As sad as it is to say, this is unfortunately my last blog for the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Tour. This tour was transformative, and it seems wrong somehow to try to sum it up in just a few hundred words. But that’s what writers do—we take things that were never supposed to be words, and try to make other people feel what we felt. I hope that’s what I’ve been able to do with these blogs.
My last two days with the girls were travel days, so I’ll skip over the boring driving and get to the places we stayed, which were in a word… special.
We once again stayed in France, in an Airbnb this time. We got the place for a steal, and it soon became apparent why—the place was beautiful, but not-so-functional. It looked like a castle, with stone walls and winding staircases, but we quickly realized that ancient homes also have ancient features. Our very kind host explained to us that we were the first guests to stay there after the winter, and because there wasn’t a lot of notice, 48 hours wasn’t enough time to get the heaters to actually heat up the home. She also told us that sometimes, when it gets really cold, the power will go out, and told us how to turn it back on.
What we weren’t expecting was the power to immediately go out as soon as we started trying to make dinner. Embarrassingly, it took us a few times of being plunged into darkness to realize that we were overloading the circuit by using the oven and microwave, which were plugged into the same outlet, simultaneously. So, we moved the microwave to the living room and finished making our frozen dinners.
In order to prevent more power-outages, we decided turning off the lights may prevent the overloading. We started by burning candles for light, and then our driver volunteered to make a fire for us. Even though everything we own now smells like wood smoke, the fire was lovely, and we drank our wine and spun our tales until late in the night.
During this time, we also whipped out Nicole’s hand-fashioned tattoo gun, and Petr gave her a stick and poke tattoo on her ankle. Never being one to miss out on the fun, I also decided to get a tiny X on my ankle (sorry mom). I look at it now and it reminds me of the way my heart grew three times on that tour. But more on that later. Alex also got an ass tattoo.
After another long drive the next day, we had to take a ferry to London. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but the boat ended up being similar to a cruise ship, with a full food court, casino, and several lounges. Most of us ate dinner, but with the wind whipping, the ship ended up being quite bouncy. I spent most of the ride fighting a headache!
Finally, we made it to shore, and embarked on our hour-long ride to the flat for the night. I certainly wish I could’ve had more time to explore London, but the pieces I got to see at night were gorgeous!
We actually stayed at a flat the leader of the U.K. street team booked for us, which was lovely. I’m so glad I got to meet Chloe—she’s an absolute sweetheart and has shown me and the girls nothing but support on this whole tour. She also did a very cool interview/carpool karaoke with the girls you should be looking out for!
6am rolled around, and it was finally time for me to leave the girls. Chloe had explained to me how to use the train to get to the airport, but when I arrived at the train station, none of my credit cards worked, and I didn’t have any cash. I panicked and ran back to the flat, where Dora helped me decide that taking an Uber—even for $100—was the best course of action. This was unfortunate, but less problematic than missing my flight. Things like this are why I did the print sale! You never know what’s going to happen on the road.
I made my flight, and I’d planned on spending my 19 hour layover in Toronto camped out at the airport, working. Unfortunately, I had to actually exit the airport, and I couldn’t check in until the day of my flight. I called my mom, stressed to the max over the prospect of being homeless for the night, and she saved my ass by booking me a hotel. I’m so, so thankful she did that, as I got to shower and de-stress until my early flight the next morning.
And now I write this on my couch, back home in Phoenix. My life is currently kicking my ass after I neglected it for three weeks, so I’m not sure I’ve had time to really reflect and absorb the fact that it’s really over.
It really feels like I put my life on a literal pause. I didn’t stay in regular contact with many people in the states, and although I did some work and homework, my world was completely engulfed in the tour. It feels like an entirely separate and disconnected part of my life—which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I wanted to feel present during this tour. I think I often got wrapped up in the day-to-day routine and didn’t spend enough time with my head up to fully enjoy the magnitude of where I was, but for the first time in probably 5 years, I actually chilled out. I let go of my need to know and control exactly what was going on all the time, and just went along for the ride. I hope when things slow down, I can get back to that version of me. She’s pretty cool.
