Late January through February 2011 I was touring solo in Europe for the first time. There was sense of adventure I was looking forward too, my confidence rested on the fact that "I do what I do" musically. I didn't have many actual gigs lined up, but going to the destinations I hoped might lead to serendipitous fortune. The bottom line was, and still is for that matter, 'doing things' that were out of my comfort zone so that I can grow as an artist and human being.
I started out in Cannes, France to showcase at the MIDEM music conference for 5 days, "Couchsurfed" in Lyon for 3 days and then on to Paris where I performed at many open mics to great response thanks to my host Geremy taking me around, proudly touting his temporary role as my "manager" throughout my 4 eye-opening days amongst unpretentious Parisians who surprised me with their passion and appreciation for "what I do". Geremy(right) and an unidentified friend in Paris
After Paris I went to Amsterdam, arriving in the evening of January 31st. My Couchsurfing host was nice enough. The only difficulty was walking up 3 stories in a narrow stairwell with my four pieces of luggage, plus a guitar on my back. He didn't assist. I had a few days to hang out there before heading north to where I had a scheduled house concert in the northern region of The Netherlands, a gig that I needed to refill my coffers, considering my funds were pretty low, my fundraiser concert before I left having been less than stellar in attendance but, as is the usual case, artistic bliss.
I had a pleasant time with my host, getting dinner at nearby restaurant but turning in fairly early, tired from the travel. Before going to sleep I checked my laptop and fund availability in my bank account, which I did religiously. Satisfied, I fell asleep.
The next morning I checked my emails only to be startled by an overdraft alert from my bank. The adventure hit a bump. I was over $350 in the red and only had 100 euros cash in my pocket - not enough to get to my next destination and feeling suddenly very far away from home. I had to tell my host the situation and his welcoming demeanor suddenly changed as if I was a vagrant and might never leave.
Where that good fortune of serendipity comes in: An old middle school acquaintance had gotten in touch with me on Facebook seeing I had announced my travel plans and was posting pics every day. My friend Karla, wanting to reach out in support, said that if I am going to Amsterdam I should look her family friend up while there and gave me her friend's contact info.
As my host was starting to grow impatient with me to find a solution to my "problem", I told him that I'll figure it out and will do all I can to leave ASAP. With that declared, I wrote a long letter of appeal to the people on my Email List, explaining what had happened and that I needed to raised $1000 immediately to get me through revealed my PayPal account information and crossed my fingers. I proposed guitar lessons and merchandise upon my return to the States, not seeking a pure handout but clearly shouting a Call To Action to anyone that would respond. Of course, my biggest fear was that someone might think my plea was a hoax from Nigeria or the like.
The next thing I did was to contact the person I was told of by my friend Karla by phone. To my immediate relief, "Ko", the family friend, asked where I was, and asked to speak to my ever-growing-cold host. He called a taxi to bring me to his apartment, which was outside of the city in a suburb. The first thing he did upon greeting me was to give me a great big hug and declare that for all intents and purposes "I'm home". I had a good rest of the day with my new host, Ko, and his sweet girlfriend Giny. Ko and Jiny in Amsterdam
It wasn't until the next day, when we got into town that I was able to hook into WiFi with my laptop to see that my distress call was answered, seeing that there were emails from PayPal by which I saw more than what I asked for sitting in my account. I had learned something that still resonates with me to this day which is beyond "ask and ye shall receive" but more along the lines of "Hurl myself into the unknown, with full heart committed to using my gifts and talents and being on that path, everything will work out for the best.
On that note, this is where I find myself seven years later, pushing forward to see what happens, with full heart and commitment. What I have to offer focus and work to heal and help pull our fragmented society together with music, and by example. What is clear to me is that I can't do this alone, and nor do I want to. It is you, my fellow "Walkers" that I will work to inspire engagement, intrigue and great music both live and recorded.
I ask that you simply engage and share content that I/we produce that you like with your friends. It is by way of your open hearts that we may really see what happens. After nearly 50 years of trying I feel that something's gonna finally give way.