There’s one month left before thousands of fans descend upon Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival, a four-day camping and music bonanza held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. This year’s lineup is full of big names like Eminem, Arcade Fire, the Black Keys, Neil Young, Lil Wayne, Robert Plant & Band of Joy, Mumford & Sons, and the Strokes. Some serious DJ’s will be in attendance too (Girl Talk and Bassnectar) and while we’re still waiting to hear what’s up with the Lunar Stage, here’s some numbers to get your mind crunching…. For more on the Roo experience check out JetsetFarryn’s full coverage
Let’s lay it out:
1. The hysterical hour you will spend raging in the Silent Disco 2. VIP tickets to the festival, with exclusive VIP entrance… ballin’ 3. Slices of Spicy Pizza you “will not” eat 4. Nights you will spend beneath the stars camping out like a VIP in Tent City. 5. The two exclusive viewing areas on What and Which Stages and three lounges located throughout the fest - for your VIP pleasure 6. Times you will get lost if you don’t bring a flag, balloon or other creepy item to help locate your camping spot. 7. The new bands you’ll fall in love with at the Cafe Stage 8. The time each morning you will pretend to wake up for Yoga in Centeroo. 9. Years of attracting festival fanatics. Happy Birthday to Roo! 10. Hours you’ll spend in the car-lane if you’re not a New Yorker.
It’s that time of year again, and while I might be stuck on this side of the sea, there’s no reason you can’t Ibiza It Up for me. With a brand new Cipriani, and a fresh-to-death lineup at Ushuaia Beach, that baller balearic island is packing much more than the heat. Read it all…
Uncomfortable. That word has been on my mind a lot lately. And I have realized that I am quite comfortable, with uncomfortable. I kept my mouth shut when the waiter got my order entirely wrong (and I’m ‘allergic’ to cilantro); I sat with soap in my eye for 35-minutes during my Hammam instead of simply asking for some water; and I drip-sweated through the drive to Kayseri instead of asking for the clearly-right-in-front-of-me AC. I always sleep on the ground (really I do), I never complain about food (which has taught me to eat everything) and not once have I ever snarked at the sight of an Eastern toilet (aka a hole in the ground), or a dirty hand to shake or a sip of a strangers’ Bombilla. It’s not that I am soft-spoken (well you already knew that) and it’s not that I am embarrassed, but for me, un-comfortability comes with the territory. It builds cojones (yes, I said that) and character… the type of character needed to be a great traveler.
Let me preface this by saying that relatively, I am rarely in “uncomfortable situations.” I’m writing this from a beautiful boutique hotel carved into a cave in Cappadocia. I have three of my closest friends sleeping in the room next door, I have a bed, running water and WiFi. But the times in my life where I have had one, or none of these things, were some of the best, most deeply moving moments I can remember.
I was asked at dinner this evening if I have ever felt “uncomfortable” during my travels (uncomfortable kindly meaning threatened or scared). Well, yes, I once slept alone in a strangers mud home, 40 minutes hiking distance from the main road, which was 4-hours from the Pakistani border, which was hundreds of miles from civilization; Yes, I once got locked in a cab in Brazil until I emptied my wallet, and all of my just-purchased souvenirs; and yes, I’ve been - let’s just say - groped once or twice or a dozen times by some over zealous Spaniards in Ibiza.
But uncomfortable? No.
In truth, when I am on the road — sweaty, smushed, displaced and disorganized, over-tired, over-worked, over-the-flights and over-the-sites — I am at my most comfortable. There are no smoke-and-mirrors as my good friend once called it. There’s just, plain old… me. In my own skin, at home with that second of time, and happy.
It’s easy to idealize traveling (and I admittedly often do). Who doesn’t love to travel? But I am not speaking of impeccably decorated hotels and indulgent room service, or five-star sites and carefully staged moments that we as “tourists” are meant to see. I am speaking of the experience. The experience of picking yourself up, throwing yourself out there, putting your body and mind and soul into a new, often uncomfortable situation, and going with it. Be it four days in the Amazon with no real shower (No, I never ever smell) or sleeping in swivel-chairs in internet cafes as you bullet-train through Tokyo; getting taken for a roller coaster rickshaw ride through Chennai (I said store, not empty field with elephants) or having a panic attack on top of a snow-covered volcano at 12,000 vertical feet. Accepting moments in your history for what they are, and embracing them… well that, is the best part of this world we call traveling. Because in this way, travel is a challenge, and a challenge, is what molds you into who you are, right now, and who you will be when you wake up tomorrow.
Today, a Turkish woman in a cave took out her eyeliner and placed it abruptly on the inside lower lid of my eye. It was full of sand, slightly painful (Turkish women are not known to be dainty) and completely not hiking-appropriate. In New York, in the middle of the day, if a woman in a headscarf took out her makeup and grabbed my face, I would ninja her ass so fast… But here — in another place, another time, another world — I am open. I am ready for whatever this world wants to share with me, and I am down to give it right back.
So come on world, bring it. Let’s get uncomfy together.
