Tourism 101

November 22, 2011

When I was a senior in high school my favorite class was World Geography. It was a freshman level class but I’d failed it in 9th grade for never doing my homework which meant I had to take it again to graduate. The few years difference made all the world. Literally. I’m not sure if it was because I was older than everyone else and didn’t have close friends to distract me, or it was because I was so close to graduating and could hear the world wolf-whistling through the window that I excelled in the course. From memorizing state and country capitols to drawing political maps, I excelled and became a fan of the world at large. Besides wanting to sing, I added the possibility of being a tourist into the specifics of the dream.

There’s many things about my childhood that prepared me well in becoming who I am today:

Being Born. From the start I made an entrance to a small crowd of onlookers, thus preparing me for a life in the spotlight.

When I was around 3 or 4 I gazed out the window one night, looking up from my bed through the blinds where I could see a portion of the sky. With childlike curiosity I commanded the sky to blink and it did. Blink I said. And without missing a beat the sky flashed a bright light as if a small star had exploded and faded out quickly. It scared the shit out of me. Did I have that much power or was something out there so powerful that it heard me. Whatever it was I started sleeping under my parents’ bed after that. This was my introduction to the supernatural and I’ve been cosmic ever since.

Then, thanks to my parents’ divorce, I’ve been living out of a suitcase since I was 5. To survive life on the road, one must master the art of packing.

My dad and step dad both drove a van. Tour life would not be possible without at least 2 van rides a day.

My sister and her friends used to pick on me a lot. At least, I thought they did. So did this guy down the street. And his cousins. Yet because all these people lived on my block, I still HAD to play with them. Regardless, it made me pine for the road at an early age as I’d practiced running away a few times but never got past the edge of my neighborhood. I learned at a young age to love and accept judgment and criticism; a necessity for any artist.

Around 7 I was introduced to the School of Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC.) At that time the school existed only in church basements around our city, but 20 some years later it stands on it’s own with hundreds of students, programs and classes for the performing mind; teaching kids everything about life on and off stage, from singing, dancing, and acting to writing and lighting. I’m playing a concert on their behalf at the end of the December to celebrate their 30 years in action.

At 15 I started keeping a journal. It must’ve been a teacher who asked me to do it. Or a really loud voice in my head. Through writing I tapped into that voice and made a new friend. And since then, that voice & I have been making up all kinds of shit which is another requirement in the field of art.

Throughout high school our chorus department would take us on amazing trips. From New Orleans to New York we got to get out and experience how music could literally take us places. I saved all the hotel keys from those years. I’m not sure why. I guess I always felt I had places I could go back and visit. Like secret homes or hideaways. Since then I’ve saved every hotel key. Every single one. And again, I’m not sure why. I have thousands now. Someday I’ll build my own hotel out of recycled plastic hotel keys.

I’m sure I could think of many more things about my past that have contributed to my present, but a new day is dawning here in New York and I’m anxious to get out there. Today I’m planning to visit some museums and catch a Broadway show. Tourism 101.

I’ll leave you with this; one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen on the road. Ever. Enjoy.

Air Chair

 

 

COMMENTS (39)
  • Avatar of Madagascar
    Madagascar said ...

    101… Madagscar’s postal code !
    Jason, “I’ll do anything” to see you in Madagascar, even “If it kills me”. Please come! Please.

  • Avatar of Nikkiw83
    Nikkiw83 said ...

    Your a trip. I enjoy hearing lil tid bits about your life, and how you became you. haha :o )

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    We are missing you Jason – what’s up? How’s life back home? Sing us a holiday tune please! xox JRJID

  • Avatar of iamchay
    iamchay said ...

    these days I discovered that I have much in common with Jason: on several occasions .. I have also reinforced the bag I moved from my hometown Itá to go and live in San Lorenzo, Paraguay … and currently living in Argentina but they are different cases, I thank God I had a beautiful childhood) and the school as well :) … . But I will for now is my sole responsibility :) for my grades my teachers say they could go far in any career that would follow … . but I must admit I feel great interest in all that is acting, music, and I like writing you could say “pieces for songs,” stories, and species of “scripts”, but on occasions is difficult to find anyone who wants to act :( haha I can not always convince my friends :)

  • Avatar of 4meclara
    4meclara said ...

