Andrew Thomas on Scat Singing

In May 2015, in the first week of our trip across the US, we had a chance to meet one extraordinary man. His name is Andrew Thomas and he is a jazz trumpet player. We met him through his brother Matthew, who Michal went to college with. Matt told us that Andrew is an interesting character, but we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Andrew charmed us, lured us into his beautiful mind and let us have a glimpse of what he calls his beautiful frustration.

We previously posted an interview with Andrew, but recently we started looking through some files we gathered during our four months journey and came across this video.

Advertisements

The End of the Road

After twenty-one thousand incredible miles, we made it to our 48th state.

What a blessing to be able to have seen so much of this beautiful land; we’ve had countless people tell us that that is something that even few Americans have been able to do.

The last two states for us to visit were Ohio and West Virginia – but as we were on an epic 48 hour drive on our way back to New York to prepare to fly out, we only got a glimpse of these states.

The Travellers Two - USA

A rough sketch of our route

But, we took the time to celebrate the 48th state milestone with one of our last on-the-road meals, at a little park in Bethlehem, WV. Thankfully we could enjoy the sunshine before driving through nine hours of torrential rain across Pennsylvania and New Jersey!

In New York City, the end of our journey, we amazingly met some friends who had also just finished an epic journey of their own. Rob and Christine Lilwall cycled from California to New York City on a tandem!

_MG_0404

We both reached our milestones on Thursday – for us 48 states, for them coast to coast – and we both arrived in New York City on Friday. _MG_0576

Enjoying a celebratory drink overlooking the Statue of Liberty, and where so many Europeans first set foot onto these magnificent shores, we were thrilled to be able to share our stories and congratulate each other. And, we look forward to seeing them both back in Hong Kong.

_MG_0588

_MG_0618

In Tulsa, just three days before we arrived in New Jersey, we gave the car a tremendous clean out, scrub and hoover – so much dust from the desert! So when we got to NJ, we just had to get it ready to drop it off with the shipping company.

_MG_0395

It is really amazing how much you can fit into a car! Our stuff was spread all over the lawn, garage and our bedroom. And the car looked very ‘naked’ without all of its equipment.

But now everything is almost-neatly packed into bags and boxes; our whole life seems to be a series of packing, unpacking, repacking and re-repacking. I’m thankful for the new Lianne La Havas album that got me through it.

On Friday, we took the Defender to the shipyard to have it inspected and received to clear customs, before it makes its long voyage home to the UK. The next time we see it will be in December.

_MG_0396

It really is remarkable car; although it is very loud, not the most comfortable, and there’s always something that doesn’t quite open or close properly, it drove us thousands and thousands of miles through extreme heat and crazy terrain, and never let us down once.

If only it had air-conditioning…

While the car is on the ship, we are already dreaming of how to prepare it for the next expedition – what we would change, what we would keep the same, how we can make it fit a few more people in so we can share the road with some friends…

Hopefully next summer we will be able to take the car somewhere even more challenging. We have a destination in mind – maybe we will be able to reveal that within the next few months.

But for now, as we look back over the past four months, we also look forward to The Travellers Two returning to Asia and sharing those new stories as the journey continues.

_MG_0629

New York, New York

What an amazing moment to approach this city. Sunrise over New York is spectacular. Photos can’t really translate it. 

IMG_8620 copyWe landed on Sunday morning and headed down to visit our friends who are hosting us for a few days until our car arrives. It was a special day in Summit, New Jersey as it was Daffodil Day and the weather was perfect. People outside of the U.S. usually think of New Jersey as New York’s dirty, industrial little brother. But really it’s an amazing state, especially during a sunny day. After all it’s the Garden State. But at the end of the day it’s a quiet and peaceful place, so enough about it already.


On Monday, Louise decided to start the journey by checking out some venues in NYC and going to an open mic. Here is a excerpt from her site:

“So, I thought I would start in the right direction and on Monday night I played an open mic at Side Walk Cafe in East Village. It is New York City’s longest running open mic night, having been running for over 21 years! It was truly an entertaining evening… 

20150422 Open Mic_2

Anyone who wants to perform has to show up for sign up at 7.30pm – they let you do anything; sing, play, recite poetry, rap, comedy… it just has to be either two songs or eight minutes, whichever is shorter. When you sign up, you get given a randomly assigned number and that determines when you play. I was given number 26. So I got a Guinness, sat down, and waited to see what the other acts would be.

I think, for my first night in New York, it was the absolutely perfect introduction. The acts ranged from super-talented to terrible, from mainstream to extremely weird! It was the perfect snapshot of artists in the big city. Some who have been plugging away for years and years, some who have just arrived and are hoping to make it big. Some were there to promote their shows or make connections. Some were there just because that’s what they do on Monday nights. 

It was fun to be a part of such an eclectic group of performers. Being in Asia for so long has made it difficult to surround myself with artists, and so I welcomed the chance to soak up the scope of creativity. 

20150422 Open Mic_3

It turned out that 26 was not the best number to draw… even after the One Song Wonder round which started at 10pm, I still hadn’t heard my name called. So by the time I got up to play (at 12.30am) I was super tired from the jet-lag! But it made an interesting introduction, and I told the 20 or so faithful who were still there a little of my story as I played. My voice was perhaps gruff from the tiredness and the Guinness, but my songs and stories built a connection with the audience that was precious to me, and I hope as I added my voice to the mix of the night, it blessed and inspired a few souls.” (LW)

The following day we woke up in the afternoon, as artists usually do, but we needed to get some sleep. Hopefully soon we’ll adjust and be ready for… whatever comes next. Today we got an email that our car will not arrive until later this week, and we assume that the customs clearance will take some time as well. So it seems that at the start we are already a week behind schedule… the schedule that does not exist. So we should be just fine.

MSJ

Sail On/Fly Off – live from Hong Kong

Hong Kong; our home for over two years. The weather has been just beautiful as we have been packing up. It was say saying goodbye to our tiny flat – although we are travellers, we have loved having a beautiful little home.

_MG_2524

It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulated over the past few years. As we packed, it was wonderful to look back over our time in Hong Kong. But it was also wonderful to do a bit of a cleanse; to throw away the excess, and have to decide what is actually important to have with us as we journey forward.

As we probably should have anticipated, it has been a hectic few weeks. We’ve been finishing up projects at work, organising the house, trying to finalise the car import and plans for when we land, getting the album finished and throwing a launch party.
But we pulled it off somehow – we had an amazing night on Thursday celebrating our time in Hong Kong, launching Louise’s album and reminiscing with friends. It was amazing that so many of you were able to come and give us an amazing farewell.
IMG_4869So, the albums are packed, the piano is packed, cameras are packed, the hard drives are packed… I think we have too much luggage! We are pretty exhausted and are gonna go and fall asleep on a long flight, and hopefully we will wake up refreshed in New York.
Louise is going to play a couple of open mic nights on Monday and Tuesday to get initiated into the NY music scene. Let us know where else we should go to check out some great live music.