Last weekend was going to be a weekend like many others. I was booked for a wedding on the other side of the country. A fair amount of travelling was required but nothing I’m not used to. I was going to book my tickets, pack my bags, leave for the station and try to deliver a good show. What could go wrong?! Well, the reason why I decided to write this post is to shed some light on how fast simple things can complex. Everything that could go wrong this weekend…went even worse!
I was unable to secure a rigging point at the event which meant I had to rent one. This would have been fine but it required me to make an extra stop in Lisbon, more or less halfway to the final destination. Again, perfectly fine under normal circumstances but here’s where the problems began. What was going to be a quick train ride back and forth had now become a bit of a travelling enigma. I had to find the best and most efficient way to travel to Lisbon, get the rig and find my way to either the train or bus to take me to the Algarve in time and the same in reverse as I had a performance in Porto the day after.
To start it all off, I double booked my tickets on two different websites only to later find out that I could have chosen a better hour, which meant I ended up with four useless tickets. With the site difficult to navigate and unable to call customer support, I made my way to the bus station in the very early hours of the morning, unsure I was going to make it work! A little stressful, but I left with a bit of extra time and onwards I went. I made my way to Lisbon to get the rig, that bit was easy (thank you, Sarita!). Unable to find travel that same day down to the Algarve, I ended up staying for one night at a small hotel close to the station. Not much to do for the rest of the day, I found a way to feed myself, regain some energy and let Netflix take care of the rest. The next morning, I set off with the rig on my back to the train at 7am and arrived at my destination 3 hours later. Things were starting to look up again but I was not prepared for the hours I still had ahead of me!
It was a very hot day with temperatures reaching, at times, 45C. I set up my hoop, taped in the usual black tape, forgetting it was directly in the line of sunshine. By 5pm, I was ready to go. If you haven’t been in this situation before, let me clarify; a black hoop in the sun for an entire afternoon gets interestingly hot! I was meant to do some atmospheric aerial for about 15 minutes as a meet and greet for the guests but ended up being in the air for over 45 until the bride arrived. Delays like this are as common as it gets but the combination of melted glue, beating sunshine, make-up slowly falling off my face and burnt hands made it a little…interesting. After my frst performance, due to the heat and the stickiness, I ended up ripping up both of my hands. This ended up being hilarious for some of the staff as I hopped around the place after cleaning the cuts with ethanol. Thankfully, I had some extra hoop tape in my bag and I used it to improvise a new pair of “stylish” black bandages.
With the gig finally done, all the issues of the day had also come to an en…not so fast! I had my bus back booked to 1.30am, but when I finally finished my last performance the clock marked 2am but made my way to the station anyway. Stuck in the middle of the night, 600 kilometers away from home and too tired to explain why my hands were wrapped in pink tape I ended up having to appeal to the better nature of a grumpy bus driver to let me on to a later bus (read: I was a mess and the driver took pity on me!) Finally on my way back to Lisbon, I got to soak the rest of my tears with some sweet pastries I saved up from the wedding. In a few hours, I was on my train back home.
This story is one of many. We always tend to recall our worse experiences more vividly than the good ones. No matter how many mix-ups or missed buses, we can always take some positives and if they’re good stories, end up laughing about it. Remember that extra steps, no matter how much easier they might make your trip or your gig, always add complexity to the planning and planning is the most important thing for us travelling showgirl types. Try to think ahead and write a clear plan of all the steps you need to do. From getting on the train to making sure you only click once where it says “book” on the website! Remember that in the end, no matter how gorgeous the venue or how fabulous your costume and your makeup look, chances are you’ll spend the day going from tiny problem to tiny problem, and that is perfectly fine! The important thing is to rest, stay focused (eat!) and when the time comes to spin your little heart out, you make sure you whisk everyone in the room away.