That time Anthony Bourdain used Josh Homme to lure me into the desert…*

17 Jul

It started here:

WB: “I need a big adventure, somewhere new and strange and big and busy and totally outside of everyday life”

CS: “Fuck it, let’s go to the States”

Weeks of chatter in between shifts and dog walking and dinners – Where should we go? When should we go?  What should we do there?

And here we are – planning our big coast to coast adventure across (and up and down) the USA.

It’s my first, his second.

For both of us it’s the first big road trip, and the way this holiday has morphed from the initial LA-Vegas-NY city-hop to a zig-zag of deserts and mountains and music and more music has been an adventure in itself!

I love planning holidays.  I’m not a minute-by-minute scheduler with spreadsheets and stopwatches (though I have been known to colour code a Japanese train timetable or two), but I love researching new places and finding fun things along the way to make a holiday all mine and not just some mindless trek along a well-worn “suggested itinerary” (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).  This trip started out vague – I’d never had any real desire to visit the USA, but CS is a NYC-devotee and super keen to return there. We started out with a cross-country-big-city itinerary, largely based on art (Kusama’s Infinity Room at the Broad! Everything at MOMA! Jackson Pollock at The Guggenheim!)…

… and that’s when Anthony Bourdain used Josh Homme to lure me into the desert:

WB: “I wanna go to that diner where they drink tequila and watch rock bands out in the middle of the desert.  Bourdain said it’s cool, and Josh Homme was there…maybe he’ll still be there?”
CS: “Josh Homme is definitely not waiting for you at a diner in the desert, but sure – let’s go see some desert bands”.

And so the first leg of our trip was born: Los Angeles, through the desert, to Pioneertown for a night at a quirky desert diner for some tequila and rock.

More life, more working and playing and planning our escape to America… then not for the first time, Axl Rose got all up and in our plans.**

CS: “So, Guns’n’Roses are playing in the US while we’re there… isn’t that the most incredible coincidence?  It’d be awesome to see them there don’t you think?”***

So a quick re-jig of plans, and we’re headed to Texas to see Axl in all his flannel-shirted glory.

Then… tragedy!  Despite 4 separate devices logged in before the on-sale time, we miss out on Queens of the Stone Age tickets in Melbourne.

CS: “%$#@!”

WB: (rescuing a laptop from being thrown off the balcony) “Lemme just look here… hey, they’re playing a festival in Chicago while we’re in the US, with NineInchNails, and WuTangClan…”

Another re-routing of the Captain and Workbird Tour ™ and we’re off to RiotFest in Chicago.

Our trip now looks more like a crazy zig-zag of destinations than a sensibly planned cross-country journey, but you know what? It’s become a holiday tailored closely to our own quirks and interests.

I sought advice from other seasoned travellers and online forums – it’s surprising how many people thought a trip planned around key events (like festivals, concerts) was a bad idea!  Like we were breaking some kind of golden rule by not following a well-established itinerary.  We may end up regretting our meandering route across and up and down the US, but I doubt it.  I’m done with following well-worn paths just because I think I should, and I’m definitely done with following the herd – if I wanna drive for days through the desert and up to Colorado, then fly to Texas to watch an aging red-head run around on stage, I will!

This trip is still a work in progress, and we’re keeping a few chunks of time unscheduled so we can have a proper adventure (in beautiful Colorado no less!).  I’m pretty sure it’ll be a completely different beast once we’re actually on the road – that’s part of the fun! I’m excited about our little off-the-beaten track stops along the way, the simultaneously exciting and terrifying prospect of driving through several states, and I’m looking forward to seeing the US through our art/music/food (there’s always food!) lens.

So – how do you like to travel? Are you a planner, or a “let’s see where this takes us” kind of traveller?  Do you have themes, like music or art or food or nature or sport?  How do you decide where to go, what to do?

xxx WB


* Just so we’re clear, Anthony Bourdain did not deliberately lure me into the desert using Josh Homme as bait… but if he did try, it would totally work because I am a diehard Homme fan and Bourdain fan and who wouldn’t wanna hang out at Pappy & Harriet’s drinking tequila with those two?

** Axl didn’t really interfere with our plans.. in fact I’m almost certain he has no idea we exist, that we’re coming to see him AGAIN this year, or of the depth of CS’s obsession with Guns’n’Roses.

*** Yes, it’d be awesome to see them for the third time this year, sure, why not?           <insert eyeroll here>


A fresh start

28 Sep

I wonder just how many people start a blog, forget about it after a few weeks, and then stumble across it a few years (!) later?

Actually – I don’t wonder – it’s just that this is what happened to me – and I have some inexplicable desire to start again …  and here we are.

Today was an “office” day – a personal admin day – full of such earthly delights as tax-returns, BAS lodgement, scheduling long overdue doctor’s appointments (“What do you mean my last appointment was in 2012?”) and searching randomly for a) new jobs, b) new studies, c) a new violin, and d) answers to the question “Why is Miranda Devine such a cunt?”*.

Is it Melbourne’s labile version of Spring that causes all this restless searching? Or the natural outcome of a day spent on the most mundane and frustrating administrative tasks imaginable?

The desire behind this blog was to create a sense of accountability for myself – put my goals out there, write about them in a public space (well, that depends on whether anyone reads it I guess!), and update my progress.  Here I go:

  • An hour of productive violin practice every day
  • An hour of French study every day
  • An hour of exercise every day

Ha! How very *first world* that list looks!  It’s not all about re-making myself into some kind of Renaissance woman, it’s actually about achieving some true equilibrium – between working at my job because it pays the bills, and working at the violin or French or getting fitter because I love it.  I guess it’s a balance between work and play, or between must and want.