    Maybe you would like to include Romania in your future touring plans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5lcNw6wAkA

  • Avatar of Skyefox
    Skyefox said ...

    ~ Awesome idea to keep the keys. As a child i used to pick up a handful of sand / stones from every place we have been on vacation and put it in a marmelade glass with plastic figures and put a sticker of the year and place they were from on the cap ~ Good times ~ Thxs for making me remember Jason~

  • Avatar of Steffi
    Steffi said ...

    so true..

  • Avatar of AndreaBrasil
    AndreaBrasil said ...

    cool!

  • Avatar of didikini
    didikini said ...

    Honey, I mean really ;) don’t get yourself so seriously :P
    All we do in life and all we don’t do lead us to that moment – right that one.
    No matter how you turn the situation, we are right here – it all speaks for itself – the way we are, what we do – all of it.
    All that fame thing – nah… just dust in the wind. touching hearts – that’s what counts. being warm even when you don’t smile – that’s what counts. kisses and tones of love all around.
    Yours forever

  • Avatar of iamchay
    iamchay said ...

    is great to travel around the world to know new cultures, new people … it’s a beautiful learning experience :) and take your music to different places :) I hope you come soon to Latin America please!

  • Avatar of Yudith
    Yudith said ...

    this proves age does not define how old you are…
    you are wise even when you are a child

    thanks for writing, .. makes me ease and smile.. EVERY time !

  • Avatar of bernadette16
    bernadette16 said ...

    i also master the art of packing.

    There’s so many things i choose not to remember in order for me to survive and one of these stages of my life is my childhood. When i still have my family, whole, happy and complete. thanks for making me remember.:)

  • Avatar of Rose
    Rose said ...

    There are so many defining moments in my life that have brought me to this point in my life. It is usually a decision that I make and not until after it is made do I realize it was a defining moment..that is the coolest thing about life. “You can get with this or you can get with that…” I surfed for the first time last Tuesday on the beautiful beaches of Maui. I so get it now. I loved every second of it. I am officially a goofy foot and proud of it. The best part of it was getting up on my first try and paddling back to my instructor to hear the words…”whoa killer…I did not see that comin!!” It was like breathing…I had been focusing on my core in the months leading up to this lesson and hells yeah it paid off. Just wanted to share that with you. I may have never even tried it if you hadn’t written about it. I hope I can do it again soon.

    I am also hoping to see you soon. Please come to Seattle for a show soon! I need some more of that Sunshine I had last week…you are just the one to bring it!

    Aloha!

    Rose

  • Avatar of MillieD
    MillieD said ...

    Thank You

  • Avatar of danilunia
    danilunia said ...

    ..forgot to tell you that well..reading what you wrote about your hotel keys collection, I do guess that from years in the US all hotel keys are made in the ‘modern’ shape of an electronic card..or I’d rather I hope so..
    The reason is that usually in Italy traditional hotel keys are terribly heavy metal big things purposely made so heavy and visible that you hardly desire to keep them in the pocket or bag.. Immagine a whole collection!! Not just building a house, rather a mountain!

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150381766148869&set=a.44541868868.58595.570588868&type=1&theater

    Sample showed in this pic of mine.

    Lol :D

    D.

  • Avatar of ashley
    ashley said ...

    I like this so much!

    Last year, the bakers & I decided to hang maps in front of our prep stations so that we would improve our geographical prowess. I’d be rolling out pie crusts while taking note of Togo’s neighbors or the capital of Laos. I’m, unfortunately, still miserably prowess-less.

    I love this vision of you as a little boy commanding the sky. When I was a child, I had a fever [my hands felt just like two balloons]. I was nine, and had the flu. I remember my father waking me up in the middle of the night and wrapping me up in a quilt. He and my mother hurried me outside into the freezing winter and pointed up at the sky where the aurora borealis was blowing through the mountains. I felt similarly cosmic. Like I was living a fever dream or watching God. It’s such a vivid and stunning memory. Thanks for reminding me. :)

  • Avatar of Emii_x
    Emii_x said ...

