Sitting in a coffee shop called Common Ground in Lake Worth, Florida, I’m trying to catch up on blog writing and all the adulting I have been avoiding since starting this tour. Besides registering for classes and finding a place to live for the fall, it’s been pretty responsibility free besides my daily tasks which are still pretty fun. However, strangely enough, all these things pile up and I have this massive list now. Anyways, I know you don’t feel bad at all, so I’m just going to stop fishing and tell you about Nashville!
Short story, I could eat, sleep, and exist quite happily in this music centred city. We arrived pretty well rested at our new friend Kelly’s home after our time in Maryland, but still feeling under the weather. Kelly made us feel so at home, asking us about tour life and life in Canada, offering me kombucha and gluten free toast from the moment I stepped in, and I knew I’d hit the jackpot. Kelly has a huge heart for community and helping people belong. She has a gift for hosting and leads by example all that she values and upholds in her home. At the beginning of the show, Kelly read “the constitution” she had created in order to smooth things over at these shows, in order that everyone feel comfortable and included. Sadly, there has been racism and sexism present in previous shows and with grace and tact, she eloquently expressed her stance on these issues. There were no such issues at this house show, only beautiful music, laughter and good conversations. I’m very grateful for these hosts and musician who continue to reach out, stand up for what they believe in, share love, and hope with those around them and expand the community to include others.
Since one of our shows canceled we had an extra day in Nashville! I don’t think anyone was particularly disappointed, especially after we ate some delicious tacos at The Wild Cow. We spent the afternoon getting some coffee shop work done, which for me included doing blueprints for Closet Craft Lmtd., catching up on social media posts and writing the blog. I also finished applying for Student Aid (you never really stop being a student in the summer) and trying to figure out why Canada Post lost my drivers license in the mail. Just like in the fall semester of school, I was feeling sleepy, so I ditched the guys to nap in the car, curtains drawn and sweating out all the chocolate almond milk and tea I had just consumed. It was 100+ F, and this Vancouver born human is not used to it. I joked about joining a nudist colony a fair amount during this week because clothes were just a hassle and it's annoying that you have to wear clothes when you just want to be swimming in a pool instead of sweat but whatever. After our work was done we went to Lightning 100 Radio and talked to the DJ and one of the representatives there who gave us a tour of the place and gave us free tickets to a show at the Frist Gallery that night! Knowing nothing about Nashville besides that we had to experience the night life and some live music, we were excited to be given the opportunity for both. The Frist Gallery ended up being a really amazing contemporary art gallery with a venue for musicians. The space and stage were decorated in colourful and cosmic design and the band performing, ELEL had nine members. It was a full sound and it had everyone dancing and clapping. The audience was not begged to participate, the room was huge and still, people filled the front and danced with loved ones. Nashville was ready to have a good time and enjoy the sounds that made our bodies move. We spent one more night with Kelly, and she and I got up early to walk to the neighbourhood gluten free and vegan bakery. We shared a lot of the same values and allergies which made relating easy but even if we didn’t have this in common, Kelly is a delightful person with a generous heart and she made me feel so appreciated. Thank you for the treat, the laughs, sharing your home and for being an incredible human being! Keep up the community building and never stop reaching out, you’re making more of an impact than you might guess!
Traveling through Nashville and Georgia (peach county!) we noticed a lot of political or religious billboards that made us cringe or laugh. Usually both reactions at the same time! For example, “All I know is everything - GOD” and “Machine gun rentals here!”. Yup. We rolled into Georgia and immediately recognized it as a University town by its university sweat-shirt shops and young demographics. We played a show at Zombie Coffee & Donuts which is a hot spot during the school semester. A few people in the cafe participated by asking us about Canada and our tour and offering encouragement. Two people, in particular, Molly and Tiger, came to support us and also hosted us that evening. They were moving out the next morning and STILL had us stay with them. THANK YOU! Heroes! Come to Vancouver, and I can for sure offer the same!
The next couple days were a huge change of scenery, as we made our way into Florida. First stop was Pasadena, which is rated one of the top beaches in North America, so I was PUMPED! I deflated a little when I realized that we wouldn’t get enough time to explore until Sheldon told me he had planned only for 30 days in July and we had an extra unplanned day. I’ve already thoroughly covered how much I love the ocean and swimming and salt in a previous post so I won’t go there but this week has been my favourite so far. We stayed with Oliver and Kate, and they were amazing hosts! Oliver and Sheldon go back to primary school days in Newberg, Oregon and had lot’s to catch up on. Before they did though, we celebrated Oliver’s first week in his new house and broke it in with a party and sleepover. We started the next morning right with diner style breakfast in a neighbourhood restaurant, which Oliver treated us to! Thank you SO much! As if that wasn’t sweet enough, Oliver and Kate gave us a tour of Pensacola which included the white sandy beach and turquoise blue water. After some sun tanning and ocean frolicking, we got some fresh seafood, including ceviche and oysters! This was a really good day for eating if you can’t tell. Oliver also made us kimchi ramen from scratch and I got my much-needed dose of sriracha. I have missed sriracha on all my meals more than I’d like to admit this tour. After this much-needed break, sleep, and food we headed to Melbourne, Florida next.
