Thursday, April 8, 2010

Camping v. Touring

There were so many shocked comments yesterday at the revelation that I've never been camping. It's true ... camping just wasn't my parents' thing. My college days, of course, were spent at NYU, so it's not like I ever had a chance to even camp out in "The Quad." The closest I got was when Garrett and I set up camp outside Irving Plaza to wait online (because remember in the Northeast, you wait ONline, not inline) for tickets to The Cure. Come to think of it, that may have been the scariest thing I've ever done. The scalpers showed up at 7am flashing knives to everyone as they cut to the front of the line. Luckily, I ran off to the Royal Canadian Pancake House and bought giant Uncle-Buck size pancakes for our group, and I shared the pancakes with the scalpers, ensuring that we retained our place in line. The show was great, but that's not the point.

I've never camped while on tour, either. But being on the road is pretty close to roughing it, or at least for fending for yourself. When I'm playing a fancy festival, I can insist on a hotel room. But when it's a new town where no one knows me, I pretty much rely on the internet to find a place to stay, either Hotwire or couchsurfing. Occasionally -- as is known to happen mostly in Europe and rarely in the US -- a stranger we met at the show or a pub offers up her couch for the evening. It's a survival skill, I think, being able to tell the difference between a crazy person and a kind person. Luckily, Peter and I are both pretty adept at this, and the closest we got to a scare on our last UK tour was when I slept in the room with at least fifteen urns full of chinchilla ashes. That's another blog all together.

Anyway, my thoughts on camping: I doubt it's any more rough than being on tour. At least when you're camping, you choose where you sleep. I've slept on hardwood floors, broken futons, deflated waterbeds, foam mattresses in youth hostels, and the crappiest of hotel rooms. And all that with just a backpack of clothes and amenities. As far as I can tell with camping, you can pretty much put anything you want in the truck. That NEVER happens with a tour van.

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