Last week I took a solo trip to Europe to see some new places and get inspiration for a new project. I booked the ticket from LA many months ago without much thought, just a cheap fare and a chance to get away. Though I arrived with no plans other than what was printed on my airline tickets, my schedule filled up fast. I ended up linking with friends in London, Paris, and Amsterdam, stretching my achilles to painful oblivion from all the walking and hopping through subway trains. I hit all the artful tourist traps I could stomach - The Louvre, The Notre Dame, and Van Gogh Museum to name three. I meditated from high windows overlooking the city. Had a smoke and a drink overlooking the canals. Watched live music from a cramped basement theatre. It was exactly what I wanted to do in the moment. Simple and at the same time indulgent.
I’ve had a growing obsession with this kind of aimless travel for the last few years, especially since I slowed down on tour and album cycles as a recording artist. Getting to experience a new location in and of itself, outside of the context of work, really helps me know myself better. For example, successfully navigating public transport in a foreign language really strokes my ego. While not being able to pronounce the simplest words exposes my insecurities around always feeling in control. I really hate not feeling in control.
This time around I had a new self-discovery: my incessant need to be connected digitally. Despite my desire to “get away from it all” as is the dream of international globe-trotting, as soon as I entered a new country I was overwhelmed with the urgency to get a local data plan for my phone and plug back into the grid. After all, the Instagram Stories from the previous day were slowly expiring and were in need of a refresh. My fans (read: Mom) back home were waiting to see what was going to happen next. And low-key I just needed some good old-fashioned validation via plays and likes.
No matter how self-aware I was, I couldn’t help spending my first couple hours after arrival consumed with the hunt for a SIM card. It started me thinking about how we experience milestone moments in our lives now. Are we missing out on too much of the present by constantly curating and framing our lives for compelling content? Is there a line to be drawn between the creativity that our technology inspires and the detrimental habits we form because of it?
These are questions that defy definite answers. But there’s a conversation to be had out there. Why don’t we try having it more often? Right now there's an opportunity. And this time, we can make it in-person.
Still Mind is co-hosting its first IRL gathering in Los Angeles, Mind/WAVE, this Saturday, March 18th. You’re invited.
I’ll be speaking on one of three live panel discussions and podcasts centered around the arts, creativity, consciousness, and mindfulness practices, and the event will conclude with a meditative sound bath and live music. It should be pretty incredible.
If you're interested, click here for more information on the location and how to reserve tickets.
I’m hyped and honored to join Cory Allen, Daniele Bolleli, Michael Donovan, Joshua Hagler, Noah Lampert, Zach Leary, Kelly MacLean, Maja Ruznic, Third Eye Drops, and Yoshino in pursuing some meaningful conversations face-to-face. Thanks to NOH/WAVE and MindPod Network for making it happen.
Art by Adam Lee.