I love a good panorama shot. Thanks for the good times and perfect weather, Tassie!
I love a good panorama shot. Thanks for the good times and perfect weather, Tassie!
The second half of 2019 has been a slow motion train wreck of death, injury, broken friendships and heartbreak. I’m back on the solo life road, hoping it only goes up from here. See you in 2020.
Anyone who’s travelled, and made great friends doing so, will question whether those friendships are going to last once life gets back to normal. When those friends live on the other side of the world, frequent or quick visits are mostly off the table. So it was especially meaningful when the Balkan Boyz managed to organize a couple of weeks together in Bali with partners and friends in tow. Despite a clear end to the ‘travel phase’ of our lives, and with new relationships and careers in full swing, our boy band bond remains a high priority.
The tours may not cover as much ground, or have as many dates, but they’ll always be worthy of a poster. Stay tuned. There’s more to come!
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in the recent past YouTube went and got itself a shockingly reasonable policy towards people using copyrighted music in personal videos. It used to automatically mute any offending audio, but now the system detects the songs used and determines if they’re allowed under specific circumstances: mainly that the copyright holders be allowed to show ads on the video, and that the video not be monetized.
This means I have finally uploaded the Balkan Boyz ‘North America 2015’ movie to a proper public location where anyone can view it. I’m still not tired of it :)
I walked around the world on these shoes. Well, not literally, of course. I bought them in Nice after it became obvious that my original travel shoes weren’t up to the task, and wore them nearly every following day until it was time to go travelling again two years later. Today I have three pairs of similarly styled foot ware, but nothing I like as much as I liked these. They tackled endless kilometres of city walks, dirt trails, mountain hikes, desert sand, a bit of snow, and more than a few dance floors. I never expected a pair of Sketchers to be that good.
Sometimes my travel year feels like it happened yesterday, and other times it seems like a lifetime ago. I’m always one to reminisce, and if a picture says a thousand words, what about thousands of pictures? Or one poster?
After the first two Balkan Boyz posters, there remained a very large, very obvious missing link in the chain. Our longest tour to date: Southeast Asia. The three months that cemented our bond, gave us a secret handshake, a logo, and tattoos. More than enough to warrant a few hours in Photoshop. Quite a bit more than ‘a few’, actually.
We all hope there are many more posters to come. For now, the Balkan Boyz project is at least caught up, more or less… ;)
There’s nothing like a great long weekend out of town. Exploring a new city, enjoying the outdoors, and having a good dance. Thanks San Francisco!
It’s been a year since I left the Balkan Boyz tour of the Americas. Everything I wrote about the trip still feels true. Since the guys’ returned home from their extended trip through Central America, life has changed for them, as well. It certainly was not the tour any of us expected, but it was the tour each of us needed. The travel bug has surely been tamed for the time being, which was perhaps the unspoken goal of all of this in the first place. We’re all firmly into new and different chapters of life.
I’ve found that I remember it all more fondly now. Certainly more so than when I first got home. I’d always wanted to do a big North American road trip, and I’m glad I did it with best friends, and at that time. We all hoped the Balkan Boyz wouldn’t be a one-tour-wonder and I think we’re proving that won’t be the case. In honour of the latest voyage, I’ve made up another poster. I hope that by the time we’re all old men, we can each have a wall full of them.
Thanks for the great ride, Boyz!
Thinking back on my ‘big year’ of travel feels like remembering a vivid dream. At times clear, but otherwise foggy. It can seem like it was just yesterday, or a lifetime ago. I’m often glad for the extensive photo journal I kept along the way. Without it, I would have forgotten places, names, and countless other details by now. There are cities, landscapes, trinkets, food. More importantly, interesting people and great friends. What I always notice the most, however, are the changes I see in myself. A photo of me from August of 2013 shows one person, and a shot from August of 2014 shows someone else entirely. Since being back home, I’ve wondered if a younger me would have gotten as much out of that trip as I did at thirty two. I doubt it.
*Insert cliche about how travel changes you here*
Well, just like stereotypes, cliches exist for a reason. Though in this case, I’m not sure anyone can change unless they’re open to it in the first place. Many people are desperate for a transformational travel experience. Others stubbornly cling to their ‘home’ selves. I didn’t try for either, yet somehow accomplished both. Not that it was easy.
I still think of that year as the best of my life so far. It was also the worst. There were amazing new friendships and romance. There was also prolonged loneliness and heartbreak. I visited incredible cities and landscapes, and was stimulated by fresh experiences and knowledge. None of that is constant. There were also entire days spent alone on trains or buses. Entire nights in airports. Times when I couldn’t escape from myself, or find a big enough distraction. Places I hated but was stuck in. Days where all I’d want was an actual friend to talk to.
The Fall after I came home, I had an idea to create an emotional journal of my ‘big year’ using my favourite genre of dance music: Trance. I’d listened to a lot of it during my trip, and certain tracks had taken on new and powerful meanings for me. It took several months, but I was eventually able to string them together into a set. It’s still the most narrative set I’ve done, and a year and a half after recording it, I still give it a listen every once and a while. Every track, every lyric, and every mix and key change are deliberately chosen to tell the story back to myself. I’ve shared it with a few close friends, but have only decided to post it online now. If you give it a listen, I’d love to know what you think…
So far I’ve found only one certainty about travel. If you go looking for something, you won’t find it. When I left on what became my ‘big trip’ more than two years ago, I hoped to regain my love of home, and a passion for my career. Neither of those things happened. Instead, I was so restless and unsatisfied than I immediately began planning a second departure. This time, the goal was different: there wasn’t one. No lofty ideas. No life altering intentions. Just a chance to enjoy travelling with my friends. Another memorable tour with the ‘world famous’ Balkan Boyz.
I didn’t realize it was happening, but while I was focused for so long on leaving home, my feelings about it began to change. New people and new places mixed with the favourite bits of my old life to create a different perspective. By the time the guys arrived in Vancouver, I was faking excitement about leaving. But leave we did, on what surely was the road trip of a lifetime. From Vancouver to Halifax, through Canada and the United States. Almost three months with best friends in fantastic places.
I should have been happier, but home was calling louder than ever before. A great friend passed away, some others were going through tough times, and I was waiting to renew an incredible relationship. Every day away meant wanting to go back even more. It took a year, but home went from being a place I didn’t mind leaving, to one I felt compelled to stay in.
A month after returning, it still feels right. The Balkan Boyz tour continues through Central America in all of their incredible style. I couldn’t be happier for all of us to feel that we’re doing what we want to be doing. Next week brings a return to work, and next month, a new apartment. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt excited about my future here. Unexpectedly, I got out of this trip what I wanted to get out of the big one. The walkabout is over, and it really does feel like a Happy New Year. It’s time to enjoy being home.