we arrived. Five minutes later a van pulled up and an army of kids tumbled out to tackle Deni. It was a short, sweet reunion, and then the tour was really over.

So, again, what now?

Deni posted on Facebook today that he’s awoken from a dream and it’s time to get to work. He’s writing his new album and working with others on theirs. Sarah and Ken are already promoting the 20 or so gigs that Sarah has over the next month, starting this week. The wheel keeps turning. The show goes on. I have a couple of big shows on the horizon with Hiroshima Hearts too, but bigger questions remain.

I don’t know what comes next, to be honest. I didn’t know a month ago and I don’t know now. I want to keep pushing as a musician and I’m looking for places to land. The tour has reminded me how much I really do love the road and that I have a lot to offer both on and off the stage. I’m planting seeds and working on my craft, because I want to be ready when the next opportunity comes along, whenever it happens and whoever it’s with.

One of the reasons I committed to this blog was to try to rekindle myself as a writer. Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way) popularized the idea of doing “morning pages” as a writing exercise. Basically that just means getting up and writing a few pages of whatever comes to mind every day. I hate that. I’m no good at writing aimlessly about nothing, even though I know it works for some people. I need to write something useful, and the tour gave me a nice long stretch of time to write every day with a purpose. It turned into 30 posts and somewhere around 30,000 words – not a bad output for a guy who’s been to war with writer’s block over the past few years.

So the writing challenge was a practical reason for doing the blog, but the main reason I attempted it is simply intuition. I had an intuition that said I should write a tour blog. I’m learning, slowly but surely, to trust impulses like that and believe that they’ll lead to good places. The reason I was even on that tour is because I had an intuition that said, “You need to start playing music now.” At the time I was doing other things that weren’t working out (writing mostly). I listened to my intuition, took a courageous step, and went from basement to Berlin in about six years.

I didn’t and don’t have any expectations for this blog. I just took the intuition as it came and did the work. At the café in Leverkusen, Ken, Deni, and I talked about how we only have the right to our labour, not to the results of our labour. I’m also reminded of the post I did about what I’ve learned from my bandmates: Intensity from Deni, detachment from Ken, faith from Sarah. We’re in the detachment and faith zone with this now. We’ll see where it leads, what it opens up, what comes from it. The important thing, and probably the biggest shift in my thinking, is that I do have faith in where things go from here.

And now it’s time to wrap this thing up at last. I want to thank everyone who has followed faithfully along over the past month, supporting me and encouraging my writing. You made a huge difference for me. I also want to thank Sarah again for giving me the opportunity to tour with her. It was an honour and such a great learning experience. Ken and Deni are my boys. We don’t look back, really, but the bonds are there forever.

Okay, one final road story before I go.

Yesterday as we were in the line to board in Amsterdam, we saw a guy walking around with a road case and a guitar. My three companions were also carrying their guitars, so they and the mystery stranger were drawn to each other. He came over to say hello. He was an older guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a wide-brimmed hat. He chatted with Sarah and she told him she was just ending a tour with her band. He was wrapping up a tour as well. After a few moments of pleasantries he stuck out his hand.

“Nice to meet you,” he said. “I’m Fred Eaglesmith.”

An established Canadian songwriting legend meeting another one on the rise. Randomly. In a boarding lineup. In Amsterdam, Netherlands. A wonderful new connection for Sarah and one of those great things you just don’t see coming when you put yourself out there.

What can I say?

The road, man.

You know the rest.

#SarahSmith

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