Back to the Island 2016 Throwback: Finally buying that ticket for one to Jamaica.

Think of how far you’ve traveled for music. Does it move you enough to travel out of state? Across the country? Out of country?

It has been six months since I hopped a plane and embarked on a journey that was the furthest I had ever traveled. Since we are at the halfway mark between Back to the Island (BTTI) events, and I know many people who are going for the first time next January, it inspired a little throwback Thursday.

For those who have never heard of BTTI, imaging flying to a tropical island, lounging by the pool, ordering lots of food and drinks, doing activities with your favorite band, and then attending two concerts a day – one solo set with a beautiful sunset backdrop and one at night… listening to your favorite band right next to the beach. This is paradise to Hanson fans. And this year it was Jamaica. I’m surprised more musical artists haven’t followed their fan appreciation model yet.

Hanson + crafts + on a beach? Count me in!
I’ve wanted to go to BTTI since it launched a few years ago. After having normality in my daily life for some time and having already attended one Hanson Day weekend, I was ready to take the next big leap in my musical adventure wish list.

The flight to Jamaica for me was awful. What was supposed to be a 13-hour red eye trip turned into over 20 hours of a delayed flight, a rescheduled connection, then a missed connection, and (barely) sleeping at an airport. A part of me just wanted to slump at the missed flight gate and cry, and another part of me wanted to punch a wall. Although I’m not a fighter, and I was way too tired to exert that much energy. 

I was supposed to arrive in Jamaica at noon the following day, so I could enjoy an afternoon at the beach before the first concert at 10:00 p.m. Instead, I didn’t get to the resort until after 9:30 p.m. and although thankful to be there, I was exhausted and felt gross from the all day travel then hit by island humidity. I quickly checked in to my room, freshened up (sure, let’s call it that), all just in time to follow the sounds of the first song to the stage. I immediately walked to the bar near the stage and asked for a mixed drink, sat in the back (with a great view of the show), took off my sandals, and put my feet in the sand. Finally!!! All those worries and travel hours were worth it… 

Final performance at BTTI 2016
Paul McDonald takes the stage

A couple years prior, I would have never imagined myself here, but I finally arrived. Physically and figuratively. Total bliss.

As mentioned in previous posts, the Hanson community is a close knit one. Even if you don’t know fans, you feel like you do. I had multiple fans walk up to me after the concert asking if I was the girl who was stuck in Seattle overnight (I was), and they were so glad that I made it in time for the show. Those I know from other events came up for hugs and hellos. It is truly wonderful the power of music, strong enough to reunite fans from all over the world to one island. A drop in the ocean.

Zac Hanson Solo Show – "Lucy." One of my long time favorites. #BTTI2016 #travel

A post shared by Emilia Cottrell (@adventures.of.emilia.bedelia) on

Taylor guitar goodness. #BTTI2016

A post shared by Emilia Cottrell (@adventures.of.emilia.bedelia) on

Isaac #BTTI2016 Solo Show. Haven't heard this song in so long. Overdue. The feels. #Jamaica #travel

A post shared by Emilia Cottrell (@adventures.of.emilia.bedelia) on

Hearing new @thepaulmcdonald music at #BTTI2016 I totally get you on this one! #Jamaica #travel

A post shared by Emilia Cottrell (@adventures.of.emilia.bedelia) on

I definitely stressed putting down that deposit eight months before and was nervous with every payment made. What if something happens that prevents me from going!? But in that moment, my worries to travel alone and spend all the money washed away. I spent the most that I had ever spent on a vacation, but what I came home with was priceless memories and uncharted waters now seen. An investment worth while.

 https://youtu.be/MoJIf9M6JMs

And if you’re not the sentimental type, jokes happened. My 13-year-old self would never believe the idea that one day I’d have Hanson’s full attention. I only remember parts of this conversation, but apparently it was hilarious!

And here was our wonderful island send off with Hanson, Paul McDonald, and Parachute.

I’d love to hear of your long distance musical travels.

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