We invited Give'r ambassador AJ Fountain to share his experience traveling with three other musicians down the coast of South Africa, living on only their rhythms and melodies (they brought no money and no food). Here are his words ...
Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done, dream bigger. Never underestimate the power of a stranger. Stay grateful for everything, and keep the faith to make your story epic and worth telling.
These are just a few of the lessons I learned in South Africa with three bandmates. A friend, a cousin, and a brother — all whom I regard as best friends now, because that’s what a trip like this does to four friends.
Our mission was to travel the coast of South Africa with only a select few travel instruments and backpacks with basic survival gear. No food, no money was the kicker. We would be forced to play music to connect with people and earn our keep, which included transportation, food, and lodging down the coast to Cape Town.
The ultimate goal was to put 'only music' to the test. To use music as our life blood to make money, connect with people and have no easy out. We also decided to do it this way to promote community and to build faith in strangers, each other, ourselves, and God – to see a different side of South Africa than we would have staying in hotels, and to get the chance to genuinely interact with people on a deep level through unique encounters.
It may be worth noting we weren't going into impoverished communities, busking for money (instead mostly tourist areas). And, one highlight at the end was that we were able to link up with a Playing For Change music school in a township outside of Cape Town and donate the instruments that we brought and played along the journey.
Three of us play in a band called A Brother’s Fountain and my cousin has his own amazing solo project, so we weren’t entirely foreign to playing music, but we all had to learn new instruments for this trip, and we had no prior experience playing together in this kind of arrangement.
While, at first, we were a bit discombobulated, we soon found our groove after a few days of non-stop playing. By week three we were singing and playing our hearts out in good timing and layering in harmonies with our modest acoustic, four-piece arrangement.
What happened down there was nothing short of pure magic. The people we met in South Africa and the things we got to experience still give me the goosebumps. We found out that when you have nothing at all, you have the most to gain from every encounter. So Give’r your all to make this short life your best life, because there are so many experiences and people out there just waiting to be discovered by you.