metanoia – the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life

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The older I get, the more keenly aware I am that the universe tends to put you exactly where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. Pretty much anyone who has met me knows that I’ve never been able to sit in one place for very long. The people who know me the best know that this is echoed throughout my body when I’m going to bed… I full-body twitch as I’m slipping into dream land. I’ve had people tell me it’s because my body is always moving. Whether I’m walking around, dancing while I’m standing in line, dancing behind the wheel of my car, or quite literally driving across the country on a whim – I’m always moving.

I called one of my mentors earlier this year and told him I was taking a break from theatre and stopping the crazy. I talked to him about 7 or 8 months later and told him that since I had talked to him last – I quit my job, was hired to be the choreographer for a children’s theatre program, was offered a series of shows that would take me into 2017, and was offered to choreograph and direct my first full show. After telling him this – he said, “Honestly, Tyler, I knew you were going to lose your damn mind if you tried to stop the crazy. You love the crazy. You live in the crazy.”

I did some SERIOUS introspection through Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way (which I live and breathe by now and think everyone needs to do this book/program) and found out that I’ve been giving myself all kinds of excuses to not be creative and not lead the life that I want to lead. One of the things and people the universe put in my lap was Shrek the Musical at the Atlanta Lyric Theatre with Ms. Marcy Millard (and a whole SLEW of truly amazing people). I had my cards read, which normally would freak me out but wound up being one of the most peaceful and healing things I have ever done. My cards talked about how I need to let go of negative connections in my life in a positive way, and that in my physical and spiritual life – no one can tell me what the answer is. Those answers lie within myself, and I will come to them in time.

I started this adventure photography blog three years ago when I came to the Springer in Columbus, GA for the National Tour of California Dreamin’. And now, I’ve found myself back in Columbus setting the Springer’s National Tour of Route 66. Since I’ve been here, I’ve walked the Chattahoochee pretty much daily, I’ve met some of the most incredibly full-of-life people I have ever met, been dragged out of bed at 7am to climb a mountain to watch the sun rise, foraged a creek, took a sensible trip to Orlando for 18 hours, and I’ve been more happy and at peace than I have ever been in my life.

I have this theory about deja vu… I think it’s a sign that you are exactly where you are supposed to be in that moment. I am in my element, and I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

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Seattle/Vancouver

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AH! 6 days of a vacation… that we all need a vacation from. Flying out Thursday and not getting into our bed until 4am Atlanta time, then on the move non-stop until Tuesday morning was grounds for an exhausting but BEAUTIFUL and amazing trip.

We did all the touristy things (especially me looking like a derp with my camera taking pictures of everything), like see the Space Needle, the EMP Museum, and the Skyview at the Columbia Center. But we also went to the Public Market, saw the original Starbucks (WHICH IS ON PIKE STREET. GET IT?! PIKE ROAST?! Just me? ugh.), and ran all over Capitol Hill. Note – if you have a temporary ID and try to go out in Seattle… Bring your passport. Dunce move, Tyler.

Seattle1a Seattle1b Seattle1c Seattle1d Seattle1e Seattle1f Seattle1g Seattle1h Seattle1i Seattle1j Seattle1k Seattle1l Seattle1m Seattle1n Seattle1o Seattle1p Seattle1q Seattle1r Seattle1s Seattle1t Seattle1u Seattle1v Seattle1w Seattle1x Seattle1y Seattle1z Seattle2a Seattle2b Seattle2c Seattle2d Seattle2e Seattle2f Seattle2g Seattle2h Seattle2i Seattle2j Seattle2k Seattle2l Seattle2m Seattle2n Seattle2o Seattle2p Seattle2q Seattle2r Seattle2s Seattle2s2 Seattle2t Seattle2u Seattle2v Seattle2w Seattle2x Seattle2y Seattle2zThe drive to Vancouver on Saturday morning was GORGEOUS and ridiculously easy. It’s only 2 and half hours of gorgeous landscapes ending in one of the most beautiful cityscapes I’ve ever seen. In Vancouver, we shopped, ate, went out, saw the town, rode bikes around the most beautiful park with views like you couldn’t begin to imagine… and went on the Capilano Suspension Bridge… Which was like “1001 Ways to Torture a Person with a Fear of Heights.” Or, my biggest fear is that things are going to fall over in my direction while I’m in/on them, so another way to freak me out.

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UGH. I’M SO MAD ABOUT THIS PICTURE.

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We rounded our trip out with a sensible trip to the STARBUCKS RESERVE AND TASTING ROOM – AKA – HEAVEN ON EARTH. It was seriously one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Paul and I had a bit of a moment there, as well as a coffee flight. Like a beer flight – but, with coffee. Yes.

