I just wrapped up an amazing fall tour that was an experience I will never forget. I’ll get into all the details below, but here is a quick summery of my journey by the numbers.
6 States & 1 Province (Washington & California)
30 Total school shows (schools and support groups)
10’s of thousands of students educated about food allergies
The first leg of the tour started as a good old fashion road trip along the east coast. I performed at the KFA Expo in Philadelphia for the fourth straight year! Check out the video from the event. I then moved on to New Jersey for a show and then on to Boston where I stayed with friends and put on a few more school shows. One family drove two hours to watch one of my shows and even had a customized t-shirt! Love it.
The drive continued to Long Island where I squeezed in 5 shows at 3 schools in 2 days. I was amazed by some of the beautiful auditoriums I played in. It’s a real treat to be on such a big stage with amazing acoustics throughout the room. I ended the trip on one of the most memorable stages I’ve ever played on – a flatbed truck! I’ve performed on picnic tables, playhouses, and many other odd spots, but this was a real treat! It was at the FAAN walk in Philadelphia where I got to catch up with friends and perform on a beautiful sunny fall day. I even got sunburnt!
I then enjoyed a few days back at home in Canada with my family and friends. It was a good time to recharge my batteries before heading out west.
I was very lucky that my wife accompanied me on the first half of the trip which made it really fun. She grew tired quite quickly of me calling her my “roadie”. “Groupie” went over even worse! 🙂
Our voyage started with a couple misty days in Seattle. My school show was in the nicest auditorium I’ve ever been in. It was hard not to feel like a rock star on such a huge stage! That afternoon I attended my first state fair at the Puyallup fair. I’ve heard a lot of my U.S. friends go on about how great state fairs are. After seeing one in person- I completely I agree. Muttin’ Bustin’ was by far the highlight!
The next day we had a great time with our friends at WAFEAST– a support group for the Seattle area. I have performed at their FAAN walk twice before, so it was really great to do a concert where I was amongst old friends and new energized fans!
Next up: San Francisco! I rented an apartment off of www.airbnb.com – if you’ve never heard of this site, you really should check it out. We settled in and started the two week “residency” with a routine of crazy early mornings and touristy afternoons and evenings.
I was fortunate to have so many shows in one particular school district which apparently applied and received a grant that helped fund the shows. This district also had a parent anaphylaxis education night where a panel helped answer questions about anaphylaxis and explain school policies. The idea was great- but the discussion was truly fantastic. I really enjoyed being a part of it and the opportunity to provide perspective as an allergic individual.
My school shows went very well and I was particularly impressed by the high level of questions that students asked me at the end of each show.
There was one show that really stood out as being extra special. Many of you may know of Brian Hom – a tireless allergy advocate who has turned the tragic death of his son BJ into positive change. It was an honor to meet Brian as he is such an inspirational man. I was fortunate to perform at BJ’s old middle school where Brian shared the stage with me and told BJ’s story. The students truly felt the impact of BJ’s story and the direct connection to their school. I was excited to hear that they were 1 of 5 schools chosen to participate in a special anaphylaxis awareness workshop with the opportunity to earn a $2000 scholarship from Mylan. For more details visit http://www.anaphylaxis101.com/the-challenge/about-the-challenge.aspx
But you know me. I’m not all work and no play! My wife and I enjoyed our time playing tourists and did some amazing things!
Golden Gate Bridge Muir WoodsMount Diablo
Reno (and did my annual flushing of $20 down a toilet/slot machine)
San Francisco Giants game
Oakland Athletics game
I then returned to Canada and had a whirlwind of shows in Toronto over the course of 2.5 weeks. After living in Toronto for 4 years, it was a treat to be back and see so many of my friends and eat some of my local fav foods.
I won’t lie, the two months I spent travelling and performing was a grind, but I am so incredibly lucky to do what I love while travelling to so many amazing locations.
Would I do it all again? Absolutely! In fact I am planning another big tour in May, 2013, as well as again next year in September and October. If you think my shows would be a hit at your school, please drop me a line – I’d love to hear from you and hopefully come to your school later this year!
For pictures of my fall tour, please see the album on my Facebook page.
Until next time!