I set up all of my gear on Pacific Street (pictured above), the main drag in Santa Cruz not really knowing what to expect. I made a promise to myself though that I would just play until the batteries in my amp ran out. I wasn’t expecting to have a great experience, but I was open to just seeing what could happen. lined up and down the street in both directions were venders of all kinds. There were people playing instruments, blasting music, and some just hanging out on the sidewalk. Safe to say I felt kind of overwhelmed to start out with and very out of place.
There was a voice telling me to stop, telling to pack up and just drive home, that no one cared about what I was doing and worse, that I was pissing people off. I can laugh now because I don’t know who’s voice that is but I hear it all the time and am so used to it‘s stories. After a few hours of playing though, the judgemental voice died down and in its place was simply peace. I didn’t care how much money I made, I just wanted to connect with people. So I kept playing….and playing….and playing. I took more and more risks and just accepted what I was embodying at the time.
After a few hours more and more people started to come up to me. There was a woman working an information booth about 20 feet in front of me. She tossed me a dollar piece and said “I’ve been working this booth for 10 years and I’ve never heard anyone play as good as you. Thank You”.
A little while later there was another woman who happened to walk by as I started fingerpicking a song. She looked at me briefly and then started to cross the street. When I began singing, she immediately turned around and stood about 10 feet from me, looking into my eyes as I sang. She stayed for about 3 songs and when I was done with the third one, she said “Your Voice! You really tell a story with your singing”. It was a beautiful moment. I thought about asking her if she wanted to grab a drink with me later but decided that that moment wasn’t about that, so I didn’t.
I kept on playing…5 6 hours or so. It got pretty cold (like 45 degrees) but I just kept going. By the time I was done I was pretty exhausted but totally present. Playing in Santa Cruz was a great end to an amazing month of music. Each stop along the way had special moments. I met so many wonderful people, and was taken care of financially each time I opened up my case. I learned a lot about what I actually need to thrive. It isn’t much. A bed to sleep in, music, the gym, and a few meals a day. This trip taught me a lot about my resilience, my strength, my courage, and my human heart. I pushed through a lot to uncomfortable moments with the intention of connecting and just being present with my experience. I have faith now that I can play music anywhere and that I’ll be taken care of. I know I can make do without much and that I don’t need most of things that I thought I did to be happy.
I just got back to Seattle an hour ago and am already itching to get back out again. A longer trip into the Deep South through the winter will be next. There’s some states I haven’t played in and I’m looking forward to exploring more of what’s possible with a life of music.