The Reality of Athletes Traveling When Performing
I am sorry it has been a while since I have been able to make an article or anything. I have been super busy with business related stuff and am currently in Abu Dhabi and have been fighting the typical issues regarding any show. It struck me that perhaps many that do not normally do shows outside of the competitive circuit may not know the reality of the show world.
Many come to me saying they think the videos are so cool and that they want to do shows and of course I encourage it but not probably for the reasons you may think. Instead of lecturing you all on how tough this world is let me just tell you a bit about the issues I have faced in this event alone and you can see the reality.
So I heard about this event (“Mother Of The Nation”) about a month ago as the event coordinator new us from other business contacts we knew. If they hadn’t heard about us through a friend your chances of getting a gig are small. Not to say it can’t happen but don’t post a cool video and just sit around and wait. You will be waiting a long time most likely. Unless your video goes viral with over a million views.
So I would talk to the organizers and we needed to do paper work such as insurance coverage, contracts, travel arrangements, performance fees, accommodation, etc. This goes back and forth and every day I wake up to an email requiring more information from insurance details to profile head shots for promotion purposes. This can take a whole day of work with file exchanging all the time. Quite Annoying actually. Just get me on the plane and lets go lol NOPE
On top of this I have my regular business arrangements to do which include social media, networking, program development for different programs I am doing and all the back and forth for all the other projects we are working on. Great add more to my plate.
About 2 weeks before the event we get an email saying the event is cancelled and that the funding they requested from the organizer to bring us did not get approved. So now, no event. But we need to wait a few days to finalize this. Great, spirits are down.
Then a few days later it is back on but the people who deal with the event finances are away so we have to wait until they get back from another event. Awesome! (NOT)
It is now week of the supposed event and we have booked off that week because we were planning on being in Abu Dhabi. Now it is a waiting game. No money is being made waiting but still bills must be paid. If you bug the organizers for more information then you risk annoying them so that you look desperate and then they may just write you off and not give you the contract.
1 days to go and we finally get the go-ahead! so now we are ready to go. I have to now inform everyone that I will be away and let them know that they need to talk to my business partner and postpone my other projects which sometimes can cause some issues depending on their schedule, but that’s life, not everyone can be happy all the time.
So now I need to sign the contract. I did not even receive the contract until I was on the way to the airport. It wasn’t like I was not going to sign it. You don’t have a choice unless you are Jay Z or something. No matter how big your favourite performer is, they do not have any say in the contract. Maybe a peculiar thing like height of a jump for us that is completely unsafe or anything but if you say no, they will just replace you with someone else so it is in your best interest to shut up and sign it. Seriously, don’t get a big head thinking they need you. Thousands of performers around the world and other event organizers. You say yes to anything they offer unless it goes against your religion or that you have so many other opportunities you can afford to say no. Not one performer I know can really afford to say no. Not many are actually traveling around full time unless they are part of a team like Storm Freerun but even Storror and 3run and all these guys all get by but not hanging out in hotel suits all day everyday. Many think that because they see social media of the highlights that that means they are “ballin”. no, many struggle and barely get by being a free runner or something.
Any who, so I am on the way to the airport and I sign the contract without reading it as I have a plane to catch in 2 hours. I have packed everything I think I need and have 1 lb to spare on the weight restoration for the airplane (phewww)
Now I have to travel for 18 hours around the globe. This is an easy one compared to some of the flights. See the thing is that for those who do not travel, the more stops you do along the way to your destination, the cheaper it generally is. Think of it as a financing option for low budget travellers. So I go to Paris which was 6.5 hours. Then I have a short 2 hour layover and then another 6 hour trip to Abu Dhabi.
My in flight meal sucked and they generally do. My tv did not work either so I just sat there on time out for 6 hours. You can’t usually sleep well on a plane that is going in and out of turbulence and kids screaming on the plane along people just elbowing you for armrest space. I know I do not sleep well on a plane and not many other do either.
So after 18 hours of flight, after a full work day by the way (up for 30 hours with about 3 hours total sleep in travel time. I now land finally in Abu Dhabi and am ready to change into my spongebob PJ’s. I’m joking, I do not have Spongebob Pj’s , but I wish I did lol
But sadly no, the strike in Paris airport meant that the luggage never made it on the plane to Abu Dhabi. Thank god I did not put my cash or anything in my luggage which some people do. For this reason you always split your resources like cameras and and electronics and try to have two of everything so that when this happens or when someone breaks into your car in Italy and steals your stuff on the first day… ahem, then you still are ok.
So I wait in customs for literally two hours. Honestly one of the worst customs lines ever. Generally it is only an hour. Still, it sucks and I just want to go to bed. Did I mention I am already missing my friends and family? Oh well, no choice. I am actually missing my brothers wedding for this event and it caused a huge amount of tension in the family and these kinds of external pressures never make this stuff easier. But no performers will post publicly about that will they?
So I finally get to the counter and there is now a problem with the passport. I had just renewed it and they thought it may have been a fake or something as it had nothing in it and that is suspicious activity as far as a non-democratic society is concerned. After a few phone calls and things like this I make it through. If I had not, then I do not get paid, I go to jail in Abu Dhabi and I am screwed in ways I can’t even imagine.
Once my heart had gone back to resting levels I had to go and find my ride. I was 3 hours late so my ride may have left so I had to quickly call my business partner Trish to make sure my guy was coming as she had set it up while I traveled. Luckily he was part of the hotel so he had to stay or that would be a problem too.
So I get to the hotel and im thinking everything is ok and finally I can get some sleep. Again the heart rate skyrockets when my room does not show up in the system at first. What do you do then? You have to spend a days wage on just getting your own room. Not end of the world but after everything else, I'm nearly about to start punching people in the face. Welcome to Traveling.
Luckily I get my room after they found me after 30 minutes and I get to get some sleep. I took a pic, posted it and fell asleep with my clothes on. Next post ill go into details about the problems at the actual event.
Let’s just say there have already been injuries on the team, broken equipment, 100 schedule changes, rooms set on fire and power failures. Fun times.