What we miss when we travel

Parents aside, baseball was my first love.

Red Wings hockey quickly followed.

Both relationships were nothing but positive, save for some long nights to stay in touch during west coast road trips.

“I love you so much”

“You go to sleep first”

“No, you hang up”

“No, you!”

Throughout my childhood, while listening to the static silence of indistinguishable voices emanating from ballpark seats be cut by the crack of wooden bats on AM radio, I also developed a fondness for travel thanks to a dad whose small business flourished in Reagan’s 80s.

I carry forward the sense of wonder and adventure forged 30 years ago, added a bit more authenticity and risk-taking, and lumped in a wife, small business and a couple of kids of my own.

All that to say, my family travels a lot. Sometimes, though, there are trade offs to being away from home so much. And sometimes I bemoan what we miss when we travel.

My other most meaningful relationship, also carried forward into adulthood, has been my love affair with music — both recorded and live in concert.

I have been feeding off the energy of seeing bands live in bars, church basements, living rooms, and in small theaters since I walked into the City Gardens for my first Afghan Whigs concert — age 18. I was scared shitless to be in that part — or in any part, really — of Trenton, New Jersey. My safe suburban home seemed light years away that night but from then on I would keep traveling far from home, literally and figuratively, to see the bands and artists who were making an impact in my life.

This spring, those two old lovers — travel and music — will meet and will be at each other’s throats like open-minded kids and racist uncles around the dinner table on Thanksgiving.

Our travel schedule has been and will continue to cause me to miss both old favorites and brand new musical discoveries live in concert.

There’s a young lady from Australia who my girls and I adore. She came to Philly for the first time on a Friday night — perfect! — but not quite perfect because it was the same night we had a flight to Dublin.

That was a killer trip but man I cannot let go of the missed opportunity to see Alex Lahey. Some four months later and I am still bemoaning not being at her show.

Not letting go of what we miss when we travel may be my most idiotic personality quirk — and that’s saying something! I guess I just thought that by the years 2017 and ’18 we’d be able to be in two places at once. So much for ‘the future’. Thanks for nothing, science.

Next week, I’ll miss seeing another young lady from Australia live in concert as she makes her own Philly debut. I mean, yeah, Norway is going to be ridiculously cool, but Gordi!!

I’ve been obsessed, completed and totally head over heels obsessed, with Sophie Payten aka Gordi for a couple of months now; obsessed with her albums (an LP and EP), her acoustic performances on YouTube, and this DROP DEAD GORGEOUS piano rendition of her brilliant song “Can We Work It Out” that I, and this is no exaggeration, listened to hundreds of times during our Carnival Cruise to Belize and Honduras in February.

Finally, the end-for-now of my live music missed pity party will come in early April when one of my top fiver’s visits Philly again on the back of their blistering new album What A Time To Be Alive. Superchunk are indie rock royalty and are incredible live, but I will be in San Diego therefore not in the room when they preach the gospel of good vs evil for a thousand Philadelphians.

Last night, my family drove to Philly together, in the start of a Nor’easter, to see one of our modern day faves — and my youngest daughter’s absolutely favorite band — live in concert, acoustically, in the sanctuary of a Unitarian church.

What we miss when we travel

Lucius were glorious last night. GLORIOUS. 

Yet, if their acoustic tour brought them to town just 72 hours later, we’d have missed it and I’d have been apoplectic. Even though we didn’t miss seeing Lucius, I still dwell on the near miss and have unwarranted anxiety about it. Music means that much to me.

I know what you’re thinking, that I should probably shut up about what we miss when we travel (you’re not wrong) but this intersection of passions, this meeting of old lovers — it is legitimately a struggle for me to come to terms with, which might make me the greediest person for wanting it all. I’ll own that.

In a funny twist, the very night I most certainly won’t be bouncing along with Superchunk in Philly, I’ll be at a baseball game in San Diego. That trip to Petco Park will be my 21st active MLB ballpark, proving that nothing in life can compete with a true first love.