My, my, my... how my life has changed in the past week! I went from touring the country in a Broadway National Tour to being plopped back into my childhood home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. With the way the world is right now, I am endlessly grateful to be healthy and at home with my parents for the time being. A quick update and timeline of Margaritaville's experience with COVID-19:
First of all, I need to be clear. I wouldn't consider myself especially "outdoorsy." The idea of hiking, trailing, and exploring nature never seemed like a super idea to me, in fact, in sounded more like a nightmare that resulted in muddy Adidas superstar sneakers and a few bruises due to the inevitable slippery rock catastrophe. I would much prefer a nice glass of Pinot Grigio next to a fireplace. All this to say, however, my mind has been completely changed over the past six months on tour.
The cool thing about doing a long-running show on the road is that most days you actually have the day time free without anything to do until the show at night. This leaves a kid with a lot of time on his hands. My cast is a group of nature-loving explorers and I've begun to really enjoy the idea of taking a hike or adventuring up a mountain. It provides a mini getaway from the "tour bubble", as they call it.
As the air gets crisp, and we all break out our vests from the back of the closet, the trees in Upstate New York turn vibrant shades of scarlet and rust. This past year, they were showing off their foliage in full display, at the same time that Margaritaville just so happened to be passing through and got a glimpse of the natural beauty of an autumn in New York! Complete with hot coffee, apple picking, and corn maze-ing, our sweet weekend trip on the orchard was just what we needed!
Perhaps the most shocking, pleasant surprise of all tour stops thus far has been Fayetteville, Arkansas. Never in a million years did I imagine falling in love with a college town in the northwest corner of Arkansas, but this stop came right at a time when we were beginning our understanding of what it truly meant to be on tour. Our fifth stop on the route, Fayetteville allowed us quiet moments in coffee shops, birthday celebrations, and hiking through Devil's Den State Park! There's a southern charm that is woven through the streets of this city, unlike anything I had experienced before. Viewing the sunrise atop a hillside in The Ozark Mountains left me feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead in this quaint, little town.
"Golden Day" - a term every roadie knows and loves. A day with no travel, rehearsal, show, or anything work-related while on the road is pretty rare, so when those special days arise, you have to live it up! We were so lucky that we got TWO Golden Days in a row on our week in Palm Desert, CA. What better place to be in late January, the dead of winter where I come from, than Palm Springs?! We took full advantage of company rental cars and traveled to Joshua Tree National Park for a day trip through some of the most incredible sights found in the desert.
We were given a Golden Day (see above for definition) the day after we traveled to Modesto, CA. This meant that we were a 2-hour drive from Yosemite National Park, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such a place was just too good to pass up! Thanks to the expert planning of my friend Sophie, we stayed in a beautiful cabin just outside Yosemite. It was a magical mountain getaway that we didn't know how badly we needed! From The Grizzly Giant, the Half Dome, El Capitan (if you have some free time, which you DO because #SocialDistancing, watch this documentary "Free Solo"), and Yosemite Falls, we truly got to see all that Yosemite National Park has to offer. The views were spectacular and the memories will last a lifetime!
I look forward to further exploration of this beautiful country that I get to call home. For now, however, I will be inside, #SocialDistancing in quarantine, trying to keep myself occupied amidst the craziness happening all around us. Wash your hands and trust that we will come out on the other side of this pandemic a more peaceful and united people.