My personal favorite part of circus life is the travel. For sure, I also adore the performance aspect, the glittery costumes, and the family atmosphere, but my heart is so full on the road! I love seeing new and interesting places, connecting with new and interesting people, and experienceing new and interesting adventures. My journeys so far have brought me as far as Australia, and as close as my home states of New York and Florida.
There is always excitement and anticipation in the air when a new season, and thus a new adventure, begins. Like a beautiful foggy day, you can't see what's ahead, but you journey forward anyway, with a hopeful heart and a mind set on the beauty of new beginnings. No two seasons and no two shows are alike. Every new start promises something different, from costumes to friends to cities to dramas. You just never know what to expect!
Since I started my circus journey, I could never have imagined all of the wonderful places I would see! I had always loved to travel, as instilled in my sister and I by our parents from a young age. In college, I had done a study-abroad summer semester in Japan, and that was my first experience with non-family, overseas travel. And that's when I was hooked.
My first big (literally HUGE) circus adventure was moving to Australia for circus school. I literally went to the other side of the planet from my hometown on Long Island, NY. I remember sitting next to a beautiful, classy woman on the airplane on my initial trip there, and she told me I was brave for going all by myself. I just remember being excited! The day I arrived in Melbourne, after 24hrs of flying and a 6hr layover in Dubai, I went straight to a hostel, put my things down, and then went over to the school student housing office to sign a year lease. It was there, in the office on my very first day in the country, that I met my (still!) best friend, Gabby. The agent introduced us because we would be going to the same school, in the same program (circus), and were going to be living in the same building. It was fate!
Gab and I lived in the student housing unit for our first year of school, and then moved into a beautiful three-bedroom apartment with another girl. We named it House of Naps because it was not uncommon to find me napping, face down on the lounge-room floor after a long day at school, and house guests were actually also known to fall asleep on the couch in the cozy room! We lived there for the next three years. Our third housemate changed out a few times, and for my last 4 or 5 months in the country, Gab had actually moved to Germany so I was with two different girls. But I was very blessed to have always loved each new housemate, and still think of each of them with fondness. Especially Gabby. She is the most wonderful friend I could have ever hoped for! And even though we have not seen each other in person for almost 4 years, she is still one of my best and truest friends. We will literally be friends forever. Australia was very good to me!
Another one of my favorite travel memories is getting to do some street performing in El Salvador with Jabez Ministries. On this church trip down to San Salvador, magician Bob McEnty and I tag-teamed shows full of magic and ground-based circus. We were able to bring our little makeshift show to two different orphanages, as well as perform right in a major town square. We drew some great crowds! Not only were we able to perform and entertain, but the rest of our group was able to pray for those who wanted prayer, and we all saw some amazing miracles happen! It was such a blessing to know that my performances were actually helping to change peoples lives for the better, that I was able to bring something special to people who really needed it. I will never forget that special trip.
Most recently, my 2017 tour with Carden Shrine Circus International brought me up and down mid-America, and allowed me to see many US states that I had never been to before. Among my favorite places I got to visit last year, my most loved city was Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was so artsy and hip, but also historic and fun. One night for dinner, we went to a little pub and ordered sweet potato fries with the most delicious, magical dipping sauce I had ever experienced. It was cinnamon-sugar and marshmallow heaven. Also in Milwaukee, the girls of Carden Circus had our first and only official Girls Night Out. We went to a "secret bar," where we had to do funny dances and make weird noises in order to be admitted. It was quirky and adorable, a fun night to chill with the ladies, and ended in a karaoke extravaganza before one friend's boyfriend picked us up for a quick sushi run and home. On a second trip through the city, I was also able to find a nice pole-dance studio to practice at on a (very rare!) day off. BLUSH Pole Fitness & Dance was full of beautiful and kind women who welcomed me right in.
Weirdly, my favorite jump (movement from one show town to the next) of the season was a long drive over I-90 through Minnesota. Normally we would travel through the night, and therefore not get to see much due to darkness. But this particular drive was in the morning, and I am so glad it was! Everywhere we looked was gorgeous! Trees and lakes and greenery as far as the eye could see. I know this sounds very strange, but in my mind, it sticks out as the best drive of the season. I'm sorry I don't have any photos, but I was driving. ;)
A final memory from last year is Upper Peninsula Michigan. It is SO GORGEOUS there! I arrived at our venue late after picking some girls up at the airport, and went straight into show-mode. But the next morning as others were packing up to leave for the next town, I took a few minutes to sneak across the street to see the water. It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself that day. There is something so very calming and peaceful about knowing you are at the top of the country, looking north, out into endless water, breathing in the crisp end-of-winter air, and knowing that everything is going to be okay.
These are just a few random examples of beautiful places and experiences that travel has afforded me. I could go on for hours and hours, pages and pages, with random stories and details, and I'm sure I will touch on them in future posts. But as I close this one, I am reminded of how very amazing life is, and how blessed I am to live the one I have! Here, I remember some beautiful moments and places, but that has not always been the case. I have also lived through some devastatingly difficult times, and my life, too, has seen its fair share of pain and suffering. But I chose to keep my focus on the good and on the positive. Don't let your negative experiences cloud your vision of the future, but look forward with bright eyes and hopeful hearts!
As I reflect on what my past has given me, I personally cannot wait to see what else unfolds in the future before me. I am going into this new year full of expectation for even greater! I will do my best to record it all here, and hope that any readers will share their experiences with me, too! Let's encourage each other to keep dreaming, keep traveling, and keep adventuring!
Wishing you a blessed and happy 2018!
Love, Brittany xo