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Then. I took some of the coolest pictures of my entire life.

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And All That Jazz…

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So. 2 weeks later is the perfect time to reminisce, right? Right.

Shows like Chicago are why I do theatre. A lot of people think musical theatre is meant to be all laughs, singing, dancing, glitter, and its all just a pretty show. Don’t get me wrong – a GOOD portion of it is that. But what this show adds is that extra element that leaves you still thinking about what you just saw.

We talked a lot about this during rehearsals, and I’m not going to get too too in to it, but stick with me for a hot second. This show is based off of actual women who would become local celebrities while they were on trial for murdering. One of the most chilling lyrics in the show is, “..in fifty years or so, it’s gonna change you know..” Isn’t it funny how NOTHING has changed? Almost 100 years later, we still make celebrities of people on trial or people who have committed horrendous things.

ANYWAY. I haven’t done a show that I’ve been so grossly invested in like this in almost 2 years. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend this time with. We made something pretty freaking awesome. Here’s some really sexy pictures of them all. You shouldn’t have missed the show if you did ; )

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Hunyak understudy : )

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Glenn Rainey is pretty FREAKING AMAZING too. ❤

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Ugh. I love you all a lot.

The Stacks

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So. I made these two new, really cool friends. Well – I guess one of them is more of a “significant other” and the other is my favorite. I’ll let you decide which one is which   ; )

ANYWAY. Paul lives in this place that used to be a Textile factory. In 1881, the Fulton Bag & Cotton Mill was one of Georgia’s most successful late 19th century textile mills. Originally, the Mill was created to manufacture bags out of cotton bales for use primarily in grain distribution. In due time, the cotton bag business went global, and at the outset of WWI, the Mill also began to develop and manufacture tents for our troops overseas. The original Fulton Cotton Mill was closed in 1975 when grains began to be heavily distributed by open railcars and semitrucks. Today, it’s a bunch of super swanky lofts – one of which (The Gotham Clocktower) is Paul’s. There’s some abandoned parts of the campus that have not been renovated into apartments and are “off limits” (HA).

So – abandoned spaces, especially abandoned spaces with history are my favorite places to takes pictures. This is our urban adventure, if you will, of the old mill : )

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Randy Nicol – IT Dork | Singer | Trekkie

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Life Happened Again…

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Remember that really cool photo challenge I did in October?!

… Me either. Because it didn’t happen. Silly Life getting in the way of me taking pictures. Here’s my first few days of the photo challenge anyway. Letters A, B and C!

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Bike Chain (OH. COMBINED!

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Hi! I missed you!

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AH! Tour happened! I moved to Atlanta! I did a couple shows! I’m doing more shows! And teaching! And working a lot at a bunch of places!

That’s the super shortened version of what’s been going over the past 6 months. (Wow. Has it really been that long?) (Yep.)

SO. I miss taking pictures A LOT. So I’m going to start taking pictures again. Because it makes me happy. And we all should walk around with smile on, right? Right.

@fatmumslim (no, I have no idea why she chose that name) makes a new photo challenge every month on instagram with the hashtag #fmsphotoaday. I did it September of last year when I was living in Chicago and I got to explore some really cool parts of the city trying to find things to take pictures of every day. And I’m really excited to start exploring this city that I’ve found myself living in now with this month’s photochallenge : )

Hi! I’m back! I’m so excited to be here! Here’s some photos of what I’ve been up to!

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Bros 4 life.

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I love these girls so much.

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I turned 24!!

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But still haven’t grown up ; )

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My best friends of 13 years came to visit from Louisville and see me in Oklahoma!

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Some of the beauty captured in Serenbe

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Some more…

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Best accidental picture I’ve ever taken – on the stage after closing Oklahoma : )

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Sunrise on a boat in Destin, Florida

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I went deep sea fishing!

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No, the big one was not mine… nor any of ours.

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My beautiful family : )

DFlying home from NYC

A couple stains, but mostly memories

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I’ve re-done this entry like 4 times now, because I keep thinking, “I’ll sit down and edit my photos tonight”… and never do. I might have said, “this stint of the tour has been hard,” or, “we’ve been doing a lot of travelling,” before… I lied. This last 2 weeks has been roughsauce. We’ve had a show pretty much every night, and days that we don’t have shows, we have 10-hour driving days. We did a couple drives back and forth from Missouri to Omaha and back. Then headed north to St. Charles, IL. The Arcada theatre is a well-known rock venue bringing in artists like Clay Aiken (who no one at the venue could say they appreciated to say the least… hehe), Joan Rivers, KISS, Frank Sinatra Jr., The Temptations, and of course, California Dreamin ; ) We had a few nice days of what seemed to be Spring in North and South Carolina. We performed at the Fine Arts Center of Camden, which was a really cool campus split into 4 buildings for performing arts, music, painting and pottery, and dance. I “broke into” the dance studio (the door was unlocked!) and set off the alarms not just in the building, but the entire campus. Leave it to me… We just got to Pennsylvania for a show tomorrow before we head to Georgia for a show, and the Alabama for a 3-day sit down… and then we’re done! So HERE is the post I’ve been meaning to put up for 2 weeks now.