    For example, right now I just lay on my yantra mat and listened to some interviews/songs from Music Matters. It really helped me de-stress. Wonderful :)

  • Avatar of Emii_x
    Emii_x said ...

    The ability to travel is a blessing.
    I love your blogs and your music, I’ve only been to one show in Glasgow but I can’t wait to experience more.
    I’m currently living in London and studying human rights, whenever it gets too tough your music always helps, thanks for that.

    Much love & appreciation,
    Emma.

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    Linda – Loved reading your post! I understand how you feel (I think!!!) We are loading the car to head to NYC now for our opportunity to see Jason and Toca at Carnegie. Just had to peek on line one last time! Blessings to all! Jane

  • Avatar of mrazfan1031
    mrazfan1031 said ...

    Dear Jason,
    I love reading our words. I was at your show on Nov 23rd in NYC and I must say that you and Toca were Amazing! What a magical evening. Thank you. I was also truly blessed that evening when I got the chance to meet you. Wow!! I think my feet are still a few feet above the ground, I am not sure they will ever fully touch the ground again. I am grateful that I was able to tell you that YOU and your music has touched my heart. I will cherish our brief meeting for the rest of my life and I thank you, kind sir for your beautiful voice and your beautiful soul. You have no idea how much you inspire me. With much love and gratitude, Linda

  • Avatar of freedmysoul
    freedmysoul said ...

    J.- Glad you’re back!
    Reading your words … almost as great as hearing them! Carnegie … wanted to be there. Will be next time you’re within 500 miles.
    Adoring you,
    Diane

  • Avatar of danilunia
    danilunia said ...

    That’s cool!!

    It makes me think that only lucky chairs having their legs positioned in circle like that can enjoy a pinwheel experience like that!

    lol… :D

    It seems recalling us that only moving and looking and living on a 360 degrees direction we can whirl on dancing our lives at maximum happiness!

    (I guess guys in the car will never know how amazing was that trip for their lucky chair…!)

  • Avatar of K.T.
    K.T. said ...

    Hey good news reporter J,

    Thank you for this page… and sharing of this incredible world. One breath taken happened today is by your short film at http://www.insearchofincredible.com/uk/jason-mraz-discoveries/__item02 At that moment, it’s a bit emotional for this beautiful house developing with your wonderful voice so lively. How strong a vibration there. Really look forward to your more upcoming films.

    Presently I could still hear the sounds from the past, even they are whispers…

    Trust you must bring a great, enjoyable and heavenly concert in Carnegie; wish I could be there. Wish you a happy and grateful thanksgiving day!


    K.T.

  • Avatar of Zulya
    Zulya said ...

    hhahaha, Air Chair! you are still crazy as ever after all these years1 :)

  • Avatar of shorekimmy
    shorekimmy said ...

    Happy Thanksgiving Jason. What a great time of year to be in NYC. Age three or four must be a magical time of childhood, I wonder if we can make the sky blink at that age because no one has told us we can’t. I am grateful you’re writing again (and sharing on you’re cool new site).

  • Avatar of Ally
    Ally said ...

    HA…the “Air Chair” is like the redneck equivalent of a wind turbine. I bet the ol’ Grand Caravan gets 100 MPG now :)

    ~Ally
    xox

  • Avatar of audreyibz
    audreyibz said ...

    Thanks for sharing. It made me remember things I had forgotten about my life.

    I wish you wonderful trips.

  • Avatar of socalsal82
    socalsal82 said ...

    Lucky me to have chanced upon a new blog.
    Tell me, have you tested the coriolis effect in the N hemisphere yet? It’s the world’s poetry in motion.

  • Avatar of Shawna
    Shawna said ...

    Yes vans…My dad died when I was seventeen and left me his 76 Custom Chevy red/black, faux fur, chandelier enhanced van, he lovingly referred to as his “little whore house on wheels”. I drove that until college expenses forced a Fiat for a few years. Soon a great sleek black Chevy van that I drove rebelliously against the minivans surrounding. Next I bought my grandmpa’s extra long Ford Econline and many more road trips, field trips, camping trips and many more magical van moments & memories.

