No Place Like Home

There’s no place like home. Was the phrase coined in the ground-breaking film about escapism and regret called Wizard of Oz? No, it actually first occurred in a song adaptation from an opera published in 1823 called Home! Sweet Home!   Having spent years of my young adult life rebelling from “the nest” and wanting to establish independence from where I considered to be home—I find it ironic that I agree more and more with Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. There really IS no place like home. It’s fascinating how adaptable some of us are to our surroundings; and equally how some of us cannot handle being away from them. I’ve known a friend who flew to Italy for vacation for ten days only two return two days later, because he couldn’t handle the anxiety of being in a foreign country with a foreign tongue spoken on every corner. He needed to be home. In our professions, we meet both types of people. We play music for a lot of tourists who are on their annual two-week get away from the monotony of routine life. Us, the entertainers are on a completely opposite journey: We’re currently on a seven week journey touching four continents and trying to deal with all of the elements that come with NOT being at home. Travel days are lost working days. Most people wonder what else a performer does but perform, but in the digital age, there is SO much more required of us than meets the eye. Now that James and I are settled in Vegas, I’d love nothing more than to be in our kitchen, making dinner for this evening for the two of us, or maybe some additional friends. I’d love to be out shopping to find that perfect floor lamp we haven’t had time to find or finishing up the walls with the artwork and photographs we’d like. So what is it about routine that is both comforting and discomforting? Or could I insert any word for routine? After all, there are two sides to every coin. I didn’t expect this blog to be distorted with colloquialisms and anecdotes, but I think it’s too late. This song from The Wiz performed by Stephanie Mills always speaks to me about the comfort and security of having a place you can call home.

We just spent four nights in Vancouver before heading to Australia via China for two weeks. After our concerts in Adelaide, we spend time in Papa New Guinea, The Philippines, Hong Kong, The Middle East and India. I’m thrilled, don’t get me wrong. But in having looked at our schedule through June 2018, I could condense the time we’re at home into a matter of two weeks. That’s not much time in your sanctuary in the span of a year and a half. When you’re traveling you’re forced to make other sanctuaries. On days when we’re not traveling or performing I have a routine- a ritual, even. I go and get my caffeinated beverage (usually a cold brew or an iced double americano, black- no sweetener) and I walk outside somewhere, weather permitting. I put on my headphones and play some meditative music. It’s usually the same few songs: I Bless Your Name by Selah or Come Just as you Are by Crystal Lewis. It’s my morning meditation- the time I take in the day to be grateful for the things that I have and grateful for the things that I don’t have. It’s this spiritual music that can transport me immediately to a place of humility and peace. Without this and the gym, I’m admittedly a sub-functioning human. On show days, I lie in bed until about 1pm, silent. I have noticed how much difference 5-6 hours of vocal rest makes on a show day. I generally have nothing to worry about when it comes time for our shows if I stick to this and a proper warm up of vocal exercises. On travel days, I put on my noise cancelling headphones and try to forget about life until the flights are over. Admittedly, I have limited patience for airports and airplanes, so I sleep a lot on flights and send myself into a trance when in transit.

 

The living room in our new condo in Las Vegas. Feels like home.

The point of all that is when we’re traveling, we have to make a home for ourselves. Luckily, James and I are both quite adept at this. We can adapt to most any environment, meet new friends and feel at home almost anywhere. However, this was easier when all we had was a storage unit. Vegas isn’t exactly our idea of Utopia, but it’s where our home is. Since moving there in February of 2017, we’ve taken great care to make it beautiful and comfortable and at the moment it’s where I’d rather be.