I’m about to reach the end of my journey. On Sunday I’m going back to where I started, to Budapest. Have I learned anything? Did I got enlightened? Understood the meaning of life? Unfortunately no. But that’s okay. Before I left, one of my friends said “It’s alright, your journey doesn’t have to make sense to anyone. Hopefully if you go far enough you might just find yourself. ”
So have I found myself? I didn’t think I was lost in the first place. The answer is yes and no. I found courage, I found joy, but most of all I was reminded by what’s really important and how it feels when you can’t do it.
I learned that it would’ve been better to stay longer in one place, to get to know the city and maybe organise a few gigs in cafes. It would’ve been better to have an amplifier, to get rid of the guitar and do a one women acapella show instead. Well, that’s the plan for the future. I found that smaller cities are better. I did like Berlin for example, but it seemed that there is a street performer on every street corner. And it’s the same here in Prague.
I tried to do something productive on rainy days. Practise my guitar playing skills or write songs or tried my best not to do any of the above and procrastinate… Planned for world domination…And yes, I did visit some of the tourist attractions.
Eventually I got better in forgetting myself while performing. I got better at doing things alone. I got into the habit of talking to strangers, from seismologist to soon to be nurses. I walked a lot, regardless of the pain. I got better in believing for real that anything is possible.
So what can I say, was it worth it? Yes. But I do wish I wouldn’t have gotten sick. I still can’t hear much with my left ear and my joints are hurting like hell. But hey, that’s life, eventually I will get better or live with it.
What I feel is that the walls of my mind started to come down, or at least shifting into something new. By walls I mean the ideas of myself. I have no idea what will happen, how will I keep changing, but it’s alright. I have faith.
Talking about walls, there is a John Lennon wall on the other side of Vltava. I haven’t seen it yet but planning to. I like this version of Imagine:
I guess the most important lesson of this experiment is that if I can imagine it, I can do it. There is nothing to be afraid of. And like usually, it’s not the goal, but the journey and the actual doing it, that matters.
Here are some tips for anyone who wants to busk:
1. Just do it! Sounds simple, I know, but I think we are really great it procrastinating and coming up with excuses, so, just do it!
2. If the weather is fine, play. Even for half an hour.
3. Ask the locals for places that they think might be good. By this I mean they know where people gather. (not just the most touristic areas in town) It is better to play when people are not just passing by, but where they stop for a döner or whatever.
4. It’s okay if you know only a few song, you can repeat them. People wont stay in one place forever and the newspaper salesman doesn’t mind.
5. Know at least one song that has been a hit. Preferably a while ago, maybe not the latest his from Lady Gaga. People ask to sing with you. If you don’t know the song they want, offer another classic.
6. Don’t fake it, give it all you got. The point isn’t in how good you are, if your heart is in it, people will notice and will give you money.
7. If you can, stay in one place and get yourself a license.
8. Look decent. By this I mean don’t wear rags and do take a shower.
9. Have something, like stickers or calling cards with you that people can take with them.
10. Don’t do this for money. Meaning, have a backup reserve for days that you can’t play for whatever reason.
11. Talk to other buskers and if you like them, do give them money. But don’t believe in everything they say.
12. Thank the people by some gesture who give you money or are talking to you.
13. Remember to smile!
14. Find out about regulations in different cities. It might be the same country, but regulations might not be the same.
(Bonus: Follow your own advise! :D)
The other day I went to this bookshop that sells only English language books. I found this in one of them: