This is something I’ve wanted to write for a while. May I be your personal Saint Christopher charm for the entirety of this article.
Whether you’re a globe-trotting actress or a comedian on tour, moving in and out of digs and hotels can wipe you out. It’s tiring and mentally challenging to pack up your home life and move to a new city. Those that do tend work and live for anything from one night then two weeks or ten months, sometimes longer.
I’ve found some folk in our industry are less willing to travel for a job, yet working away or on tour can be brilliant. It’s all about the company and your mindset.
I hope this article will be of use to everyone. For the home-bird who will never take a gig more than a five-mile radius from your Manchester pad. Or the troupe traveller through and through, going far afield to share your story. May this help you with general moving around whether near or far.
To make the most of any journey and living out of a suitcase. It’s best to prepare to ensure you’re looking after yourself. Make sure each transition is as smooth your suitcase gliding over the floor tiles at Kings Cross St Pancreas.
Here are my five key tips for living a life out of a box on wheels:
Get a good one. We’ve all seen that poor person lugging a half broken suitcase on the tube. Often we can’t stop to help because we’ve already got our own half broken suitcase to get up and down the stairs.
If you’re going to live out of a suitcase, make sure it’s easy to move and strong. No one wants to see your personals strewn all over the escalators at Brixton.
Filling said suitcase
Learn how to travel light. If you drive, you might feel obliged to fill the back seat and boot with all those things you might need.
Preparation is key so do take sheet music or plays in case you have an audition crop up mid-run. But, don’t be so foolish to think you’ll have loads of free time to learn Mandarin and how to play the drums. Chances are your time will be tight what with line-learning, get ins and resting.
The more stuff you take, the more your mind will feel bogged down with trying to make use that stuff. Not to mention unpacking it and getting it from your car or taxi to your digs. Travelling light will make your personal get in and get out much simpler.
Arriving at midnight
Sometimes we can get to digs late at night or on a Sunday, in a place we’ve never been to before. I learnt this from a wonderful mentor of mine I met on my first acting gig. He said he carries around a bit of a kitchen kit with him when he moves from place to place. Genius! So treat yourself to a little kitchen kit.
Have some herbs, olive oil, tinned tomatoes, pasta, nuts and snacks packed. Be ready to warm those hands and hearts in minutes on those late night arrivals. It’ll also prep you for that first day of rehearsal.
It might be worth having a little first aid kit too. Paracetamol, allergy tablets, plasters and blister plasters are all a must. I’m sure it will help someone out during your stay away.
During the run
This one goes out to new graduates. The ones who suddenly find a decent regular income landing in their bank account every week. BUDGET. For the love of God, BUDGET YOUR MONEY.
When I came to the end of my first decent contract, I have managed to double my worldly possessions. I couldn’t even get the whole lot home in one hit. I had to travel back up North the weekend after. Thus, spending EVEN MORE money.
That money (and time) I could have spent catching up with loved ones. But instead, I was intent on bringing back lots of unnecessary items. Things that I’ve worn once or brought on a whim.
Be savvy, and know that you might not be as well paid for your next gig… if you even get that next gig anytime soon. Have fun by all means but make forethought your new best friend. Check out The Minimalists and Marie Kondo if you struggle with this kind of thing.
Treat yourself a Kindle. Compact and lightweight. Happy days!
To close, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last few years that has got me thinking it’s this little chestnut: the most successful people are those most adaptable to change.
Become familiar those feelings of uncertainty and upheaval. Live in the moment. You’ll find that with practice, travelling and living all over the country will become second nature to you. The easier all those knockbacks become too. All it takes is practice.
And here’s one final tip, if you are one of those home-birds and you take a long gig away, be sure to have some trips scheduled home ready in the diary. That way you can countdown the days with a big red marker like they do in the movies.
It’s natural to want to feel part of something, to become a part of the company, create your own family away from home. Sure it might be temporary, but isn’t everything?
Pippa is an actress born and bred in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. After training at Bristol Old Vic she has worked all over the UK and is currently expanding her first play and writing her own comedy stand up show. Born a mover, she loves ballet, juggling, cycling and hitting the surf in Cornwall. She also runs her own business and has plans to travel and change the world…