• 5 Reasons you should try and travel as a performer

  • March 23, 2020

  • Since this website is about furthering the world of magic, I have had to prevent myself from getting carried away and talking about all of the varied benefits of travelling. There are many advantages, but we're going to focus instead on those that relate to my favourite art form.

    I cannot recommend enough that you should perform magic while travelling the world, or even your own town and country, but performing on the go has many valuable lessons to teach. Here are some of my favourites.

    Get out of your comfort zone.

    The most obvious advantage of performing away from your home turf is that it will force you out of your comfort zone. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you get comfortable being uncomfortable when it comes to being a performer of any kind. Mentally, it will make you more robust and significantly more resilient to anything that can happen to you. And physically, you will learn your body's physiological responses to different situations allowing you more control when they occur.

    Going through the process of actively stepping outside of your comfort zone is a skill that will take you very far in life. Most people like their comfort zones, hell, I like my comfort zone! But that is why it is dangerous, the longer you spend in it, the harder it is to leave. Why would you want to go and deal with the unknown, when everything here is so cosy and familiar? Speaking of the unknown:

    Handling the unknown

    Things go wrong all the time when performing magic, there are so many variables in play at any given moment, and you will want to be able to handle anything that happens. Even a simple camping trip can teach you a host of things about being prepared (think like a scout and their motto, "always be prepared"). As magician's, we can't control everything, but we can prepare for anything. Learning to expect the unexpected is best learnt firsthand.

    I have yet to go on a single journey, weekend getaway, summer holiday, winter escape or even a day trip where something hasn't gone wrong. I cannot tell you how many flights I have missed (okay, maybe I can, it's three – don't judge me!), or how many times I have had to rely on strangers for assistance (I really can't this time as this one happens a lot...) and while it can be a miserable experience as whatever said disaster is at the time, it will pass. Then you can look back on it as a fond memory.

    You will learn that people are generally on your side.

    It took me a while to learn this, but my god is it true. I don't know about you, but whenever a lost tourist has come to me for directions or assistance, I've always been happy to oblige when I can. And in my experience, when I've been in trouble or needed help overseas, people have tended to extend the much-needed assistance.

    This is so important to understand as a performer because generally when you go on stage or step into a crowd of people to start performing, they are on your side. In my experience, people are so grateful that you are the centre of attention or that you are the one on stage in front of hundreds of people and not them that they want you to succeed.

    Performing with limited supplies

    Next time you are travelling, bring some magic with you with the attention of performing for both the people you are going with, but also strangers. (This will also help massively with that whole thing of performing magic to strangers, but one thing at a time!)

    If you're anything like me, you will burn through a deck of cards in a day, wishing you had another set to hand. If you use gimmicks and props, you'll learn new things about managing them, looking after them and maintaining them.

    I'm always reminded of festivals where I roam around performing close up magic for strangers, as a guest and a hired entertainer, endlessly running out of extra cards, pens running dry, threads breaking, sponge balls vanishing and endless other resource management problems.

    Experience performing without speaking

    If you travel overseas and try performing, the first barrier you will come up against is the lack of a common language (depending on where you go that is, though even in the UK, a town over can have an accent so thick you may not be able to understand it!). Performing magic without speaking is a whole other ball game. Especially for someone like me who relies on his words both to lead my audience, confuse and misdirect them along with all the fun I have with tongue twisters.

    But I mentioned once before about how I learned firsthand when performing in the smoking area of a Chinese airport, that language is more of a mental barrier than anything else. People can pick up on the signals you are sending out, you don't need to "say" a joke to make people laugh, and you don't have to say "watch closely" to make people watch closely.

     

    So, lessons to be taken from this? GO TRAVELLING! Please, wherever it is, go to a strange new place and take it, you just might become a better person!

     

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