It seems I've always chosen a job where driving many miles is part of the gig. My first job as a musician was chick-lead-singer-in-a-Top-40-Bar-Band. Back in the late 80's, I was going to college for Music Therapy. I join a band that turned into another and found myself singing for a living. Back in those days gigs were 4-5 nights a week, two weeks at one bar, then move onto the next. It was steady work, it was awful work, but I was singing. One of the more popular gigs was at a bar in Port Huron. At that time, I lived in Ypsilanti. 2 hours there, 4-5 hour gig, 2 hours home. Lots of windshield time.
It didn't take long for my imagination to run wild with possible "other options" for making money as a musician. I used to watch a lot of TV re-runs then (I still do, honestly) because the life I was living wasn't where I wanted to be. TV offered an escape and a way to turn off the noise in my over-active head. One early morning a show was on that featured a character that had a daycare in her home. This guy with a guitar showed up and sang protest songs to the kids. A funny premise for a show, but it was the first time that spark of an idea revealed itself to me.
Many of my travels where in the middle of the night then, I would drive before the rest of the world would wake up. I would watch the dawn before heading to bed. Often I would take the back roads to finish my journey home, just because it was more serene and peaceful than the highways at night. On a particular route, I would drive by a newly built KinderCare building.
My imagination would soar at the possibilities of me signing for the children that would soon be playing inside those walls each day. I had no idea how to get from my wild imagination to being that person that would visit child care centers, but I knew how much my heart ached for the possibility of it all. That dream stuck with me, through 3 or 4 more bands, lots of late nights and finally looking for a "house band" gig. I thought if I had one bar to go to, I would like the gig more. That turned out to be a big stepping stone to get me closer to my dreams than I ever realized.
Recently, I drove past that same KinderCare building. Ironically, I've never sung a note inside those walls, but I gave it a salute as I drove by. I thanked that little brown building with its red roof for inspiring me to dream all those years ago. I still spend a fair amount of time behind my windshield. I still dream of what lies on the road ahead. Instead of a heart of discontent trying to find an escape from a life that did not fit me very well, I have room to dream within my happy heart, count my many blessings and create new songs. I gladly drive everyday and I suspect, I will for a very long time.