5 TIPS TO TRAVEL AND WRITE MUSIC / by Mark Eckert

When I set out on my merry way from Berklee, I had a pretty set goal in mind.

I wanted to travel, produce music, and play drums. (I’m very bad, or noticeably bad at everything else.)

I can only imagine someone uptight saying “not gonna happen”, or something like “it’ll worked for them, but probably not you”, or if they’re REALLY pessimistic and had all their childhood dreams crushed… “That’s something you’ll never be able to do.”

 

THEY’RE DEFINITELY WRONG.

It’s a thing I do. It’s all I want to do with my life to be honest. And you most certainly can as well. I am not nearly at the point where I can travel all of the time (Fiji is calling my name, believe me.) But, I travel about twice a month, usually for an extended period of time.

When I do travel, I get a ton of shit done too. I can write, co-write (with people thousands of miles away) and even publish work. All while having my bills paid for.

I’m going to list here a few tricks of mine that have helped me achieve this so far. These include simple tricks so you’re not broke/dying during your trip, and a few tricks to help with your musical creation. 

#1. AIR BNB THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR PLACE.

For those of you who don’t know, AirBnb.com is a service offering people just like me and you an opportunity to rent real people’s homes to live and sleep in. Basically, anyone can be a hotel service. Including you.

Providing you don’t live in a smelly-ass dumpster, you can AirBnb your apartment, house, or room. Find a cheap cleaning service (or trustworthy friend) that is somewhat reliable, and schedule them in right after your guests leave. More people can then arrive, leaving you with some $.

Now, obviously, these guests should be booked in advance, and I try not to have them on adjacent days. Time for laundry, exchanging keys, without stress is always great. But, do whatever works for you.

Get a good friend to drop off the key to your guests and ask them to pick it up when they’re done, give them a percentage of what you make. (Or do what I do, and leave the keys in a flower pot across the street from my apartment building, lol.) You could make $100’s, if not $1,000’s while you’re away on your journey, soaking up the sun / flirting with women you’ll never see again / or do what I do! (talk to only a couple people over a few days… and eat as much deli food as I can possibly digest.)

This month I will be renting out my apartment for a grand total of 8 days, and from that, I will accumulate nearly $700. That alone covers my apartment rent, utilities, and almost my gym membership.

From this income, I will not be worried while I’m away in Nashville (twice to play shows), Charleston (to visit Coast Records) then a road trip down to visit my parents on the beach of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Awesome, right?

NOTE: Make sure all that hair in your bathroom is swept to the side, and you flush your toilet upon their arrival.

 

#2. COUCHSURF.

Here’s the deal. If you’re a woman, I don’t suggest this. But if you’re a regular dude with a shortfall of sex-appeal like myself who plays music and is down for just an easygoing time, check out couchsurfing.com. You can stay at people’s place for free. Most of these people are… well… the type of people who let random people sleep on their couch. But you’ll typically always have a great story from it, and they can sometimes cook well.

 

#3. TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS. 

I currently have a credit card with American Airlines. When I signed up, within 3 months, I acquired 50,000 mile points. That’s equivalent of a roundtrip flight from my current home (in NC) to the west coast and back, just by spending around what I usually do. Also, every time you spend money and pay it off, you earn more points. Hoooooray.

 

#4. STAY ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. EVEN THO’ YEW RELAXIN’.

It amazes me to this day that we are inherently so intrigued with other people’s lives. But what the hell, I’m not going to question it. Be really, I mean really active on Social Media.

Post pictures and videos of all the seemingly cool things your doing. Use an app like “Videocraft.” Put a song you’re working on over the picture you just took, and then post it on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, whatever.

Post often, and have a call-to-action in your caption. Do it consistently enough, and you’ll have something lined up upon your arrival home. It 100% works for me.

 

#5. WETRANSFER.

Google Drive can be confusing, and you have limited storage unless you want to pay extra. Drop box… well, I just have REALLY bad experience with.

Wetransfer.com is an awesome tool to share your projects, or any files with anyone. It’s by far my favorite online platform to share my work back and forth with artists or producers I am working with. Either uploading entire Ableton files, or just transferring over a single’s finished track, it always works flawlessly. It’s an easy upload process and an easy download process. You can use it for free and it kicks dropbox’s ass.

So there’s a few tips. All of these things come in handy for me every single trip, and I know they can help you out too. 

– Mark