me and the music

(i am aware this is a britney spears song title, which makes me love this post all the more)

alternate title: living without stuff, pt. IV.

music has long played a big part in my life…  but then again, so has travel. unfortunately, playing music and travel are two things that don’t often seem to fit well together i’ve found (unless you’re in a touring band, of course). back in my late high school/early university days, my music buddies and bandmates seemed always sort of perplexed when i up and left for a few weeks for up to a month every summer, sometimes missing gigs. “why… how did you get to be so interested in europe?”, i can recall one of them asking one time, trying to understand. i was so upset when i had to miss a gig on my first trip to europe that i actually dreamt about it that night… perhaps around the same time it was happening back in pacific standard time. (synergy!)

last summer at my favorite karaoke bar in seattle, i was approached by a group of guys that play in a psych-rock band and asked if i might like to sing for them. (okay, where were these guys like five years ago?!) i sort of just sighed and proffered a, “……i live in the czech republic now.” buhhhh. if i were alanis morisette, i would try to fit a line about that into “ironic”.

it has always been sort of a choice. it can be music or it can be travel, but i haven’t yet found a great way to combine the two, and at risk of sounding dramatic, it eats at my soul. add to that my earlier commitment to a minimalistic lifestyle in my first two years of living abroad, and there was virtually no music in my life at all, besides the odd opportunity to see a couple live bands around town.

when you haven’t got guitars, amps, stereos, and record players lying around (which are all dreaded, evil things in the high church of minimalism), you just don’t have a single opportunity. a few months after moving to budějovice, i caved and picked up a cute little acoustic guitar, but it hasn’t filled the void. it isn’t capable of producing the sounds i long to hear. i guess i need records! pedals! cables! keyboards! all of the things that make music creation possible, or at least bring music to life somehow.

we’ve got by well enough with our little ihome speaker i’ve mentioned before. this is the perfect solution to your music-listening needs when it comes to travel and a minimalistic lifestyle. that thing is great; i use it constantly even to play audio files for my classes! however it’s just not so convenient as a record player or stereo sitting on a table, ready to go. i have to dig the speaker out of whatever bag i had it in and then, well you know, subject to laziness.

the point is, i guess i’m finally ready to acquire some musical things again. i’m not looking to build a record collection or anything, but just a few really great records would be life-changing for this musical drought i’ve chosen to live my life in. i just can’t keep doing the minimalism thing after over three years. well, let’s face it, that died last autumn after coming back from the states and making very necessary life upgrades with a new commitment to actually buy what we need (and sometimes want) instead of living in a bare-bones situation.

and well, maybe i will end up buying a cheapo bass guitar and amp, after all. you can’t do anything if you don’t have the tools… and something’s got to give. it can only go uphill from here!

how do you combine music life with travel or with life abroad?

previous incarnations of the living without stuff series…
part three: does our stuff make us who we are?
part two: getting comfortable without stuff
part one: getting creative with minimalism