The thing about stretching yourself and moving beyond your comfort zone as a creative is that while you think you're setting out to learn more about a craft, you're actually learning how to be better at life.
I'm now back from my whirlwind Creating Your Own Path (CYOP) road trip to LA and I'm reflecting on what I've learned from the adventure. It was full of great conversations, delicious coffee, amazing food, adorable neighborhoods, crazy traffic and celebrity sightings (It's true! These two came into The Village Bakery just after me to get breakfast on Sunday Morning! Don't worry—I totally played it cool. #nothingtoseehere). The trip was very fun—no doubt about it—but it was also full of lessons.
Here are a few take-aways I've been feeling the need to share:
Trust that it will all work out.
I haven't spent much time in LA as an adult (that brief experience driving from LAX to Palm Springs during rush hour last year doesn't really count) and I truly didn't have a great lay of the land. I knew I would need to at least try to schedule interviews by location and as I reached out to people, I did my best to make sure I could get where I needed to go in a timely fashion. I wasn't 100% sure that I'd get my timing just right, that traffic would cooperate or that I'd be able to schlep my gear in an efficient matter. This trip was the ultimate experiment to see if I could take this show on the road. And I did. It all worked out. That said, I was a little nervous about it beforehand. Those nerves probably kept me organized, but I really need to trust that anything I set out to do will probably work out just the way it's supposed to.
Jumping to conclusions is a bad idea.
We often hear about the pace of certain cities—LA, New York, Chicago, San Fransisco. We hear that you've got to hustle, that creating on your own is a cut-throat career choice, that it's every person for him/herself and that many people just don't "make it." As I sat down to chat with people who have chosen to call LA home, I realized that I had made a few assumptions about what I might hear. Boy, was I wrong. I have never seen such a community-focused vibe coming from such a wide array of creators. I chatted with artists, designers, writers, community builders, filmmakers and musicians—and they all talked about how supportive the LA scene is right now. I expected to hear negativity and was met with openness, positivity and a distinct undercurrent of camaraderie. It was pretty refreshing, to say the least.
There is always more than one right way.
Intellectually, I've always known this to be true. Yet, I find myself questioning my way of doing things. Many journalists or audio interviewers who intend to record content in the field may use a certain set-up. Mine looks completely different. Does that mean it's "wrong?" Of course not! This trip—from idea to completion—was one giant attempt to create something based on a hunch that it might be cool. There isn't exactly a road map for what a podcast road trip is supposed to look like. So, I built it—step by step—the only way I know how: my way. And it worked.
The entire adventure was an experiment, to be honest. Thankfully, I think it went really well! So if you're trying to create something from nothing, just remember: things may not go exactly as planned, but they will work out; keep an open mind because what you end up seeing or hearing may surprise you in the best way possible; and trust that your way is the right way for you.
Many thanks to those I met up with last week and to all of you who followed this adventure over on Instagram. There will definitely be more road trips in the near future—you can count on that! I cannot wait to share the next six weeks worth of interviews with you, my friends. Stay tuned!