When I was younger, I got some advice from one of my soccer coaches on my way to practice. I must have been complaining about staining something, and she said, “yeah, your clothes might have a stain here and there, but I’d rather have the stain and the memory of the experience than nothing at all.” I’ve tried to live my life that way ever since she told me that – thus the photo collection of wear and tear of our equipment. We had to paint our own designs on the keyboard covers back in Ellijay to cover up some nasty marks all over them (which are pretty roughed up again… oh well). We’ve LIVED on the Struggle Bus (we actually named our tour bus the Struggle Bus) for ten weeks now. That bus is FULL of stains (and by that I mean *memories*) of laughing, pictures that will surely surface soon of awkward sleeping positions, things “shifting during transit,” awkward shared stories, and dancing to the sounds of DJ MattySwinDaddy.

Tim put it really well a few weeks ago. Someone asked him how long we had been together as a group. When he told them a couple months, they were shocked! Something we hadn’t anticipated as a group is that a vast majority of people who came to see the show thought we were a band, not a group of actor/musicians. I guess it’s a testament that we’ve done an okay-job of putting this show on it’s feet that almost everyone we tell doesn’t believe us and tells us they thought we’d been together for years to perform our music like this. Tim told someone, “well, we haven’t been together very long in terms of weeks, but we’ve been together a LONG time in terms of hours.” Over the past 6 months, we’ve all caught each other at our worst, at our best, at our most awkward and hilarious, and at our most vulnerable moments. (Yes, I’m being that sappy “I’m-so-lucky-to-be-doing-what-I’m-doing” actor right now.)

We all sat down and talked about our favorite times on the tour, and not surprisingly, all of our favorite memories were the small moments where we were all just happy to be out (or in) together and with the WEIRDEST assembly of people you could possibly put together.

Here’s to Cali Dreamin’ – the most NOSTALGIC show in America! ; )

Everyone knows it’s windy!

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And this bring us to our iPhone portion of the pictures… ; )

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Our adventures in the Midwest have taken us to some fun named towns like Spirit Lake, Okoboji, and Red Cloud. As you can imagine, they all have Native American roots behind their names. It “officially” being Spring now, I’m anxiously awaiting the warm weather… But we were hit with a snowstorm in Spirit Lake, so there wasn’t a lot of exploring on our part as we hid out from the cold. But it didn’t stop us from performing in the beautiful and brand new SAMI center!

We got to Red Cloud and did more of a “gig” performance of the show, which was actually really fun for us. I asked our contact at the theatre about the town. She said there’s about 1,000 people in Red Cloud and, “if they’re not related, they all know each other.” We were split up into two housing units. I was in an old railroad station, now a historical site/housing unit. And the other half of the cast was in a house close to the theatre.

Then! We headed to the McPherson Opera House in Kansas. After the show, a couple came up to the cast and invited us all over to their house for drinks and snacks after the show. The family LIVES in what used to be the original Opera Hall before the Opera house we performed in was built. They’ve lived there for five years and said they came in and the entire space was in disarray and they took 6 months to remodel it into the DREAM HOME that it is now. The wood paneling in their home was found in the old opera hall (what they now call their back yard). There is a fireplace completely made of recycled piano parts, an antique rosewood piano, and original posters from the opera hall’s productions. They live above a music store that they own and run that sells instruments, antique microphones, and a whole slew of other cool things. To cap off a really fantastic and fun night with the family and their friends, we played an intense round of badminton! My favorite story they told about the house is they have all the original doors from when the building was being used as offices after the Opera Hall closed. Apparently there was one man who would paint the stencils on doors for the whole town, however, he was a bit of a troublemaker and was constantly in jail. Whenever someone needed a door stencil done in the town, they would bail him out again! I asked them later if they’d thought about submitting to HGTV or something. Apparently they were sought out by HGTV to be on a show called “You Live in a What?!” and they’ll be on the air some time in May! Keep an eye out if you’re into interior decoration, or just really cool stories and homes. : )

In other news: I’ve come to the conclusion that some people live in small, remote, cell service-less towns because they’ve never experienced Starbucks. I know, I know… I’m supposed to be hipster and support local business and fair trade (which I TOTALLY do.) But I love Starbucks. I love it. And I think people would be much happier and accepting and peaceful if we all would just succumb to our feelings of pure JOY at the first sip of a Chai Latte or a Cinnamon Dulce. I think that’s something we can all agree on.

