From Stockholm to Scranton -

It’s a funny thing, sitting here in Stockholm, some four-thousand miles away from home. Somewhere that people save for a lifetime to vacation to. A one week visit out of the 3,910 that you’re alive. We’re here for one night and we could be anywhere.





When you travel around the world for ten months out of the year, it’s hard to not be jaded. It’s hard to not hate flying when you’re whisked to the side and frisked at every security checkpoint. When you’re about to board a Boeing 737 from Newark to Brussels and the security officer throws a hand up in front of my chest and says, “Excuse me sir, but you’ve randomly been selected for a bag check.” Not because all my clothes are black, or because my arms are covered in tattoos. Just random. Sure.

Yet, some people can’t get enough of it.

Some people live for travel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing new places. Old city architecture is one of my favorite things. But when you travel as often as we do, your vacation is being at home. Staying in, feet up on the couch, soaking up local news because cable TV is too expensive to pay for commercials.

Yet we all pay for the ad-free version of Hulu.

We are walking contradictions justified by our own fucked up sense of self.

I know it seems like I’m rambling, and I sort of am because I’m not sure how to write these things. I’m trying to remember what it was like to pour my feelings out on paper in those spiral bound notebooks when I was sixteen and life was so much harder than it is now. Somehow I always come back around.

People in our group joke about the fact that I jump head-first into things for about six months and then switch to something new. They call it “phases.” I call it having interest in too many things and being naive enough to think I can do them all and hopefully do them all well. Maybe that’s optimism. Or ego. One of the two. Maybe a blend of both.

The point is, I always come back to writing. Fifteen years later and here I am, typing out my thoughts because somehow it’s cathartic. A release of all the toxic bullshit I’ve kept stored inside since I’ve been making my rounds at other hobbies.

I could be out roaming the streets of a winter Stockholm, but instead I’m inside a silent greenroom in the back of a venue sitting on a black leather couch that’s a little too stiff to stay comfortable. People are sitting around on their phones and computers and all you can hear is my fingers on the keyboard and the hum of the Coca Cola refrigerator in the corner of the room.

It’s almost time to start getting ready for the show, so I guess it’s time to wrap things up.

Tomorrow, we arrive in Copenhagen, a repeat of today. An endless loop of green rooms and shows and lights and fans on repeat. And then another flight back to the states at the end of the week.

And maybe I won’t get stopped by some large German officer going through security, and maybe he won’t say in broken English, “Please,” and hold a hand out for me to stand to the side. And then maybe he won’t motion for me to hold out my arms and legs so he can pat me down and search for weapons I don’t have.

Then again, maybe he will.

Ricky Olson1 Comment