Planning a Cross-Country “Blind Busking” Livestream Music Tour: Part 1
A series about coordinating a huge adventure in public.
On November 2, 2020, my Fiancé Anthony Ferraro and I will leave our home for 49 days to drive across America and back.
My life partner & love of my life is completely blind
^ so clearly, I am the only one who will be driving during our trip (except in the Salt Flats!)
The pandemic stopped a lot of things this year. Anthony spent the past 4 years of his life in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. The games were postponed to August 2021 and his training for Judo became high risk and limited. He took a break from his training and moved his focus back to music. Anthony began making a living playing acoustic guitar & singing outdoors at restaurants & private events.
Long story short we thought it would be a cool idea to take his talents on the road and set up in different places along the way while live-streaming each performance on his Facebook page and posting the videos after on his YouTube. Rather than be dependent on music venues to make a tour stop happen, we decided “busking” would be the best approach while hoping to find sponsored locations along the way.
Busking is what you used to see all those crazy people doing in the subways of NYC singing or dancing -- expressing their 1st amendment right without plugging into electricity while hopefully taking home a few dollars in tips at the end of the day.
We are now those crazy people and have undertaken the challenge of creating a cross-country “Blind Busking” Tour together.
What and Why?
As the wheels of planning began to turn, visions of how we would pull this off started to come and go. The ultimate goal is to reunite with my younger sister, Karis, and her Fiancé Petey in Northern California. We found out in June their first child is on the way (it’s a boy)!!
But we also wanted to see the country together! To have Anthony drive my car on the Salt Flats in Utah. To camp under the stars in the Grand Canyon. Graceland! Nashville! New Orleans! My former home cities of Denver and San Francisco. To Build up Anthony’s social presence and following. To reach people, wherever they may be, who need hope during this season. To let people know the only true disability is a bad attitude!
My main source of income comes from working as a Client Partner for the custom software development firm, MEV. I have been remote with MEV for 8 years now and leveraged my locational freedom to move and travel all over the world. My obsession for travel and love for planning made this “Blind Busking” Tour the first thing I have had to look forward to since COVID hit NYC hard in March 2020.
I will not only plan, drive & continue working my job during this journey – but I will also commit to documenting the process and the journey through my writing on my blog in posts such as this one.
How to Breakdown the Planning Process?
Is this even possible? Great question I haven’t stopped asking myself yet.
The challenge of how to pull this off became my obsession.
First, I needed to make sure Anthony was 100% on board with this idea of being showcased around America during a Global Pandemic. With zero convincing he was down with it. If you know Anthony that shouldn’t be a shock - he let cameras follow him around his Senior Year of High School that turned into a full feature-length documentary in 2017 (check it out here on Amazon Prime Video).
Second, we needed to visualize how many days we needed, what cities we would stop in, how many hours of driving between each stop would be required, etc. The high-level goals are to:
Make it to California to spend Thanksgiving with my sister
Get back home to New Jersey by Christmas
I whipped out Google → Searched road trip apps → Downloaded Road Tripper →
Purchased the pro plan to add as many stops as needed →
Started putting cities on the map head → And moved from concept to reality.
This was a helpful visualization tool as you can see we started here:
And ended up with this as our final plan:
I am sure we will need to post another map at the end of the trip we ACTUALLY ended up taking!
Next was to take a physical calendar and begin writing out the stops and days to get us from point A to point B.
Once we had the plan on paper in terms of stops and narrowed them down to the point we felt comfortable to commit to we were ready to really start hammering out action items for the plan. Here comes my lovely friend Trello (a great personal & professional planning tool) to the rescue. Taking a list of random areas from my notebook and creating lists for each where I can add cards as tasks to accomplish each one. [Do I have issues?]
Prioritizing Next Steps
Now that the lists and tasks were defined it was time to pick the first action item. Beginning with the highest risk items first is a necessary way to think about a prioritization list. With less than a month out from our start date, it seems everything was high risk. Taking a step back it was obvious where the initial focus should be.
Creating a high-level budget to make sure we don’t have to go into debt to do this
Booking accommodations for the first 2 weeks of the trip
Open up a passive income stream AKA list our apartment on Airbnb
Taking the first step to set off the chain reaction
Planning, as always, is only part of the process. Making the first move or taking the first step is a critical moment in the journey. As much as I wish we would just wake up on November 2, get in the car and start driving to our first destination there are a whole lot of baby steps we need to take first. Thankfully I find almost as much - if not more(!) - joy in acting on a plan as creating a plan.
After Anthony and I agreed on the final route, putting the names of the places on our shared calendar was all we needed to set off the chain reaction. We were gaining both momentum and excitement with the plan starting to come together on paper.
We are now at the 2-week mark for our departure countdown. There is a LOT let yet to do.
Some of the things we did last week:
Booked all our housing for the first 2 weeks
Ordered 1,000 business cards embossed with braille
Wrote a cold email to find potential music venues
Settled on our tour stops
Investigated busking laws in each city - (pretty much legal everywhere under 1st amendment rights)
Communicated the high-level plan to some of our friends and family
Created a listing (with PHOTOS finally!) on Airbnb
Hired a designer for tour posters and flyers
Wrote this post (!)
In the next 2 weeks, we have to accomplish items such as:
Taking the car in for cleaning + tune up
Creating flyers and posters for the tour to share on social platforms
Create a production schedule
Narrow down our landmark list of where to visit and play
Create an outlet for on the road podcasting
Finish part 2 of the planning process writing series
Organize our packing list for music & camping
Leave rent checks for November and December
Organize all my work deliverables to support short yet efficient working days
Seeing as many of our friends and family before we leave for 7 weeks
Cleaning the house for renters
Organize financial plan and bring back up credit cards for emergencies
I didn’t realize how much I missed the feeling of being positively overwhelmed until we started planning this journey. This is an amazing chance to take to the road and enjoy the many different environments our country has to offer. A chance to search deep inside and find the things that really make us tick. To connect as a newly engaged couple, navigating life in the time of COVID-19.
We are having a hard time sleeping at night! Only 2 weeks until we hit the road!!! Things will begin to unfold on our websites and social pages.
Will you join us on this virtual journey? I hope so.
Stay tuned for part 2.