When I graduated college in 2010, I had no idea what the next few years would look like. I had my summer figured out: working at a restaurant in the touristy Cape Cod. I would figure it out from there. I had begun to learn the accordion the previous summer and I joked about finding fame and fortune by busking in Provincetown. I went out to do just that for the first time in June of 2010, with a boring wooden tip box, a polka-dot skirt, and about ten songs which I played quite badly. I knew nothing about the art of busking. Regardless, I realized that this was actually a feasible way to make a little money.
A lot has happened since that day. I now have a beautifully painted box, a logo, business cards, a website, a Youtube channel with over 90,000 views, and a theme-appropriate dress with piano keys. I have percussion instruments, a kazoo, and a dancing puppet with a matching dress. I play over fifty songs, with many more on the "to learn" list. Most importantly, I have a sign that says "Playing Back Student Loans!" I know what I'm doing, a little bit.
I am lucky that I discovered this means of income, and that I have not yet had to get a "real job" since college. I have a flair for adventure, and my goal is to travel the world, with or without my accordion, and accumulate experiences and stories that will give me a sense of fulfillment of my twenties. I am also quite distressed by the current economical situation in the United States and the world, and the high cost of education in my home country affects me personally. I accrued quite a bit of debt for my education, and in addition to living expenses I now have monthly loan payments. "Playing back student loans" has been my way of coming to terms with all the money I'm spending on loan payments and the high interest rates. I feel a sense of satisfaction that I have been able to make my loan payments through doing something I love, rather than following the traditional path of seeking employment immediately to make such payments.
I have been employed since college, mainly working at the lovely little restaurant on the Cape, but it always had an ending date when the season ended. This job enabled me to save up some money without having to commit to a long-term job that would infringe on my wanderlust. When I wasn't on the Cape, I was living at home or with family friends in San Francisco and not paying rent, so my savings stayed put.
This is the first time I have had living expenses but no income since finishing college. Since I am on a tourist visa here in Edinburgh, I cannot work. That's okay, since I came with savings and I was planning to spend them to live while busking to make my loan payments. My plan is to stay here through August, travel more if I have any money at all, then hunker down at home with my parents to work on my book. However, I recently traveled around Europe and spent more money than I meant to. My savings account is seriously diminished, and I'm worried about having enough money to stay.
I decided to put up this "donations" page to seek financial support so I can stay here long enough to experience the August Fringe Festival in Edinburgh; a time that will surely yield stories and busking experience. I live quite frugally (cheap accommodation, dumb-phone, secondhand clothes, few bar tabs, etc.) but I will still have to stretch my remaining savings as far as they will go, in addition to upping my busking (if it ever stops raining!!). If donors feel uncomfortable donating to either living expenses or loan payments, there is the third category of accordion-related expenses. This includes such things as new straps, materials for sign-making, printing sheet music, and paying airline baggage costs to be able to bring my accordion on board flights.
Thank you for reading this! If you are a traveler or musician, if you are fed up with Sallie Mae and all that stuff, or if you have a wealthy great-uncle who has a soft spot for accordion music, please bring attention to this page. I would greatly appreciate even the smallest of donations! The people I have met through my travels and busking, as well as people I knew before, have been so supportive of the lifestyle I have chosen for now. I cannot express my gratitude for the kind words of encouragement and donations in the form of tips that I have already received.
With much gratitude,
- Lee - $50.00
- Alexander - $25.00
- Tito - $25.00
- Aruna - $10.00