Eleven days before I showed up to a Walmart parking lot filled with 3 tour busses and 34 strangers, my friend Court texted me
"Hey girl! We have a tour spot open with the nonprofit. You'd come on the bus with us... four weekends. Thoughts?"
and without even thinking, I said Y E S. I had no idea what the tour would look like, who I'd be working for, what bus life was like... and because of that, the days that followed that "yes" were wrapped in anxiety, fear of the unknown, doubt, questions without answers, and the teeny-tiniest glimmer of excitement.
Before you get confused - no, I'm not singing & performing on this tour and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I wish that I was, BUT I am so thankful for an opportunity to get a glimpse of "road life" right now. If I have dreams of being a full time touring musician, I better know what I'm getting myself into...
I have stepped back & looked at this whole experience as just that: an experience. I now know what it's like to spider-climb my way into a top bunk (that feels more like a coffin if I'm being honest). I know how to work an air-door without handles and know that I'm, in fact, not locked in the bunk hall at 3 AM. HA. I journal every night in the back lounge & look at cars passing by while I think "I have been that car a hundred times... passing a tour bus wondering what's inside" and now I know. I have taken note of who works from 9 AM load in to 1 AM load out every single day and I see how resilient they are. I walk around every venue & imagine what it will look like in 10 hours filled with people... the list goes on. I am overwhelmed with gratitude each day.
I'll make a little list of things I've learned in the first two weeks to break things down -
1. Say YES.
I said YES to things I didn't know I was saying YES to and if any of you know me - you know this is way out of character. I'm a planner. Saying YES to something I have no control over, plans for, or knowledge of what it looks like is a big thing for me. I walked into this opportunity with my arms wide open and I said "okay God, YES" and He has blown me away. (I could write a WHOLE blog post on this alone, but I'll spare you).
2. View the world with WONDER.
Honestly, what I'm doing on this tour is mundane. I get on a bus. I sleep. I wake up in a new city. I load in. I set up. I spend all day on site and most of the time don't even know what state I'm in. I load out. I shower. I get on a bus. Repeat. But without a doubt, every single night on tour a young girl walks up to me and says "So are you like on the tour busses and traveling with Sadie?" and I say "Yep!" and her response is something along the lines of "Wow. that is SO cool. I wanna do that. You're so lucky" and it's always followed with questions filled with WONDER. And just like that I am brought to a spirit of gratitude. Even though I have been on my feet for 6 hours, and I'm not performing in front of the hundreds of people in the building, and I'm functioning on 4 hours of sleep, no clean showers, and chicken & potatoes (almost) every day - I am SO. THANKFUL. because when I think about 13 year old Betsy seeing someone like 23 year old Betsy on this tour, how can I not be?
3. Life on the road is SACRIFICE.
God didn't take long to flash this reminder in my face. Three days into tour my grandmother died and it's been hard. I'm not home to grieve with my family, to have someone wrap me in a hug while I cry, to have someone who simply understands what it's like to lose her. I've learned that the road doesn't give you "me time" and you don't have "personal space". I haven't given myself the proper amount of time & space to process that my grandmother is actually gone. I've never been away from home for a death - when my moms parents died I was in college (and for me college was 3.6 miles up the street from my childhood home). Then in 2015 when I got the call that one of my life-long friends had a brain aneurism & died, I called my parents with the news and they were at my door within 20 minutes just to hug me while we all cried. Before now, I've never had to do that "growing up" part of life and truthfully, I'm not sure how good I am at it.
4. PEOPLE really MATTER.
When you're on the road, you're with these people 24/7.. not an understatement. Your team of people REALLY matter. The road is exhausting and I've said numerous times to my friends & family that I am tired but continue to feel energized and filled by the people I'm surrounded with. Who you surround yourself with will either drain you or fill you.. and the people on the Live Original tour are nothing short of kingdom builders, amazing, personable, and like-minded people. So many of them have come up to me and said "You are so lucky this is your first tour. The people here are really special" and I can't help but hope that if I ever tour I can bring an incredible team of people like the ones on the LO tour. It's AMAZING what God can do with 36 strangers when He's at the center of it all.
5. EVERYONE is important & THANK YOU carries weight.
I watch people on this tour. I watch them because one day if I'm ever headlining my own tour I can walk up to them and say "hey, I've been here doing what you're doing, I know how mundane & exhausting it is. Thank you." I think God has me here for a big reason: to understand aspects of tour life & the people who make the tour what it is. Everyone is important. There are crew who work tirelessly from 9 AM - 1 AM every day. Merch people stay up on the bus past 1 AM working on reports, calculating numbers, recounting stock, and sending e-mails to the right people before they can go to bed. I've seen the videographer stay awake until 4 AM, finishing the highlight reel of the night so it can be posted on social media the following morning. I've seen the social media manager work for hours backstage on content that will look best & reach the largest audience for the brand... and most of the artists don't even see all of this happening because they're sleeping or out exploring the city we're in (hey! no judgement or hate, if I could be sleeping & exploring every day, I would be too.) I just wish they could see it all up close & personal & thank them because everyone is important.
It has blown my mind what one YES has done for my life in the last 2 weeks. I blindly said YES & God has slowly been revealing "why" day by day. It has been AMAZING and this tour is a reminder that all of His promises are YES & AMEN !!!!!