Three Actually Good Tips to Preserve Your Sanity on Tour
Life on the road can be incredibly difficult, but it’s made even more difficult when we don’t plan for the countless stresses that come with tour life. Although typical tour season has come to a close, we wanted to offer a couple of useful tips for you to consider for your next run. Let’s get started!
Gear up to zone out – Allow for some alone time.
Depending on your touring situation, you’re likely going to be stuffed into tight quarters with people for several hours a day… and even when you’re not, it’s unlikely that you’ll be somewhere that’s very quiet. An almost unbreakable rule of the road is that you should have some decent noise canceling headphones, which will help drown out extraneous sounds and at least give you some feeling of isolation when you need it. Don’t go cheap on these, but also do your homework. I’ve never had a problem with my Audio-Technica ATH M50’s, which fall right around the $99 mark and sound great. Having time to yourself is going to help preserve your (and everyone else’s) sanity. When you’re wearing your headphones, try to forget that you’re stuffed in a 1995 Chevy G20 with 5 other people and allow some time to be by yourself. You’ll thank me later.
Mobile Hermit: Plan for no cell service, internet, or electricity.
Nobody ever tells you about the countless hours you’ll spend with spotty cell service, no wifi, and limited access to outlets, but you’ll start to realize how often you’ll have to deal with these issues nearly immediately after hitting the road. There’s not much you can do about your newfound crappy cell coverage. You’ll generally be okay if you stick to the major highways, but once you leave those, it’s sort of a crap shoot.
You’ll generally have wifi at most of the places you go, but with varying levels of connectivity. Sharing a single wifi network with 50 people at Panera is probably going to make you want to set your laptop on fire. If you typically work in cloud based environments like Google Docs, Trello, or Hootsuite, remember to keep some offline equivalents (with a few key documents) on your desktop. The OpenOffice suite from Apache should really be able to cover most of your needs with their open source equivalents of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.
Also, do your best to strategically charge your devices at the hotel or venue and/or keep some low tech entertainment around like a good novel, notepad, or coloring book. Don’t laugh, those are super hot right now. Take the opportunity to allow yourself to just be a person, taking a break from the constant chatter of the internet. We devote so much of ourselves to technology because of our line of work that it can be really nice to allow yourself to get away from it all and be a human for a while. No newsbfeeds, no drama, no pointless pictures. Just you, being present in the moment. Trust me, you won’t miss anything.
Get plenty of exercise.
One often overlooked issue of being on the road is a severe lack of exercise. When you spend most of your day in a van or bus, hanging around a venue, or posted up in a hotel room, there might not seem like there’s much of an opportunity to get a good workout in… not to mention trucking around an entire rack of weights is totally unrealistic, unless you’re Asking Alexandria. Luckily there are a few solutions for this. Two are obvious, one is not.
The first is body weight exercises like pushups, pullups, and planks. These have been the bread and butter of exercise for the last few thousand years for good reason; they’re effective, don’t require any gear, and because of that, can be done nearly anywhere. Second, cardio. Running is obvious, no need for me to elaborate. The third option is a bit less obvious, although you’ve almost certainly come in contact with them in the past (think middle school gym class). Rubber resistance bands. Resistance bands are great for a lot of reasons, but I’ll just list a few here. The biggest one is that they’re effective, arguably on par with dead weight barbells and dumbbells. They’re also incredibly lightweight and easy to pack away into your bag. This is a huge benefit, because your entire band could essentially pack 4-5 of them (of varying resistances) and you’ll have an incredibly versatile, lightweight mobile gym. Best of all, they’re insanely cheap, around 10 dollars each.
However, be realistic. Unless you have a huge budget for food and supplements on the road, you’re not likely to put on much muscle, but doing some basic exercises will help keep you healthy, happy, and able to perform your best.
I hope that these tips will help you on your next tour, I guarantee that if you keep them in mind your tour life will be much simpler and easier. Be smart, plan ahead, and remember to enjoy yourself!