Busking Tour 2018-Chapter One- Oxford, A Home on the Road

The start of the adventure began in Oxford, and oh man oh man – I loved it so much! Stepping out into Oxford and seeing the architecture and beauty of the city felt welcoming, I knew I’d made the right decision on taking the leap now. Arriving at the hostel (20.03.18), (although staying in hostels wasn’t my original intent it was the budget option for this first step), I was greeted by a very friendly staff member – Ruby, although she first said “I’m sorry you can’t stay here if you’ve got all that stuff”-pointing at my two guitars and busking trolley-“ya what?!”-“yeah that’s too much, nowhere to store it all”-“but…?”-this was her sense of humour, very dry aha, luckily there was place to store it! We then had many nice conversations about music, instagram, art and travelling! The team at ‘Oxford Backpackers’ were like a family, only a few of them worked there but they were all friendly and conversational, so they informed me of all the best places to visit in Oxford! So I dumped my clothes bag and headed towards the city centre, which was a 5 minute walk from the hostel – winner! The first busk was awesome, I had an incredible response from the public, as there were many school classes taking trips there from all over Europe the city was constantly busy, so I had crowds of foreign students stand around me quite a lot. Asking for group photos and following me on Instagram, taking selfies and giving me both £1 coins and euros aha (since I plan to visit Europe this year, that helps, a lot), someone also gave me a dollar (I don’t plan on visiting America anytime soon- I don’t need a dollar, dollars not what I need, if I share with you my music, can you you not share a dollar with me, cause a dollars not what I needwhat? I don’t know? Stop? Okay…).Oxford is filled with some amazing street artists and I met two of the regulars on the first day! Above-Is by Merlin Porter. This was while I was Busking with a big crowd of French and Italian students around me, he came over and asked “can I quickly paint you”, sure….this took him just over 5 minutes to do! It’s crazy good and he did it so fast! He then went and did more for the students around, so we were almost working as a busking duo aha, I drew people in with the music, he made them stay with the art – that could be a pretty cool street art combination to take on the road! Merlin has his work known all over Oxford and a few cafes have galleries for him, go check out his work now – Merlin Porter. Facebook Page.

This was the class that surrounded me and Merlin when he painted the above picture! Their teacher insisted on getting a picture! I find it weird enough people take pictures of me Busking, then having pictures like this taken felt alien, then someone asked for a selfie and posted it up on Instagram; Aha! So strange, this kid from German really enjoyed my music and bought a few CDs for his family! He’s also sent me some really nice messages on Instagram too! This photo was taken at my favourite spot, just outside of WestGate (which is a huge shopping centre, I believe its actually bigger that what Oxfords castle was! Crazy!).

Since taking this route to travel and busk solo around the UK. I looked into ways to meet people and find friends along the way, as it has and will be a lonesome journey, something I prepared for as I’m quite introverted and like having the space to be on my own. But I also wanted to jump into the uncomfortable and make the effort to socialise with strangers, make friends and build confidence in talking. So I got this app called – MeetUp, with it I attended a talk ‘Engineering Happiness into your Life’ (self-development/motivational talks are something I’m hugely interested in). It was nice to attend something like this as I read and listen to a lot of public speakers like Anthony Robbins and Les Brown. The talk was a very simplified approach to some goal setting and life questions that you’d find in – Awaken The Giant Within – Anthony Robbins

But I discovered some very helpful exercises and life tips in this talk. One of the main activities was to talk to someone who you didn’t know and tell them ‘your story’, we also had to describe ourselves in 3 words – my first thought was, Free, Creative, Loner. That obviously led to many questions and thoughts that floated around to ages afterwards, so I took some time and just sat writing out the question – who am I? Until I found an answer which I felt true to myself, it took a while and it was hard! But it really helped me. I think the way you perceive who you are massively affects the way you think and act. So me having this original thought of being a ‘loner’ only creates the lonesomeness that I feel, a self created feeling and way of looking at my life and probably created situations where I’d ostracise myself. And now I feel I can change those three words that describe me as – A Creative, Nomad, Connector. Since changing this view of who I am, simply with a few subtle word changes, it’s made me change my way on looking at life. This all happened during my first day of Oxford, so from then onwards I felt connecting easier and realise that I’m here travelling to give music to the world and connect with people and connect people together creatively by busking. I never really thought I’d open up like this on a blog, but I want to give you any bit of advice I can give. Please try this now, a pen and paper (much better than phone or laptop), write in 3 words the answer to ‘Who am I?’, the first three words that come to mind. Now think about your answer and how it affects your view of your life and the world around you….if you feel it’s not truly what you believe, then spend some time to write out ‘who you are’ in more detail (more than three words). Dig deep and ask yourself as many times as it takes for you to find an answer you feel speaks the truth. Think about where you want to be in life, your goals, your dreams and who you need to be to get there.

