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Thread by @treklightgear: "I’ve got a story to share. It's about road trips and music and choosing a life of adventure. It’s a long story for Twitter, and I’ll probabl […]"

, 25 tweets, 9 min read
I’ve got a story to share. It's about road trips and music and choosing a life of adventure. It’s a long story for Twitter, and I’ll probably repost on my blog, but hell - it’s as good a place as any to share it. I hope you enjoy it.
Twenty years ago today. It’s crazy to even think that much time has passed. Twenty years ago, I was a freshman at college in Hartford, CT and my friends and I were die-hard @davematthewsbnd fans. (If that turns you off, insert your favorite band at 18 years old and read on)
The band had just finished an album of never-heard-before songs (Before These Crowded Streets) and nothing had leaked yet. They were starting the summer with a home state show in VA & it was a safe bet they’d be debuting the new songs then. Adventure called. I had to be there.
It was an 18-hour round trip drive. Not only had my 18-year-old self never taken a real road trip before, none of us had a car that could be trusted to make that kind of trip. And we were too young to rent a car.

Step 1: Find someone at school willing to let us borrow their car.
It wasn’t easy. But surprisingly, here’s the truth: you can convince a friend you’ve known for less than a semester to let you borrow their car and drive it over 1000 miles into the unknown. You just need to supply them with a lot of beer.

5 dudes in a tiny car, here we go.
When you can’t leave for a 9-hour road trip until after class, you need a place to crash along the way. A friend of a friend was a freshman at Georgetown - perfect. Except, we couldn't wake them up when we got there.

"I think we're gonna have to sleep in this study lounge" Yup.
Here’s a break to remind you that in 1998 we had no cell phones, let alone smartphones. Our map was a highlighted AAA TripTik, which is great until you deviate from the course and have to find your way back. Here's me calling home on a payphone to let my folks know I wasn't dead.
Our next stop was Charlottesville. We geeked out on all the DMB 'history' we could find - it was surreal seeing all the bars & clubs & coffee shops that had been the birthplace of all the l live tapes I had been trading in the mail since '93.
Then, while walking around Charlottesville and thinking about how these music heroes once used to just wander around these streets like regular people - we run into this regular guy named Boyd. @bt_dmb
The knowledge that road trips are sacred adventures & that the journey is the destination was solidified in that moment. The romanticism of Kerouac, H.S.T. & Cameron Crowe was real. Things were HAPPENING. It was a life-changing trip and we weren't even at our destination yet.
We soon realized we had no plan for where to sleep that night and reality kicked in. The show was a GA show & started at 2pm the next day (Bruce Hornsby & Robert Bradley opened) so we hatched a plan to drive to the venue, sleep in the lot, and line up early to be in the front row
I have no words (and no pictures) for what it was like sleeping upright in a small car with 5 guys who hadn't showered in two days. But the thought of being front row for a show can fuel just about any fire - and nothing was going to stop us at this point.
And nothing did. We found ourselves in the front row, getting squeezed and crushed by a crazy hometown crowd for a band that was on fire. Seeing any band or artist at a point like this in their career is epic - they knew it and the crowd knew it too.
We held our spot in the front row through both opening acts, we held our piss, we dealt with the rain, and we had the time of our lives. Did you know cameras in the 90's took panoramic photos? Awesome.

Miss you Leroi.
The show was everything we had hoped for. I got to see the first live version of so many songs that became DMB classics - Crush, The Stone, Stay, The Last Stop, DDTW. All from the front row. We did it.

Also, I was really proud of this photo on my crappy camera.
As we shuffled out towards the exit, I saw the gate to the backstage area. At that exact moment, the security guy took a few steps away & you can guess what happened next.
Sneaking backstage? I had never done anything like that in my life. Not knowing if I would get asked to leave, or get arrested.

I just knew that it felt like what I needed to do in that moment, and that all my friends followed and we were in it together.
And then there was Dave, the mythical hero of my 18-year-old music life. Just hanging out and happy to talk. "How are you guys? Where are you from?" he asked. And we told him.
And then his reply: "You're the guys that drove from Hartford?! Boyd told me about you! I was hoping we'd get to meet."

Our music idol just said he heard about our road trip and wanted to meet us? Mind blown. This was the craziest trip of our lives.
The rest of our talk was a blur. When security finally caught on to our lack of badges he told them we were 'cool'. We took a photo & chatted - he was gracious & kind and the 5 of us walked away realizing we had met a music hero who lived up to our expectations. That's something.
I learned a lot on that trip. About following dreams, the magic of road trips, how human our heroes are, and how badly feet can smell in a car. But most importantly, I learned that year that anything was possible if you set out on an adventure.
We had no cell phones, no idea where we would sleep, just concert tickets & gas in the tank (of a car that wasn’t even ours). And it all worked out better than we could have ever dreamed.
In the days after, Dave Matthews led to chasing @Phish around. Then it was studying abroad in Australia and then Boulder, the unmarked dirt roads of Colorado, and starting a hammock business at 24 that kept me following that quest for adventure. (But, still, chasing Phish around)
The point is that this story could be about any band or destination. At some point, we all learn to love the unknown or we continue to keep fearing it. And in that trip, a giant part of who I am today took shape. treklightgear.com/blogs/trek-lif…
Embrace the unknown. Choose adventure. Take chances. Sneak backstage (just kidding?). Sleep in the car. Take road trips. Do things that scare you. And always live in a way that creates stories worth telling 20 years later. It's never too late to start.
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