A couple of years ago I became infected with an idea. This is how it usually works with me. I have some ecstatic vision of an imagined future and then spend the next few years ravenous for it, tearing up obstacles by their roots and loping toward it like some kind of werewolf. It feels like that on the inside. I don’t know what it looks like on the outside.
Anyway, I had the idea that I wanted to travel the country… or continent… continents even… in a gypsy wagon, tattooing people and playing gigs. It was an elaborate vision. In it, my gypsy wagon was a renovated schoolbus with a woodstove. And in my vision, I wasn’t on stage performing, nor was I tattooing anyone.
In my vision, it was about six in the morning. My schoolbus was parked at the edge of a beach parking lot, overlooking surf-hammered cliffs and swirling gulls. I was sitting with my legs dangling, perched between the open emergency doors at the back of the bus, drinking a cup of coffee I had brewed in a percolator on the woodstove, observing the waves in blissful solitude.
I’ve noticed that visions launch fate into action. I won’t go into everything that has transpired since I had that vision. Some of it was horrific. Some of it was desperately lonely. Some of it was ecstatic. But all of it got me here, to the eve of my first ever tour in my actual real life gypsy wagon, much sooner than I expected it to.
It turns out the wagon’s not a schoolbus; it’s actually a 1983 Sunline truck camper. It sits in the bed of the Ford F-150 I traded my Prius in for specifically so I could plop this truck camper into it. And it doesn’t have a woodstove, but it does have a propane furnace and cooktop, a little dinette table, and a loft bed that projects over the cab of the truck. The thing is gloriously 80’s with a kind of brown shredded-wheat-texture fabric over the cushions and wood paneling all over the inside. Anything that’s not wood is tan-ish, including the outside of the camper, which has rusty-colored stripes on it. I’ll include pictures.
It also turns out that this time I won’t be camping right at the beach… I actually took the camper for a shorter trip in the summer and DID brew myself a cup of coffee and then ride my bike to Montauk Beach. So that already happened. But this time, I’m traveling through the Shenandoah valley- where I’m staying tomorrow- down to Asheville for a couple days, then a couple more days in Savannah (there’s a beach there!), to Charleston, SC (beach!), then back up through Raleigh and Richmond.
My mission on this go-round is to play open mics, scope out potential venues for future tours, meet people that like my stuff- and by stuff I mean my music, performance, the merch I silkscreened myself, and my tattoos (I’m toting a kit with me, I don’t know if I’ll use it.) Also, see what it’s like to actually live my traveling, performing, art making hermit fantasy.
I’ll keep you guys posted.
(These are pictures from my trip to Montauk)