And we’re mobile!

September 26, 2011

We made it! We finally left our apartment 3 days ago and moved into our argosy trailer. The last 4 days have been absolutely crazy! I wanted to blog earlier but I couldn’t find any time to do so.

So here I am, sitting on the couch while Eleanor ‘s still sleeping, enjoying the quiet of the morning in a Pennsylvania campground in East Stroudsburg. We survived a crazy car crash on our first day driving (a truck rammed into a car and blew it to pieces because of a tree that had fallen on the road – right in front of me!); the holding tanks of our trailer started overflowing and dirty water came out of the shower hole; the trailer makes my allergies go on red alert and I must have used 3 packs of tissues a day for the last three days; we had forgotten some of our clothes and had to backtrack 200 miles to go get them; and we managed to play the first 2 gigs of our ‘No Plan B Tour’!

This has been the most adventure I’ve had in this last year, and i’m loving it! We’re still getting used to our change of quarters and I’m sure it’ll take us a while longer to get comfortable with our new lifestyle, but so far, even though it’s been hectic, we’re having a fun time (though Eleanor might disagree with my use of ‘fun’ ūüôā )

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Next stop: Philapdelphia

Gigs so far: 2

Miles so far: 531


Elie

The No Plan B Tour, aka Living in a Trailer

September 9, 2011

Fourteen days to go until we’ll be living full time in a ¬†trailer!!! So I wanted to take this time to write down our mission statement of sorts, to explain why we’re taking this drastic action (besides the obvious “because its awesome” reason) and what we hope to get out of it.

Short version:  Life is far too short to spend it doing anything other than what you love to do.

Long version:

We’ve been living in and around New York City for four and a half years now, and I’ve been here the majority of my life. ¬†Maybe it’s just that we’ve been stationary for so long, but those four and a half years have all kind of blended into a big mushy ball…they really just flew by in a blur of relative same-ness, and I’d like the rest of my years on earth to be punctuated by more diversity and memorable experiences.

Now New York City might appear to be a really happening place in which to be an artist, and maybe it is for some…but not for me. ¬†It’s taken me awhile to admit that I’m more of a tree/grass/river/mountain person than a concrete/traffic/rat person. ¬†Living in the city, I would literally go outside my apartment building for a walk, get to the end of the block and turn back around (I swear concrete leeches energy from me), so I ended up spending ¬†most of my free time holed up inside my apartment. ¬† I find that the city tends to make me ultra self conscious… maybe its all the people.¬† People, people everywhere.¬† I do enjoy dipping my toes into the human pond, but on the whole I prefer a little more species diversity. ¬†The city makes me feel like I’m living in a large insect colony of some kind (I’m not talking about the cockroaches) – like there’s a whole forest out there and I’m hanging out in the termite mound.

Then there’s the whole having to work a day job to pay your rent thing, it seems like it would make more sense to pursue an artistic career in a less expensive city. ¬†The one and only underpriced thing in NYC is talent; no where else in the western world can you find such talented people willing to work for so little, if anything at all.¬† If I were a public policy maker I would come up with some kind of program to make life a little easier for artists here, and I would do it quickly before they all leave for greener pastures…because without artists New York City would just be a concrete wasteland full of hipsters, tourist attractions and Broadway adaptations of Disney movies.

Also, New Yorkers are a jaded bunch on the whole…its not our fault, it’s just that there is SO much happening everywhere, all the time, that you really start to tune it all out…that goes for everything; art, music, people you pass in the street.

When we went on tour, we would feel so free, happy and inspired. ¬†The thought of returning to the city would leave us both with this heavy, uncomfortable feeling. ¬†It was tangible; as soon as we’d enter New Jersey our moods would take a turn for the worse (insert New Jersey joke). ¬†I think most people would agree that when the thought of returning home makes you bitchy, depressed and anxious, its a pretty clear indication that you’re not in the right place!

