A Van, a Plan and an X

The digital nomad idea began forming in my noggin sometime in the mid-90s. I thought it would be awesome to travel the country with a small studio in a van. Which is comical now, because I was in an analog world with digital audio gear still in its infancy. Analog is bulky. And what the hell could I do with anything that fit in there anyway?

The van

In 1997, I addressed my fellow CRAS students from outside my brown Chevy conversion van in the back parking lot to announce my plans. I told several folks that night that I intended to setup a mobile studio in the van so I could roam and work. Well it didn’t happen with that van.

Fast forward about 20 years to me shopping for a camper van to do the same thing. I absolutely understood what I needed and (I swear) diligently searched for the most practical vehicle. I needed to be as self-contained as possible with enough space to work and live. At the time I needed room for two, even though it was always just me on the road.

When the Sexy Beast showed up on a Craigslist page from Tennessee, I couldn’t ignore it. She spoke to me and called me from hundreds of miles away. And even though it was not the practical option, or close, I had to go see. Once I was there I knew I couldn’t leave her behind. We’ve been together for years and she’s always had a safe place for me to sleep when I need it. Still not practical, but awesome.

So again in 2019, I made the same declaration. This time I was loading a backpack podcasting rig with a laptop and a Zoom H-6, which turned out to be a quite-capable studio that also fit in a van. Using my vintage 1998 Sony MDR 7506 headphone from my show days as monitors, I produced the (soon to be relaunched) WYWU podcast from hotel rooms, a storage building and my van. Now I’m chasing something else I want to see exist…

The plan

Pre-divorce I’d been working on a plan for a private retreat centered around a mixing studio. I’d been through enough studio builds to know which money ended up wasted. My plan was just a mixing room, but equipped for perfect monitoring in stereo, Atmos and immersive. Bring your own gear, just plug into my system in my room. I’d also add a decent mic locker and a few good preamps, but not tons of gear. Rent the room and the suite and maybe the whole property to build your mix at your own pace.

I imagine the touring world, as it gradually leans into the immersive mixing environment, finding a Edenic sanctuary to build mixes at a relaxed pace. I see film projects and movie scores mixed and finalized on this magic property. I see singers and songwriters and musicians finding a space to work out their ideas and create new music. I also see artists and creators arriving in a safe space to make things exist that had never existed before.

And I see a competent community working together to support each other and the guests who arrive. Well I’m after it again. It’s part of the larger plan and possibly one of the first projects once I locate my Eden. I’ll be updating my progress and introducing my friends to the magic of the creators who’ve been here.

The X

The large X tattoo on the back of my neck holds some significance for me.

I’ve adopted a stage name that just feels appropriate for the rebirth I’m currently experiencing. X is the unknown variable. It’s the spot where the treasure hides. It’s mark of the uneducated, the cross on the way to Calvary, the generation I represent and the divorce that officially made me an X.

I am PodcasterX. X-sheep, X-slave and after all I’ve written about marriage, family and relationships… X-husband. Ironic isn’t it? I’ve learned a lot over this journey, including how wrong I’ve been about many things. Guess we’ll get into that more next time.

I’ll post a few more in Facebook over the next couple of weeks, but you’ll need to get on my email list to keep up with this plan. UVXcreative.com.

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