Powerful Owl Tour 2018 #1 - Full Circle
Sitting on the ferry on the way to Vancouver I had all the familiar feelings surfacing. A moment of intense panic - do I have my passport!? The whir of frantic backup plans buzzed between my ears - calculating quickly that it would be impossible to make the flight in time without it. Relief, yes I did put it back in my purse. Was it a good idea to put my suitcase and backpack through the baggage service? If they didn't make it in the boat... !! Ok that’s enough, I can’t do anything about that right now. Finally, excitement, in a few hours I’ll be in the air hurtling at high speed half way across the world! It’s new years eve 2017, and instead of kissing my hunny at midnight I'll be on a plane. 4 years ago on this day I was heading out on my first adventure to Australia with no idea what to expect. My nerves we MUCH more intense then, not having much experience with international flights. (If you want to read the first Belle Miners Blog about how we formed click here). Now, about to set out on my 4th Australian tour, I recognize my anxieties more as passing clouds (except for when I don't).
Is that a cloud or a fireball!?
Even with all my experience some things never change, I’m on hold with Telus for over an hour trying to set up a travel package for my phone - should have known better than to try and do this on New Years Eve! BORING! Enough tinny elevator music. Finally I tap out, gather my guitar and bag and head into the brisk December air to disembark. I close my eyes and try to remember the soft warm air of Australia - fragrant with the subtle scent of eucalypts, the chatter of tropical birds and the heat of the summer sun. It’s difficult to imagine. The guitar case is heavy in my frozen fingers and I feel awkward navigating the crowd as I rush to catch the bus to the airport. One day maybe I’ll have this all figured out. Maybe I’ll have a driver or a private shuttle (a girl can dream)! I look at the mothers with small children and think - "at least this guitar doesn't have any needs other than to be carried..."
The next two hours were spent wrangling my too-many bags on public transit and repeatedly telling myself “you’ve got this” as I felt my lower back cramp under the weight. "Just a few more steps and you can rest" "almost there"! These little internal pep talks seemed to be helping. I arrive at the airport and find the Air New Zealand check in right away - almost no line! This is one of the perks to traveling on NYE. I spot Marina just two people ahead of me in line - perfect! She’s got a new guitar case. I wonder if they’ll let her carry it on this time (this is usually a bit of a fiasco). After chatting with the agent for a few minutes she gives me a surley glance - “every f#*kin' time!” she mouths and rolls her eyes, as the agent goes to check with her superior. “Do you want me to break her kneecaps?” I whisper in her ear with a wink. JUST KIDDING I know I know, this doesn't sound like the sweet Belle Miners you know... but these instruments are our livelihoods! If there's one thing we'll get sassy about - it's protecting our gear.
After we try our best to get our way at check in (with varied success) we head to our gate, passing through the duty free on the way to look for a bottle of tequila. Spirits in Australia are hella expensive and I think to myself, “I’ve learned my lesson, this time I’m buying a bottle before I head over!”. Marina is cradling a bottle of Patron in her arms and I have a bottle of gin - I feel smug until the clerk tells me that I can’t bring more than 100ml of alcohol through the security check in New Zealand. Crap! I settled for a couple of minis of gin as a consolation prize. When we looked in the New Zealand duty-free it was way too expensive already! What’s a girl to do? The motto at the Auckland airport seemed to be “Relax” so we did! As much as we could with all of our many belongings piled around us, we made a nest and curled up like cats in the middle, under the florescent lights. Can't say I slept but it was nice to lay horizontally. The flights were lovely as can be, we managed to negotiate carrying on our guitars (with a little coaxing) and when the stewardess came around with the drink trolly I asked if they had champagne for NYE. She replied (in her cute-as kiwi accent) we have bubbles - so close enough!”. I nodded off and Marina woke me up just before midnight to count down to the new year - we were the only ones in our compartment! We drank bubbles and sang “Auld Lang Syne” (realizing that the only times we’d sang it we’d been drunkenly singing along with other people so we barely knew the lyrics). “For all acquaintance been forgot and never nah nah nah.... if old acquaintance be forgot.... in old ennnsyyne.....” Then we talked about our goals for 2018. Both of us have been exploring hypnotism, which has been interesting! Hypnotism is known as “quick therapy” because it acts directly on the subconscious mind to identify and redirect limiting old beliefs and memories to re-train your brains to think differently. Humans are such a complex compilation of experiences and beliefs that are acquired over a lifetime. We forget that these experiences are often playing behind the scenes and form the lens through which we see the world. If you can change the lens, then maybe life can be different, maybe YOU can be different. We have both felt the need to “level up” to keep up as our lives and careers gain momentum. Being a musician takes a bit of stamina!
When we arrived Daine, our drummer (and driver) for the upcoming gigs, was waiting in the arrival’s lounge, looking like a rockstar in his tight black pants and long curly dark hair. He likes to say things like “hey baby” (which reminds me of Austin Powers but he’s much cooler looking so it actually sounds cool). Do we look like a band? He's a real champ and took my stubborn airport gear-cart (which really hated turning in ANY direction) and we made our way to the “hire car”. Walking outside the reality truly set in - we had arrived! Suddenly I felt the memories return, my other half clicked into place. At this point I feel like the other side of my identity is in Australia - I can’t easily find her in Canada. It’s a hard thing to explain but the feeling is almost psychedelic.
We piled in and drove for a few hours, stopping at a coffee shop/lookout to get a little Aussie caffeination and stretch, having existential musician conversations and enjoying the scenery.
Next thing we knew we were driving up Berry mountain to the Jackett’s ... just like the first tour! Seeing Carla and Jacko and being at their house really brought it home - we have come full circle! Our Jaime girl came out of the house and I hugged her and breathed deeply - smelling that warm Aussie breeze, listening to the kookaburras cackle and the cicadas buzz. 4 years ago we stood right here and it all began. 4 years later we’ve been through a whirlwind of emotions, with Jaime’s brain tumour in particular. Standing with her in that moment I felt like in a lot of ways, we could really begin.
Reunited on Berry Mountain for another adventure!