I know it is the fall of 2017, but here is an update on how I spent my Summer. The summer of 2017 was spent living in Nashville, TN. For the most part, it was a great summer. I experienced some hardships and went through some emotionally challenging times, but I learned so much from both my time in Nashville and these things I went through. I will definitely be better for it in the future. This would be my second time living in Nashville. I lived there from 2011-2013, and always had a soft spot in my heart for Music City. The city is growing like crazy and has changed so much from when I last lived there. My first month living there was spent living in an AirBnB, and the remaining time was spent living with roommates in a house. I knew I was only going to be living there temporarily so instead of buying a bed, I bought an air mattress to sleep on for three months. If you have never slept on air mattress for 3 months, I don’t particularly recommend it. It made me appreciate the luxury of a bed though. My roommates were nice guys, we didn’t spend a ton of time together, but the time we did was fun. During my time in Nashville I got to experience some pretty cool things. If you want to read about those things, read below.
Hans Zimmer Live
I am a huge movie score fan. I have been since I was a kid. I would buy all sorts of soundtracks, and scores from my favorite movies, and my favorite composer was Hans Zimmer. He went out on tour this summer and played his greatest movie score hits live. When I saw he was coming to Nashville when I was there, I had to get a ticket. I splurged a little and got a ticket 5 rows from the stage. The experience was amazing. Live music is always special to me, but to hear the scores from classic movies like The Lion King, Gladiator, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Crimson Tide, Interstellar, Pirates of the Caribbean, and so many more, it is such a different experience. It was a beautiful night, and one of the most memorable concerts I have been to.
Volunteering with Hospice
When I arrived in Nashville, I started a job search to start my next career path. As I was searching for jobs in the video area one day, I came across a volunteer opportunity with a hospice provider in Nashville. They were looking for a videographer to help great videos with their patients. This would give their patients a chance to tell their stories, and leave memories for their loved ones. This seemed like a great opportunity for me, and so I submitted my information to be able to help. I went through all the steps to become a volunteer and was ready to start my volunteer work. The first project was going to be with a patient who worked for the space program for several years during the space race at Kennedy Space Station. She was in a nursing home in Murfreesboro, TN which is about 45 mins outside of Nashville. My first visit was spent just talking to her and getting to know her. She had two books in her room full of pictures, articles, badges, etc. from her time with the space program. It was like being transported back in time to an amazing point in history. She was a very sweet lady, and spending that afternoon with her was very special. However, she did not want to be on camera much to tell her story, and so I had to figure out a way to honor her wishes, and also pay tribute to her experiences. My next visit would be on a Saturday and I would be joined by a fellow volunteer and we would spend the afternoon reorganizing her collection of photos, news clips, awards, badges, and so much more. I would film this experience and put together a video for her and her family. She was extremely appreciative of it all. Although I only spent a few hours with her, I was deeply moved by her life experience and the appreciation she had for being helped. I would get to do a couple other things in regards to my hospice experience, and all and all they were super positive and showed me how much I enjoy volunteering. I look forward to doing more of it in the near future.
The country music world was shocked by the loss of a beloved member of a popular country duo. Through a friend of mine in Nashville, I was asked to make the slideshow for his memorial services. All of a sudden, I found myself in the midst of this man’s life. I was given the task to put together a glimpse of his 50 years on this planet. I went through over 800 pictures and videos. I saw a man who was loved, and loved in return. A man who cherished his family, and lit up a room with his smile and energy. A man who was respected on several different levels. We didn’t know each other, but in the time I spent working on this, I felt like I got to know him. I saw a man, who loved his wife, his daughters, his singing partner, his band, his team, and his fellow musicians. A man who loved to give back, and who served as a rock for the family that counted on him. Even in his passing, he was still giving back, and I was the recipient. I was touched by this man’s life in a way that it helped me understand that I need to be better, in a lot of different ways. He showed me how it was done and how quickly it can be taken from you. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this man’s life in this way. I know how much he is missed. I know how hard it must be for his family and friends to have that person here one day, and gone in an instant. I hope they can look through all those pictures and videos and smile and laugh at all the good that man brought to their lives and remember him that way.