We’d talked about the idea of living some sort of mobile¬†existence, but never very seriously . ¬†Then during one of our annual camping trips in Montauk, these two gorgeous airstreams pulled up to the spot next to ours, and we spent the night gazing longingly at them.¬† I think that’s when the seed was planted. ¬†We love travelling, we feel most alive when we’re exploring new places, and we hate feeling weighed down with belongings, jobs, rent, etc. ¬†so I’m really surprised that it took us this long to go the nomadic route.

We started to realize that we didn’t want to “pursue” a career anymore…we didn’t want to spend our day-to- day lives working jobs that didn’t satisfy us, ¬†in the hopes that one day we’d “make it” and be able to make a living off of our music.¬† So, what? ¬†So, we cut our expenses as much as possible, make touring as economic as possible, and play as much as we can…basically, like the best slogan in the world says, we JUST DO IT! ¬†I have no idea whether this will be a viable solution (not that there’s really anything to solve), or where it will take us…but I do know that at the very least it will be an adventure – and it feels like a life style which is far more in alignment with who we are and what we want our lives to look like!

 


Eleanor

Airstream Pre-flight ‚Äď PART II

September 6, 2011

If you haven’t heard about hurricane Irene and live in the USA, you’re probably living under a rock. It’s one of the biggest hurricanes to hit the East-North East coast in a great many years. And it decided to happen right when our beautiful trailer had a gaping hole on its port side. Now we could just have boarded the hole with cardboard and tape, or covered the whole trailer with a tarp, except the very center of Irene was supposed to be going right through where we live (Pelham, NY) – and there’s quite a few trees around here! So we had to move the trailer to a safer place (it’s not insured yet… we tried to insure it but the insurance companies wouldn’t insure it before after the storm had passed). It was actually not a bad thing as we wanted to take it out and test most of the systems before setting sail in September. If it hadn’t been for the hole in the frame, it would have been no problem.

The only way we could think of securing that hole for the time being was to put a piece of cardboard in the frame where the heater is supposed to be and cover the whole area with a trash bag taped to the side (very ghetto). So a few hours later, with our seal of fortune, we’re then on our way: West it is! We drove to Binghamton, NY which seemed to be far enough to be on the safe side (rain but no storm conditions). We hooked the trailer up for the first time in an RV campground and everything was working (except of course the water heater… you can (re)read part I if you don’t know why…)

Now it’s Sunday evening, we’re on our way back to Pelham, the trash bag didn’t hold so we’ve already stopped twice to add duct tape and stick a towel behind the bag to absorb as much water as possible (it’s still raining), and we’re hungry! But, the trailer is safe, and so are we!

Stay tuned for the next part in our pre-flight series!


Elie

Airstream Pre-flight – PART I

September 3, 2011

So, as you probably know by now, we’re planning on leaving our apartment at the end of September and living permanently on the road. The good news is that we now have our new home! A beautiful 24′ Argosy from 1975.

It’s in almost perfect condition, the previous owner has done a lot of work on it and the only issue with it was that the water heater had a bad leak and needed to be replaced.

So a couple weeks back I decided to to order a new one and replace it. How hard can it be, right? Right… well, let me tell you, for somebody with not much experience with household appliances and handy work, it’s pretty hard! It’s one of those things that look easy but then you start doing it and realize how much you don’t know and how much more there is to be done. The water heater is an appliance that connects to the gas line, the water line, the electric and has a door to the outside – which means it’s basically dealing with most of the possible issues you can have in a trailer (gas leaks, water leaks, electric, insulation, sealing, exterior paint, etc…).On top of dealing with all these things, it turns out that the replacement heater for our 35 year old trailer is almost the same. Almost, but not quite… The hole for the gas line is not at the same place and doesn’t match the hole in the trailer floor. The connection for the water are not the same size and of course, not at the same place either… and the same for the holes to fix it on the frame.

After spending my first week-end battling with it to just figure out how I was going to connect the gas, we decided that I might be well over my head and call a repair center to get a quote. We got the quote – and I went back to work! Too much money, so I’m just going to have to do my best and make it happen!
A week after that, with the help of savvy other handy airstream owner (thank you airforums!), I managed to get the gas line and the water connected. Now I just have to wait for the sealant to arrive and I can  finally finish the installation!

At least that’s what I thought until… IRENE (continued on part 2)


Elie