There is greatness within you Les Brown

Another lesson I learnt from this came from an exercise to draw a pie chart like this-

A way to rate each section of your life from 0-10: Physical Environment(places you spend your time, I.e work place, home, social spaces etc), Work, Health, Personal Growth, Love, Money and Friendship. Then with the areas rated low, build goals to boost the ratings. My lowest areas are – Friendship, Money and Love. I know how to boost the money – be better and busk more (which is what I’m working on with this tour). But with Friendship and Love, I need to put in some effort and plan goals. I’m not entirely sure how to set these goals but I have some ideas, I definitely need to make a more consciously effort to connect with my friends and family, even though I’m travelling and away from them- that’s no excuse not to call or message them! I do prefer ‘real-life’ interactions but I that’s impractical currently being away, so I have to use what I have! Try this out too! Use it to plan some goals and figure out where your balances are, and make sure to congratulate yourself on the victories you already have! Always acknowledge every victory, no matter how small!

I’m probably going off on a tangent about this talk I attended! But I feel these are learning steps and an essential part of this journey, and hopefully it adds some value to your life! I definitely think travelling alone is something everyone should venture into, to learn about the world around you and discover more of yourself.

The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready – Henry David Thoreau

Here’s one of the other great artists of Oxford – Joshua Squashua! I love this so much! I feel it shows how I sometimes feel like a complete crazy man who’s lost the plot when I go out and busk with my guitar and bass. We actually met on Instagram, through following the hashtag #busking I discovered his work and we got chatting, so to meet him and hang out was awesome! We shared many views on life and he threw some crazy Philosophical questions at me which have racked my mind for ages, amazing stuff but these kind of questions make you think! Go check his work too!!! – Joshua Squashua. Facebook Page. He’s currently embarking on some busking travelling adventures too, so if you see him in the streets, be sure to get your face squashed and caricatured by him!

I had a lot of pictures and videos taken of me while out Busking, a lot were sent to me! So thank you for all the love and appreciation of my music! Here’s a few;

Here’s the cutest little girl! Her Dance is so adorable! She was dancing for ages with this song and her mum gave her a coin to give, she was confused on where to put it so she stood there waiting for me to take it. It was adorable and from the crowd reaction you could see how happy it made people feel! This has to be one of my favourite busking moments! I didn’t expect any of this, but looking up from my guitar to see a crowd surrounding me all smiling and watching intently, taking videos and pictures, this moment, this atmosphere and connecting people together is the reason I’m in love with busking!

I feel I’ve found a meaningful purpose for performing music, I feel like I’ve added some happiness and value to the lives of those who saw and interacted with me. These gestures of smiles and connection makes it all worth it. I hope to continue to brighten peoples days and I hope to connect with more beautiful souls!

Not only did Oxford give me so much love while busking, it was a welcoming and warming place, I felt at home there and I felt connected with the people! I’m not there now, I’m in Newport, but I’ll write more about this trip on the next post!

I do miss Oxford and would like to return soon, I’ve made some great friends there and made some beautiful memories. Living on the road and travelling makes me feel as though I’ve found a home, I feel this journey is the beginning for some great things, I feel I’m heading in the right direction to achieve my dreams and goals, I’m ready for the challenges to come and I’m feeling very optimistic about life! Right now I feel wonderful!

I hope you to feel wonderful!

Thank you for reading and following my journey!

If I’ve helped in anyway or you feel I can help in anyway, please contact me in someway!

Lots of love,

Have a great day,

Follow your heart,

Keep being you and keep being awesome!

Thank you,

James x

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