Van Morrison Live
I have often said that if I was stranded on a deserted island and had to pick only one artist I could listen to while on said island, it would be Van Morrison. He has been #1 on my concert bucket list for a long time. I knew he was coming to Nashville while I was there, but tickets were super expensive, and I was supposed to be out of town when he was there. My out of town plans changed, and since I was going to be there I had to buy a ticket to the concert. I did, and it was a beautiful September night at the same outdoor venue I saw Hans Zimmer at. It was an amazing show, I thought his voice sounded great, and so did the music, I just wished he would have played longer. It was a great concert and I was really happy to cross that one off my concert bucket list.
Grand Ole Opry
In my previous years in Nashville, I never made it to the Grand Ole Opry. I don’t really know why, but I got an opportunity to do so with some friends there, and I couldn’t pass it up. The headliner was Eric Church, who has been one of my favorite country artists for a long time, so it was even better of a reason to go. I had no idea what I was in for, but it would end up being a really special night. Restless Heart was the first band, they had one song that took me way back to my childhood and sounded good. Next was Charles Esten, who is on the show Nashville. He was really good too, and brought out another person from the show to sing with him on one song, and it was beautiful. Next was Scotty McCreery, Trace Adkins, and a girl named Ashley McBryde whom I had never heard of before. She performed a song that just hit me like a ton of bricks. With what was going on in my life, and who I was with, the song just hit home. All artists were all really good, and played 3 songs each. Eric Church would be the final performer of the night. This was the week after the Las Vegas shooting, and Eric Church had played the festival where it took place on Friday night. One of the victims of the shooting was from Tennessee, and was supposed to be at the Opry that night, but unfortunately he passed away while protecting his wife from bullets. Eric Church came out with just his guitar and played 5 songs. One was one he had written about the incident in Las Vegas, a couple others were his own songs, and he covered the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah. He was clearly shaken by the events in Las Vegas and he came out and entertained in a way that I felt really honored those who had passed away in that horrific incident. It was a special night and I was happy to be with a good friend who could appreciate the night on the same level as me. The video of Eric Church performing the song he wrote is below.
Needtobreathe at the Ryman
One of my favorite bands is a rock band from South Carolina called Needtobreathe. I have seen them live several time, and they are at their best when they are live. They were going to be at the Ryman my last week in Nashville, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see my favorite band at my favorite concert venue. It did not disappoint. They sounded amazing, and played with such energy. Their lyrics speak to me in a way I can’t describe. Sometimes it feels like their songs were written directly based on my life. This was particularly true at this time in my life, and being with a good friend and listening to these songs made for a very special night.
Being in Nashville this time around, I was more into photography than I was when I lived there before. This allowed me to take more photos than I ever have before. A few of my photos were featured on a couple of Nashville based Instagram feeds, and I was also able to meet some local photographers and met up a few times to go out and shoot with them. It was great to get some shots of Nashville to add to my collection.
Friend Visits in Nashville
Nashville being the great city it is, makes it easy to convince people to come visit. During my time there I was lucky to get a couple visitors. My good friend Perry from Phoenix came in for the USA Soccer game and we had a nice weekend hanging out. That same weekend another friend and his wife came for the soccer game, so it was nice to see them as well. A few of my Remote Year friends came through town as well, so I got to have a meal with a group that was in town and then another friend from Remote Year was in town for a conference and we got to have a nice meal together. It was great to catch up with her, and see what life has been like for her after Remote Year. Towards the end of my time in Nashville my good friends Drew and Beth came for a visit as well. It was great to spend time with them. The Saturday night they were there we went to a famous Bluegrass venue called The Station Inn. I lived across the street from this place for two years and never went, so I was glad to finally cross that off my Nashville list too.
Time Up In Nashville
My time in Nashville ended, and although it was a challenging time. I was able to make some great memories, and got to spend time with some really great people. I left Nashville and headed to Iceland and NYC and will be writing about that soon.
Peace and Love.