Travel Q + A with Erik

our work involves a lot of travel, do you like it?
Travel is easily the hardest part of my job. I perform roughly 8-10 presentations each month in different cities sprinkled around the world. It comes out to roughly 250,000 air miles each year.

Don’t shed a tear for me as I stay in some of the nicest resorts in the nicest cities in the world. However, my tour schedule rarely allows more than 18 hours in any one location. Life on the road is glamorously lonely. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to travel for leisure quite a bit and don’t feel as though I’m missing out what these cities have to offer, at least most of the time.

It’s a survival game, mentally and physically. I move from a heightened adrenaline state of being on the stage where I experience the highest of highs to a meditative, almost sedative state of being in order to insulate myself from the hardship of travel. Head down, music up, headphones on to insulate myself from my immediate physical surroundings. The delayed flights, the angry crowds, the toxic conversations that are taking place around those who ware traveling, and then the physical exhaustion of travel. You would think that after sitting on a plane for 12 hours that one would be quite rested. But the paradox of travel for me is that it is exhausting.

Sometimes, I need to go for a run to find rest and clear my mind before I can re-center myself.319526_294177497259304_124334874243568_1196874_1910993792_n_1

What was the most grueling trip schedule you’ve ever had?

I always book my engagements back to back to minimize time away from my family. So I will perform 5 programs in a 5 day period regardless of location. I recently finished a program in Seattle, traveled 16 hours to New Zealand, walked off the plane and delivered a performance in Auckland, and then darted back on a plane and flew to Chicago where I delivered another program.

How do you keep your creativity flowing on the road?
I write, I sketch, I read, and I dream. When I move to a meditative state I capture as many thoughts as possible, writing them down, and keeping them in a file. Not always with a direct goal in mind either. When I envision it, and I know it’s a great idea, maybe even a breakthrough concept, it just doesn’t yet have a place of immediate execution. So I have to wait. But I have faith in this incubation period of creative potential. So I have dozens and dozens of files with hundreds and hundreds of ideas of kinetic, creative energy waiting for their time to come. I am an idea machine. I let my travel serve as a catalyst to spark new ideas and build on old ones previously filed away.

How do you travel with your paint supplies?
As far as supplies go, I travel with only my laptop. I have simplified my life by collaborating with FedEx as a value added travel partner to handle ALL of my luggage.

I ship all of my paint, my canvases, my clothes, and my toiletries via FedEx in advance of every program. When I arrive I have a fresh box of supplies. When I am done, I package them all up and ship them back home from the hotel. Then I hop back on the plane with just my computer to prep for the next location.

Any travel tips you’d like to share?
Always have a backup plan and backup plan to that original backup plan. Travel is hard. Expect delays. Welcome moments when expectations are not met. Rejoice when they are exceeded. Also, be kind to the service providers. They are getting the beat down from almost every customer they encounter.