I started writing these tour blogs as a way to let my family know I wasn’t dead on tour. Then, I realized that not only people who care about my work were reading them—fans of the band were, too. I started putting more heart into them, and people really responded to it, especially on this tour. But these blogs are also sentimental for me. Sometimes I just read through them when I lose sight of where I’m going or want to remind myself why all the bad news pays off in the end.
But I also just like the stories, both good and bad. I’ll remember the French sunsets and hearing “Happy Birthday” from 200 Italian strangers, but I’ll also remember trying to find a hotel at 5am and the airline losing guitars and cymbals. Just as memories of drinking margaritas in Spain will be accompanied by remembering the sneezing and sniffling all around, memories of the beauty of Prague are inseparable from the bitter cold. Tour is amazing, and it’s my favorite thing to do, but it isn’t just driving through the mountains and hanging out with rock stars.
When life and tour do punch you in the gut, however, it makes a world of difference to be with the right people. I’ve found that touring with your peers is an entirely different experience. The girls are the sweetest, and they accepted me like family from the first day. We bonded over everything in the sun, and even when drama cropped up, their love for their jobs and each other always prevailed.
Meghan has been my personal champion and worked crazy hard to get me on this tour. She’s like a sweet, tiny teddy bear that will sometimes throw something entirely shocking into the conversation.
Alex is so immensely talented that she constantly blows my mind. Every time I had the pleasure of seeing her play, my jaw dropped. She’s 100% the last person to stress out about any situation, and usually works to calm us the hell down.
Sydney was the first to take me out of my comfort zone, which is so helpful for me, as I’m often stuck in my ways. It takes her about four seconds to open up to you, and her fun-loving personality is utterly contagious.
Nicole made it her personal mission to make me feel welcome, and helped immensely in the planning to get me on Warped tour. She’s hilarious but organized, and stepped right into the role of TM seamlessly.
Even before I left, I’d been struggling with the notion of what “home” means. All my bios on social media and my website say I’m “between Indy and Phoenix,” and I think that’s a fair way to put where I am mentally as well. Neither one of those places have struck me as home, but over the past year, I’ve found a place that does, and that’s tour. I wrote a letter to the girls before I left, and I wasn’t planning on revealing any of it, but I think it expresses what I mean:
“To pull out a cliché, home is supposedly where the heart is. But just as a home can be a brick and mortar building, I also think home can be an idea, a person, a family—even a van. Whether that van is teal or gold, full of twenty something dudes or teenage girls, heading to Kansas City or London, or is actually an RV, I’ve been able to find a home there. More importantly, I’ve been able to find a family here. Thank you for supporting me, and thank you for being wonderful people. Thank you for accepting me. Thank you for taking me home.”
But I have some thank-you’s for you all as well.
Děkuji to my threadbare suitcase for not bursting at the seams.
Danke to all the people in shops and venues who stayed patient with us, even though we didn’t speak your language.
Merci to our driver and our wonderful promoters, who helped us navigate and get the most out of each foreign land.
Grazie to the fans and strangers who came out every night to fill tiny, sticky bars, and our tiny, punk-rock hearts.
Gracias to my friends and family, who helped me stay sane and financially stable throughout this whirlwind.
Thank you, dear reader, for making this possible. It doesn’t make any sense for a band to bring a photographer with them if they don’t have fans to give the photos to. If you didn’t support the band, and didn’t support me, this couldn’t have happened. Thank you for buying prints, and reading all 11,000 words (yes, that’s right) of these blogs, and sending all your support, and being splendid human beings. I appreciate each and every one of you, even if I’m terrible at replying to your tweets.
The hard part about leaving tours is when there’s nothing else planned—when I don’t know when I’ll have my butt in a van next. That isn’t the case here—I have so much to look forward to! While I’m so sad this tour has come to an end, I’m immensely excited about the incredible opportunity I have to go on Warped Tour.
I’ll remember the Manic Pixie Dream Tour as the beautiful, imperfect marvel that it was. The girls, the people, and the places were wonderful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience—I didn’t even lose my phone charger. It will be a hot minute until you hear from this part of my website, but when you do, it will be another incredible adventure. Of course, you don’t want to miss it, so as always, stay tuned.