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On the Road – You & Your Suitcase

Posted by Team APATA | Jan 31, 2020

For artists on the road, especially those who have dreamed of touring with a company or show, the opportunity to perform for new audiences, perhaps see the world and relish in a grand adventure is not only exciting but big on the personal wish list. But those who are veterans in the art of touring will be the first to tell you life on the road can wear you down and the best way to hit the open road and airways is to be prepared. It’s a fantastic feeling and a dream come true to be paid to travel combined with doing what you love but it isn’t as easy as it looks.

First Challenge – Baggage and What To Pack!

When it comes to transport restrictions apply with airlines all the way through to tour buses as well as the size, weight and bag limits allowed by the company tour director. If you’re on the run for eisteddfods, school performance tours or working your way across the country for auditions and scholarship opportunities be mindful you’re also likely to be the person lugging your own gear around the countryside.

Pack for performance first, your everyday out and about items next keeping in mind outfits that will allow mix and match to provide uber flexibility and make sure you leave a little room for your creature comforts – super important when you’re far…far away from home base.

Zzzzzz – Sleep is Essential

Exploring new places can be exciting and some might say it’s all about the party, but sleep and looking after one’s self is important and allows you to always be your best and deliver for your audience. If you’re sleep deprived, that’s the face you’re showing to the world and today with everything having the potential to being posted online consistency in performance is essential.

Finally, artists rarely work on the 9 – 5 clock usually arriving back at the hotel late from performance. Standard kit in your suitcase might be earplugs or noise cancelling headsets so when the world awakes at 7am you can continue snoozing blissfully without interruption. Make sure the ‘do not disturb’ sign is securely displayed on the door and some many delve into a sleeping mask to block out the light. Many also travel with their personal pillow and won’t leave home without it – it’s one of those creature comforts.

Focus – Diet & Routine

It’s very easy to find the quick fix and eat crap! Often at venues that food is crap as well in the green room, riders and out at the front kiosk. Fuel your own supplies – you are what you eat and healthy eating as well as hydration supports your performance on stage. Remember that you’re out there for the purpose of getting on stage, looking, and feeling your best, and putting on a performance that you’re proud of. So plan your meals with that in mind.

Developing a routine that you can maintain no matter where you are is a good way to give yourself a sense of consistency when your sleeping arrangements, what you eat, who you spend your time with and your daily schedule is often out of your hands. Depending on the intensity of your performance schedule, what classes the company or production provides, and what’s expected of you each show and rehearsals in between, balance in your routine will be important. When you sign onto a tour burnout can be a big issue, travelling takes a lot out of you, therefore a planned approach to wellness prior to departure is a very good idea.

Stay In Tune & Embrace the Journey

Creatively staying in tune with your discipline is one of the things people don’t think about when it comes to touring and the sheer amount of time spent not practising and disconnecting while you transfer and travel between destinations, waiting to check in and hanging out as the stage is prepped for artists to take to the floor. The second challenge is that you can feel creatively pigeonholed as your performance over a tour or for competitions starts to feel a bit rinse and repeat and the road starts to feel very long and repetitive.

While you may have your creature comforts and may know how to pass time between venues with your headphones, iPod and books, travelling with others on tour also presents a great opportunity in transit hours to create an ideal space to collaborate with others. Tthink tank together and bounce around ideas! Whip out a notebook or your pocket technologies and collaborate – song lyrics, choreography, video treatments…

Enjoy the road and check out the local sights! Plan and note what you’d like to see or do at the next destination. It’s easy to get stuck in a road rut when the road and the next hotel room start to blur. In your down time pick at least one thing and do it. It’s important to take a break, and to engage in other activities, just like you would (or should) when you’re at home between training and practice.

Be Resourceful

Unfortunately while on the road we still have chores like washing, maintenance on our equipment and picking up bits and pieces at the local supermarket. Depending on budgets, staying in hotels or motels may be the only option but other options may be open and the first check in on your road less travelled when looking at destinations and accommodation is facilities and services. An onsite laundry is a god send and a corner mini mart across the road for fresh milk to make a positive cup of tea or coffee is definitely a bonus to escape the long-life milk sachets. Even better, a kitchenette to pull together some home cooked goodness.

Stay Connected & Engage

Share your journey on the road and reach out to your followers!

Thanks and farewell Sydney….we’ll meet again…hello Melbourne see you soon!

Finally – remember to call home. Touching base with friends and family eases homesickness. Most of us know this feeling as we long for something that in our minds is known, predictable, consistent and stable. Of course, different people experience homesickness in different ways – anxiety, upset tummy or negativity, but touching base with home and telling yourself it’s going to be OK as you normalise and adjust to life on the road will help you along your way.


Happy Travels, and stay sane! from APATA

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