Today we drove from Nebraska to Missouri through the wind and rain. Matthew told us that the record wind speed outside of tornadoes in Missouri is 40 mph… and it was blowing our bus off the road at 40 mph the whole way. I’ll basically say we drifted the whole way to Missouri. We lived though!! *cue “Jesus Take the Wheel”*

THE LONGEST MILE

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From Parkersburg to Louisville to Benton to Des Moines – 946 miles, 3 days, and 6 states. I have taken my relationship to my two-seat suite to the next level.

We had a performance in Parkersburg, WV, which was actually super cool. Parkersburg apparently was a large theatre district during the Vaudeville era, but many of the theatres quickly went out of business and were shut and torn down. The Smoot Theatre was almost torn down in 1989, but is now a completely volunteer-run theatre. It has its original hardwood stage with, interestingly, separate wood treatments for the “dance floor” (which is about a yard in depth along the proscenium… so much for leaps and turns…) and the “musical floor”. They still have their original trap door system with explanations of midget circus acts using them and apparent full sized elephants on the stage! We were put up in the swanky and historical Blennerhasset Hotel the night before our performance.

The night of our performance in Parkersburg was followed by a 4.5 hour drive to my hometown, Louisville!! We arrived at our hotel right at 4 am. I had breakfast with my mom and one of my best friends, then hopped right back on the road at 10:30 to get to our next performance in Benton, IL. I didn’t do a lot of searching and finding in Benton because we were all running on fumes.

The next morning we headed out to Des Moines, IA and none of us are sure why we’ve all heard of Des Moines. I know I’ve heard it mentioned in the Finale of “Little Shop of Horrors.” But I’m a nerd. I honestly don’t even know why it’s mentioned in Little Shop (dramaturgs, unite!!) As far as I can find, it was a booming city for a while due to the coal industry. It’s the capitol of Iowa. And it has a really interesting revamp story from the turn of the century renovating the city and installing fountains and art installations across the city.

What I can tell you is, don’t listen to the waiter at the Mexican restaurant for suggestions of clubs to go to on St. Patrick’s weekend. Or go out without a sure ride home. At least here.

Story time:
We asked our waiter where is somewhere fun to go. We haven’t had a chance to go out and dance really since we’ve been on tour and we wanted to have some fun wince we had a couple days off. He suggested some dance/hip-hop club downtown. So we ask our hotel clerk to call us a taxi… and apparently there was an hour wait. So he offered to drive us downtown when he got off work… which we accepted. We get to this club downtown and are greeted by a St. Paddy’s celebrator who is disgruntled because she was just farted on in the club. We quick about faced and walked to another bar down the street. Which was CLEARLY the right choice seeing as it was a BARCADE. Like – Bar + Arcade. What else could you ask for in life?! After a few hours of making friends over giant-bar-jenga and shooting zombies, we started calling for a cab to find ourselves in a 3-hour wait or to wait in the “cab line.” We correctly opted for the cab line and wound up snuggled in bed an hour later. I have no complaints. We were all feeling a bit like Quasimodo, singing “Out There” in desperate need of seeing some new people and had a really fun night out. : )

Somewhere – deep down – I’m a farm boy

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Somewhere - deep down - I'm a farm boy

(Forewarning. This is a long one…)

Walking around town, Pulaski seems like a town caught in the 60’s. Old painted Coca-Cola ads, several WWII memorials, several Korean War memorials, vintage clothing stores. It’s a very cute little town and everyone was so friendly – and sitting on the bridge over the Tract Fork while the sun was going down was so nice before our show. : ) The Pulaski theatre was built in 1911, turned into a dried goods store in 1922, returned to an entertainment venue in 1937, was almost turned into a parking lot in 1991, and now is the entertainment center of Pulaski. Apparently the theatre is now a multi-purpose theatre, seeing as The Hunger Games was being shown in the theatre the day after we left.

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We were put up in what was labeled the “Mansion” in our tour booklet… But that doesn’t even begin to scratch at how beautiful Rockwood Manor is. It was built over 130 years ago and is still owned by the same family that originally built it. Today, it’s commonly booked out for weddings and large gatherings. When they turned the mansion into a Bed and Breakfast, the floors were covered in dirt and grime from years of wear. Once they cleaned the grime away, they found the gorgeous original hardwood flooring from the building of the house. Yes – the floors are original hardwood from the 1800’s. Amazing.

I don’t think a lot of people know this about me, being a bit of a city boy… I want to live on a farm one day – cattle, vegetables and all. This place was like heaven on Earth, especially with the 74 degree, sunny weather we had while we were there!!