March 15, 2019

I Am Reaching For The Sky

Maybe it's the jet lag talking, but before I dive into reviewing my most recent trip and the shows I've just been to across the southeast coast of Australia, I feel like I need to give a little bit of a sappy context to put it all into perspective. Feel free to skip this one and wait for the actual reviews in a few days if that's not your thing.

I've wanted to go to Australia for as long as I can remember. The first time it entered my brain to combine this desire with my love for traveling to Hanson shows was when they toured there back in 2012. I had been around as a fan just long enough at that time to have seen much of the U.S. in the name of Hanson, but I hadn't yet set foot outside of the country for them. It felt like a crazy goal to set, but at some point while scrolling past updates from the 2012 tour on social media, I decided that one day I'd make it to Australia to see Hanson play. I knew it would be expensive and that if I really wanted it, I would have to be patient and start saving for a trip that might be years into my future. "If you can dream it, you can do it" feels like an accurate summary of how I made it happen.

Sometimes I get the feeling that it looks deceptively easy for me to go to as many shows as I do. Maybe that's a fair assessment for some trips, but there was a lot more behind-the-scenes planning than simply deciding to go to Australia when this leg of the String Theory Tour was announced. This might be an overshare, but the truth is I wanted this trip badly enough that I opened a separate savings account specifically for Australia back in 2012, way before String Theory existed and with blind trust that if I kept saving, it would eventually all work out even if I had no idea when or how. In 2014, I opened an airline credit card, and I never touched a single rewards mile until this trip. That same year, I even trolled my parents with an April Fools' blog post announcing that I was going to Australia, setting the stage for that inevitable "someday" when it would be true, and they believed it wholeheartedly to the point that it took some convincing to get them to believe that I was NOT going to Australia after all. I wish my dad could have been here for the moment I finally announced the real trip to see how he would have reacted. He probably would have claimed he knew it was real all along. I'm sure he knew I'd wind up there eventually.

So after seven years of saving and five years of stockpiling enough rewards miles for a free round-trip flight to Australia (and even turning down the 2017 Australian tour because the timing didn't work), a seated tour including two nights at the Sydney Opera House suddenly felt like the exact right time to finally make it happen. In the end I overshot my stockpiled miles by almost double, I flew for free, and everything cost a whole lot less than what I had planned for, allowing me to splurge on a few great hotels along the way. I'm so happy the timing all worked out the way that it did and that I was able to share it all with a friend that has been on board with this crazy plan right alongside me since 2012. It's been well worth the wait.

Now that I've rambled on as though I've just achieved the ultimate trip of a lifetime, I do have to add that I know I'm no special snowflake for traveling to Australia to see Hanson. Plenty of Americans have done it before me, many will do it after me, and if anything, going on this trip gave me a small taste of just how hard it is for those outside of the U.S. to see Hanson on a normal basis. I have so much respect for every person who gets on a plane for 20 hours every time they go to Back to the Island or just for the chance to see Hanson even once because tours never reach their own country. You guys are dedicated in a way that I've never had to be, and I admire that determination.

Not to go all Taylor Hanson motivational speaker on you (seriously though, I love his speeches and his passion), but if you don't fall into that frequent traveler category and you find yourself dreaming of going some place that seems crazy or unrealistic or too expensive--quit getting in your own way and don't be afraid to start planning now. The concept of "Tonight" and the "do it right now while you can" mentality is a nice idea, but sometimes that means starting something tonight to build towards an even better tomorrow. Save whatever you can whenever you're able; it adds up. Do yourself a favor and join a rewards program for the airline that flies out of your home airport with the best prices. You don't need a credit card to do it, and many offer free ways to earn points just from shopping for things you're already buying. Research it, dream it, do it, cliched etc.

Maybe it will take you ten years, or maybe it will never actually work out because life happens and this isn't a Disney movie no matter how many uplifting mantras we repeat or how many cheesy blog posts we read. But if the worst that can happen is you wind up with extra air miles and a savings account for a rainy day emergency, I say find your patch of green and go for it. To quote part of my own motivation for winding up halfway across the world, "Chase down the dream and don't give up without a fight," and you, too, can find yourself in your own personal version of sunburned and grinning surrounded by kangaroos.

1 comment:

asphodelia said...

This post is what a lot of people in our fanbase should read right now. There's so much jealousy and resentment towards people who travel that it's now turning into a backlash (see all the recent secrets and confessions about BTTI). It's quite refreshing to actually hear what goes on 'behind the scenes' - how you've always wanted to go to Australia, your savings plan, the air miles trick... if people stopped judging and started to make an action plan, it would be a good start. It doesn't mean that everybody will be able to do it - sometimes life is just tough, and sometimes the time isn't right (see your comment about the 2017 Australian tour). But I think a lot of people have other priorities and are not willing to admit it. Do you want a £300 handbag? Great, but then don't come and complain to me if I go on a trip across Europe to see Hanson.

Looking forward to the reviews (I haven't even started on my tour reviews...)