Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How To Roll Your Own Coast-To-Coast Broke College Student Rock Tour

This is a build log. If you're addicted to Instructables like I am, you'll know what that means. In case you don't, a build log is a record of the construction of a project from beginning to end so that, in theory, someone else could come along and duplicate your results. I hope to make this a bit more entertaining than most build logs, but that's essentially what this is. A build log for a shoestring budget, coast-to-coast rock tour.

== THE NEED ==
The idea for this rock tour came from a conversation between Lauren and I after our physics class. I'd been dreading the end of the school year as it meant I would finally have to get a job sitting at a desk. I'd learned shortly after my sophomore year that I *hate* sitting at a desk. Ironically this was exactly what I'd spent most of my formative years preparing for.

So as Lauren and I talked after our physics class, she brought up this genre of literature called "schtick lit." It's literature based on some sort of gimmick or personal project enacted by the author. For example, the book "High School Confidential," about the experiences of a recent college graduate who goes back to high school, is "schtick lit." She also mentioned a sign that'd been hung on the door at her work which read "If you were to die tomorrow, what would you do differently today?" Or something to that effect. She came up with a laundry list. I too came up with a laundry list. The thing about living responsibly is that it tends to screw today for the sake of tomorrow. This is not necessarily bad. However it occurred to me that I was living my life almost entirely for tomorrow and if I continued on that path I would have one unhappy deathbed.

Last summer Lauren and I had been talking about going to Norway for a short tour. I have a friend with some family there and we figured we could stay with them. This fell through. Now the idea of a tour came up again. This time it was a lot more attractive. We'd seen a Kimya Dawson concert the night before. She had stayed with friends on her tours. Suddenly it all seemed very, very possible. We planned.

== THE PLAN ==
First we sat down together and pooled all the people we knew in other states. This gave us a continuous path from Portland to Las Vegas. Then we went onto to check for places to stay. That gave us a continuous path from Portland to a friend in New York, up into Canada, down to a friend in Montana, back down through Washington, and home again. The path isn't quite set yet and we have a lot of marketing to do and phone calls to make, but we figured the trip would probably take around 6,000 miles as a whole. Since my car gets 21 miles to the gallon, and since gas will probably be somewhere around $3 a gallon this summer, we figured
6000/21*3 = $857.14
was a good estimate for how much gas will cost us. I'm rounding it up to $1000 just to be safe. (This is when I started wishing I had a bio-diesel car!)

As we're thinking Lauren's boyfriend, Steve, may be coming along to film everything, there should be around 3 of us. We're thinking we may take somewhere around two months for the tour, so with $20 for food per person per day:
20*60*3 = $3600

(And that's when I started wishing we were like plants, getting our food from the sun.) Realistically we won't need $20 every day for food, but it's always better to over-prepare.

Total cost for this two month trip seems to be around $4600 in the worst case.
The best case would be if we're able to mooch two meals a day, or the equivalent, off the people we stay with. That would bring food costs down to $1200 for a best case of around $2200. In the case of friends this could realistically happen. I'm not sure about the strangers we'll be staying with from Utah on though.

But still, for two months of living expenses for three people that's not too shabby!

As a freelance web developer I'm able to make around $200 a week in a good week, $100 a week in a bad one. Assuming bad weeks come as often as good ones and assuming I continue freelancing while we're on the road, that should bring in around
150*8 = $1200
for the whole trip. So there's my food in the worst case scenario. I already have close to $1000 socked away, so there's the entire cost of the trip in the best case scenario. (The best case scenario is downright starry eyed, mind you!)

We also plan on selling merchandise on the road, including Sound Trash soap! Not sure how much that'll bring in, but hopefully it'll pay for a few meals. Also, I hope to get a donation box up soon so our fans can help us get to their home states via the Interwebs.

It's been exciting so far. We've gotten a lot of support from our friends and family, with various people offering to help out. This summer's going to rock.

I'll keep you posted on further developments. :-)