We all anticipated a house show, but when we arrived in Melbourne we rolled up to the address and it was a clothing shop called Standard Collective. We did not know what to expect but it ended up being a really great night! A handful of artists performed, including a slam poet, and it was obvious from the start how supportive the audience was. Giving us their full attention, talking to us between songs, encouraging us with their clapping and words and participating by coming up right next to the stage for Sheldon's final song Home, this was a great crowd. Michael, someone Sheldon has been in contact with long distance for some time exchanging different creative projects with, brought us to his home for the night. He and his wife Katie served us an incredible breakfast and made us feel very comfortable. Michael mentioned showing us the beach, and I for one was down. When he offered to teach us to surf I was ecstatic! Sheldon and I have both dreamed of this moment for over a decade and it was finally happening! For those who have not experienced the Atlantic Ocean, it is very warm off the south coast of the U.S. and it was a dream to swim in which is good because we did a lot of swimming and somersaulting and falling into it. Surfing is harder than I expected, but we did get the gratifying experience of riding some very fast, large waves, even if we didn’t get up on our feet successfully. I tell myself if I had more than an hour I would have for sure done it, but I do have some very large bruises that prove I at least tried. Driving back to Michael’s, Shel and I both agreed it was a pretty surreal experience and that it felt like we weren’t on tour for an afternoon. As it goes we packed up our sleeping bags and day packs, organized the car and headed out once again. Still, in Florida, our next house show was in Tampa Bay and had been organized through couchsurfer.com. Never knowing what to expect and having low standards is how we avoid disappointment, but this time we were all surprised to find that this was an extraordinary and elevated couch experience. From the moment Todd and Michael opened their door to us before we’d even knocked, we felt welcome and completely spoiled by the thoughtfulness and care they’d put into preparing. They gave us a tour of their home, which was certainly a happy one, and all three of us could hardly believe our eyes. From the home-made dinner, laundry luxury, open bar, spa and pool, actual bedrooms, and midnight snacks, we were completely taken care of. More than that though, Todd and Michael were interested in us and sharing their stories with us. Todd and I discussed community, parenting, education, and faith in a very philosophical way and it was refreshing to find people in completely different seasons of life, age groups, cultures and backgrounds who are making it their goal to make a positive impact where they are. After being spoiled with the heated pool and good food for an evening and day, we were all a little thrown for a loop when Shel left for the hospital again. My buddy had some alarming symptoms and we packed up while he got it figured out. The hospital visit took a little longer and we missed our show in Boca Raton, but we still met up with someone we’d met at the Manhattan show, who offered us some couches to sleep on. James was an amazing host, showing us around his hometown which is iconically known for its white sand beaches, palm trees and seaside shops and restaurants. We ate some really good vegan, gluten free donuts, and some tasty lattes. Between the beaches, sunny weather and gluten free food I was in my element for sure (if Josh was reading this he’d call me basic). James has four of the cutest puppies, all of which were rescued, and it was obvious from the moment we stepped into his home, that this was a safe and happy place. I used quite a few polaroids in his hometown and when I went to stock up again, at a local camera shop he bought some for us for the road! Even though we all only spent a day together, your generosity, curiosity, and creativity were all very apparent and I think you will go very far with your coffee roasting business, photography and music endeavors! You have a place in Vancouver if you ever visit!
Our last show in Florida was in a town called Lake Worth. This was a smaller show for sure, and I spent almost the entirety of it catching up as I mentioned. But there were a dozen people that seemed to really enjoy themselves and asked us about Canada and then purchased quite a few Love over Hate t-shirts. We really felt the support at this show and made a couple cool connections, we hope we can follow up with on a later tour. After the show the guys found some dumpsters out back and went diving for “treasure”. As they acted like school boys, bonding over there discoveries, I was on the ground filling the role as tour mom, exclaiming how terrible it would be to have a bed bug or flea infestation in our very cramped, packed, warm car. Florida’s humid and hot weather made dumpsters a breeding ground for bed bugs and fleas. Being pretty allergic to all kinds of bug and insect bites I was low key, actually fully, losing my mind at this point. I fell into silence thinking about all the ways them bringing a dumpster knit afghan, a hideous fur vest and a sailor jacket into this car could go wrong. Not my finest moment, or theirs either for that matter, but to be completely honest it is a little funny to look back on now and remember just how sleepless and hangry and close we were all becoming during these days and nights.
We ended up making it to Pensacola, Florida for our four-hour nap at Oliver’s (where we’d done a house show only days before) and then left for New Orleans to play a show at Peaches Records. Peaches Records was not only a really cool place for a show, and to buy cool records, patches, and enamel pins, but it was in a really central part of town on Magazine street. We were getting weather warnings involuntarily popping up on our iPhone screens and I don’t think we knew just how bad the floods were until Oliver and Kate texted to say they’d abandoned their car and gotten to higher ground. I thought it was super dreamy before they texted, sitting in a coffee shop watching the rain come down and lightning flashes out-side the window, but soon realized this was rather serious. Nothing severe happened, and Sheldon picked up our friends after the show and it all turned out fine, but that was not the last time we received notices on our phones warning us of flooding. We are ever grateful for the support of our friends, family, and hosts; thank you, Nicole for hosting us that night!
If you’re enjoying this tour blog, get more details and pictures and videos, on Sheldoncole’s Instagram(_sheldoncole_) and Facebook where I will be posting shorter updates everyday. The gratitude and joy we all feel being welcomed into these homes and for all the support from all our friends and family is huge. Stay tuned for new music videos, photos, stories and updates next week! Much love!