  • Avatar of Shawna
    Shawna said ...

    Thank you for sharing your childhood perspective. It brings such stimulating peace to find the meaning & balance with where you’ve been, where you are, and graciously & eagerly anticipating the magic to come. Cosmic connections are not cooincidence…

  • Avatar of yourbodywild
    yourbodywild said ...

    Have you ever written about your birth story? Or the environment your mama and you co-created while you were in her womb? Your story reaches back even further than you’ve told

  • Avatar of Sheloveswinter

    Ayup. I’ve lived out of a box since I was about 7, which happens to be my favorite number. As a gypsy I find I never really “unpack”. If you asked me where I call home I would point to my heart. My Dad used to say “The World is your oyster” boy he wasn’t kidding. These words weren’t lost on me today … “things about my past that have contributed to my present” Thx

  • GoodGoodMusic said ...

    Whenever you talk about stuff like this I always remember that one cut out scene from the LIVE AT EAGLES BALLROOM where you are all cute and wrapped up in scarf(s) and posing near the railroad crossing and such. It is really really adorable. That’s probably what you look like during fall. Like a nice warm cup of hot chocolate with a shot of really strong liquor. I can smell fall from that very scene. I really <3 Jason Mraz. It's fun to be obsessed. Cute. :)

  • Avatar of Veronica
    Veronica said ...

    You just made me remember how I first got interested in becoming a traveler/tourist. My high school was in this farm area of Dallas, Texas and from many of the windows of my classes I could see across these huge ass fields to the freeway. I remember staring past all these enormous beautiful fields and fixating my eyes on the traffic that raced by. I would wonder where the cars, trucks, vans and buses (that had to be loaded with people going on an adventure right) going. And I would think to myself as soon as I can get out there I’m going to find out. Not a second after I got my license and my parents would let me borrow the car…I WAS GONE!!! There I was free and on the road….mmmmmmmm home! Even if it was just to see where one freeway met another or just to see how far driving an hour could get me before I had to get back. My parents still don’t know to this day what I would do…our little secret;) I have never lost the traveler heart in me from that earlier curiosity staring across grassy fields to concrete freeways that promised in their very existence a way of life that I could only dream of. Isn’t it funny what makes you recall things you haven’t thought of in forever. Thanks for the reminder! Now if I could only get the sky to blink on command, I am quite sure there has to be a large sum of money in that gig…LOL.

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    p.s. Tell us what you see on Broadway! We want to see Billy Elliot…it closes at the end of this month after a long run. We’re trying to decide what to see on Saturday (we’ll be with you Friday :)

  • Avatar of GloriousMe
    GloriousMe said ...

    Have enjoyed hearing about your travels through the years. Kind of like being a second-hand tourist myself. Glad your past produced such great music and interesting blogs. The soundtrack was awesome and the Air Chair made me giggle. Brilliant!

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    Thanks for sharing all this. Sometimes when I share my childhood story, I think it helps me to better process and understand how I have become who I am. I connect to your childhood in a couple of ways since my parents also divorced when I was five. After that, I inherited (and then lost) a step mother, gained a step father, gained three step sisters and countless step relatives. Many hard and confusing times but a huge blessing has been my step father. Today I feel lucky that I can give my kids a different experience but I also recognize that a more stable home life does not guarantee their happiness – they each must take risks, live and learn and decide along the way who they are, and what they want to be. I always say that happiness is part choice. I’m so happy you found your way not only for your own well-being but for us. We are inspired. I hope you will feel our admiration at Carnegie on Friday evening. xox

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    I remember some turning-points in my life as well. What i am now, is a combination of these different pieces. Both good and bad moments have shaped my life.
    The World as I see it is, according to Albert’s point of view, meaningful in every life form. Even if we don’t know our real mission, we don’t have to forget who we are. We are different, but surprislingy the same.
    Love

  • Avatar of jessica
    jessica said ...

    Something about the way you think and the way you write is just so inspiring. Uplifting. And hearing something from you always makes me take a step back and appreciate the beauty in life. Cool chair. :)

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