We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Your favorite artist is in town (or, in my case, out of town!), but everyone else has plans, or doesn’t care, or is working, or is making up an excuse. There’s only two options here–you either ditch the concert, or suck it up and go alone. So when faced with the inevitability of missing The Killers, I decided to take a leap of faith and face my social anxiety. I made the six-hour trek to a new city and had the best goddamn time of my life. Here are some of the things I learned along the way.
1.) Nobody actually cares
When I was in high school, I had to give a big presentation by myself. Terrified of my life being ruined by 10th grade civics class, I asked a friend for some advice. Asking a fellow over-confident, ruthless sixteen-year-old for advice probably wasn’t the best move, but she was prepared to give it all the same. The advice she gave me was that nobody actually cared about the content of my presentation. It was a fifteen-minute speech on Oligarchies. The only person who was paying any sort of attention was the teacher, if even that. Her “advice” was a bit harsh, but it worked. I felt better. As long as I didn’t make a mistake big enough to affect my grade, there was no need to overstate the importance of it. Pulling into the Summerfest parking lot, I kept that same mindset. I drove all the way from Minneapolis to Milwaukee that morning, but the bubbling excitement of seeing my favorite band kept me wide awake. Nobody, not even me, was going to stop me from having a good time.
And it worked. A sixteen-year-old’s wisdom rang true. Everyone around me was far too wrapped up in the music to mind me–and this was WITH assigned seats. During the entire three hours, I got one? Maybe two strange looks. But I don’t think they really truly cared. They weren’t there to judge me, they were there to see their favorite band. Just like me.
2.) Don’t be afraid to go out of your way
It’s been a weird summer. I’ve been too busy to take significant amounts of time off, but still have had constant bouts of free time induced boredom. Taking a weekend to visit a new city, even if it was just a state over, turned out to be exactly what I needed. If I had spent the day before trying desperately to get someone to tag along with me, or missed out on the concert completely, nothing would have changed.
In addition to this, I arrived a few hours early and got to do the things that I actually wanted to. After checking into my Airbnb, I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum (which has an amazing modern art collection!) and checked out the campus of a school’s grad program I’ve been eyeing for a few years now. In short, I got to do the things I actually wanted to do, without having to compromise with anyone else.
I had never been to Milwaukee before, so I had to use apple maps on my phone to navigate some of the trickier parts of downtown. Somewhere along the way, my phone charger broke. Like, actually broke. Without me noticing until I had pulled into the parking lot. With it, my phone drained almost all of it’s battery. Not wanting to end up phone-less and directionless, I quickly shut it off. But it was too late. Thirty minutes before the concert was supposed to start, I was stuck.
So yeah, after the concert ended, I managed to limp my way back to my AirBNB (thanks, landmarks!) and I learned my lesson.
Bring a spare phone charger. Keep a physical map tucked away somewhere in your car. Write down the address of your hotel/room/AirBNB somewhere that’s not digital.
Also, bring sunscreen. And sunglasses. Maybe a snack.
In short, taking the mini-road trip to Milwaukee was a good decision. I had a good time, and got to see a band I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. It reminded me that a “vacation” doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, nor does it have to be anywhere exotic. Sometimes it can just be a girl, half a tank of gas, and a dead phone charger.