Wow. Here we are on Day 5 of our 2022 summer tour, and I am just now feeling the inspiration to write. Where I’ll begin isn’t necessarily where I thought I would, but I have a lot to unpack pertaining to the last 10 months since returning home from last year’s tour. I feel it is necessary for me to be truthful about where I am rather than just regurgitate a sensationalized account of our travels.
Quite honestly, I don’t feel like myself and haven’t for some time. Shortly after our tour ended last summer, I was hit by an 18-wheeler while I was at a stop. The wreck left me with a significant spine injury. While I’ve tried to not let this accident get the best of me, it has completely altered the direction in which I was headed.
Our summer tours are so much more than just combining my traveling music career with family vacation. Since 2019, our travels have been instrumental in bringing us closer as a family than ever before. We are continuing to learn the wonders of our beautiful country and how to best live in harmony with our Mother Earth. We are meeting new friends that are quickly becoming family, and sharing new experiences with old friends that have only strengthened our bonds. But there was something that stood out last year that was personally transformative, inspiring a short lived change within that I’ve been chasing after ever since the wreck.
I couldn’t pinpoint one specific moment that inspired my shift in perspective. There’s no doubt in my mind that this was built day by day, and each day proved to be just as special as the day before. It was the time well spent with friends and their families in places that were special to them that are now special to us. It was completing our first cave hike with one of our best friends. It was completing our first night hike with one of our newest friends. It was visiting and camping with people we love in places we love, but it was also embarking on new adventures with just the three of us that led us to places we would’ve never even imagined existed in the United States. It was seeing how old life makes way for new life in places barely touched by man. It was the sheer power of the water, it was the majesty of the eagles and condors overhead, and it was overwhelming.
I’ll never forget the feeling of love being carried through my body like blood through my veins. It inspired me to wake early. It inspired me to explore further than ever before. It inspired me to fully love life. It also inspired me to remain active and explore my city on foot, so I could fall in love with her all over again. And I did so for three weeks. Enter 18 wheeler.
I feel I should preface the following by saying that this isn’t meant to be a “woe is me” ramble. This is meant to be an outlet for me to explore my own experience, with the hope that, in sharing, it might help someone experiencing similar struggles or to simply help you to understand where I’m coming from.
As I write this, I feel defeated. And that’s ok. It is in defeat that we learn the value of success, and I am quite sure this won’t be the last time I feel a similar emotion. But next time, I’ll better recognize this beast. I need this moment now to be better tomorrow.
I didn’t feel pain for the first few hours after the wreck. Then I started feeling soreness, as I expected. As the soreness started to give way to relief in most of my body, the pain in my mid back remained. It shows itself in different ways daily, sending tingles to my right shoulder one day, around my left rib cage the next. Somedays it feels like the nerve shoots impulses straight through my body from back to front. Somedays it’s just a persistent, dull ache that requires me to lay down.
I attempted to continue with my work; however, by the turn of the new year, I started to wear down. I was finding relief in some healing work, but the relief would only last for a couple days at a time. I was trying to deal with playing gigs and building furniture, not back pain. I couldn’t shift the gears.
Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling inspired. The gigs were an easy way for me to release some of the heavy emotion, but ultimately I wasn’t able to work full days. I was able to complete a few jobs, but there were a couple others that I wasn’t able to produce. That’s the biggest feeling of defeat for me.
In my head, this summer’s tour would be an immediate launch back to that place I’ve been chasing. I should know by now that that’s not how it works. But while it’s not a launch, it’s a step towards where I want to be. I just have to take it.
Now don’t think, because I’m laying this all out there that everything is terrible. This tour has been great so far. We’ve had great shows as well as quality time spent with both old friends and new in Hattiesburg and Collierville. We are currently half asleep in our camper after a very tired day on the road, and we are thrilled to explore New River Gorge tomorrow. I actually feel like tomorrow holds something I need, and I can’t wait to find it. But for now, I’ll just doze off in hopes of sweet dreams and a brighter tomorrow.
Stay tuned as I post weekly updates.
And remember the sentiment of the late Spencer Bohren- Be good to yourselves and each other.
Thanks for reading,