Photographer and lady-of-twitter @Kirsten_Al nominated me for 7 Links, a Trip Base initiative to connect bloggers and find forgotten content that deserves a second chance. Don’t take yourself too seriously, but take the opportunities life gives you, very seriously. Here are my unusual 7 Links.
It’s no secret that I don’t take my tweets too seriously, but it is something I am proud of. As a self-inflicted social-media-ite, it’s a honor to be nominated for a Shorty Award in Travel. Here are some reasons why you should vote, or not vote for me, after all, it’s all about democracy. Go…
What’s your best tweet? A nude photo of me… just kidding (or am I?)
What are six things you could never do without? Planes. Trains. Automobiles. Bicycles. Boats. Hovercraft.
Why’d you start tweeting? I couldn’t keep all these travels to myself.
Has Twitter changed your life? If yes, how? Yes… Because I have over five thousand, awesome, smart, witty, brilliant, welcoming, supportive, hilarious, terse new friends.
What do you wish people would do more of on Twitter? Be themselves. You’re weird, and that’s cool. Go with it.
How will the world change in the next year? Offline is the new online.
What feature should Twitter add? I’d like them to hire me before I answer this question…
Who do you wish had a Twitter feed but doesn’t? My grandma. She rocks an iPad though.
What are some words or phrases you refuse to shorten for brevity? Because. Oh and also, circumbilivagination.
Is there someone you want to follow you who doesn’t already? If so, who? Tyler Brûlé. Hey you.
What inspires you to tweet? Sharing the world with the world.
140 characters of advice for a new user? Just tweet it.
Why should people follow you? I make fun of myself all of the time… oh, and the nude pictures, duh. Also, I love what I do, and I hope that passion is contagious.
Why should we vote for you? I chill in tents in Pakistan, dance on tables in Ibiza, hike badass Volcanoes, sleep in the Amazon, pray in India. Then I tell you about it.
Terms you wish would start trending on Twitter right now? #Brilldotcom
Hashtag you created that you wish everyone used? #Brilldotcom… stemming from the latin word, Brilliant.
How do you make your tweets unique? I’m simply myself… take it or tweet it.
Consistency. That word is something of a foe to me. It seems stale, predictable, and nothing like the world of words I live in. And yet there’s something to be said for the understood, familiar or dare I say, comfortable… (my latest piece for Burton Snowboards)
Appropo, my recent crush on consistency developed last month in Japan. I arrived after a full 8 hours of sleep, charged through the all too familiar Narita airport and grabbed the first bus to Roppongi. I was home, in less than an hour, which is almost impossible thanks to Tokyo’s terrible traffic. Not a bad way to start.
The first time I visited Japan was on Semester at Sea, over 5 years ago. The sheer adrenaline of the adventure, the bliss of purposeful yet free-to-be travel was inspiring in itself; But add a week of backpacking, train hopping, internet-cafe sleeping, photo-safari-ing (sans cell phones!) to an already exhilarating experience… Now that, makes magic happen. I felt that magic when I ate Toro – true Toro – for the first time at 4 am in Tsukiji Fish Market, laughing over every bite. I felt that magic wandering through the nostalgic streets of Kyoto and falling in love with Fushimi Inari. I felt that magic sitting in Shibuya, stunned and thankful to be there in that moment, when the light turns green, in the world’s largest intersection.
The second time I visited was en-route to Thailand. Japan was a welcome stopover, with just enough time baked in to stock up on Vintage t-shirts from Harajuku, and once again, melt over Omakase.
The third and fourth times are a bit of a business blur. Work took precedence over exploration. But on my day off, I trained, bused and cabbed it 5 hours to Nagano, to hang out with some Snow Monkeys and make the 5-hour trek back. And with my humbling West to East jet lag, I took 5 am runs through Meju Shrine. So it wasn’t completely useless.
Needless to say, the past time, lucky number 5, was different.
In life, in all major decisions, you can choose the old or the new. Instinctually, I always go for the new: new lessons, new perspectives, new challenges and new dreams. Needless to say, at this stage in my life, with an ever-burning need to see, hear, taste, touch and smell all that I can (it’s a blessing and a curse), a repeat performance is not common.
But for the first time, newness took second place to familiarity. For the first time in a long time, a foreign place felt comforting and easy to digest. I could understand the language (enough to get applause from many Japanese colleges and friends); I could navigate the city (enough to know where we were at almost all times); I could order my own meals, (most of which were in true Japanese fashion and style).
But mainly, I could relax. I could release the pressure of adventure, and note to self: the first, second, third and most definitely fourth times of tourist touring will suffice. You’ve been to the Imperial Palace four more times than the Empire State. And what this did, was allow me to live in the moment.
As travelers, we invest in our itineraries. And often you get so caught up in the planning and schedule that you lose sight of the minutes, seconds of detail that bring the most inspiration and awareness. As a photographer, I get lost behind the lens. I express myself through the shutter, the need for that spirited shot. Could it be, that in capturing the moment, I am missing it?
So forgo the phone, camera, headphones, map… and look up.
Because if there’s one thing I know, the world is always inspiring. And that’s a consistency you can count on.