In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the pop rock artist, Travi The Native, shares one of his stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
So. I’ll start by setting the scene. My producer Owen and I were about two weeks into a month-long European tour that we had booked ourselves. Young and optimistic, we departed Northern Ireland in Owens old VW camper van – entirely reliant upon a few carefully placed cable ties that were keeping the gearbox in place. Following a few days in Amsterdam which, as you can imagine, was a slight blur, we packed up the old faithful and set off for Germany. It was around 7am and we’d collectively had around 40 minutes of sleep, but Hamburg was calling and we had a show that evening.
A few hours into our drive, as we were nearing the German border, we discovered a rather substantial amount of weed that we had forgotten to get rid of before leaving Holland. I for one at this stage (probably due to the lack of sleep) thought that we’d be fine if we got stopped at the border or by the police – I’d be able to explain myself.
“Man I’m really sorry – silly mistake, we were just in Amsterdam but you can just take it off us and let us on our way.” And the cop would have bought this and sent us off without even a slap on the wrist.
That’s how I played it out in my mind.
Thankfully, my delusional expectations of leniency towards drug smuggling were not put to the test. We passed effortlessly through the German border and made it to our show. Everything was grand.
Fast forward a few days and high on life (and life alone) Owen and I set off for France. With the scare of the last journey now a distant memory, we pulled up into the queue of stopped traffic at the border. Routing around for our passports, however, we learnt the inevitable. We had forgotten to dispose of the weed AGAIN! How could we be so stupid?!
This time I was far less calm and collected. Probably because I had slept the night before and was thinking straight. Not to mention the fact that the French police were stopping every car. Sniffer dogs, guns – the whole shebang.
We were six cars away and panic stations set in. How the hell are we going to explain this one? Or how the hell are we going to get rid of these drugs in five cars time?! I’ve already locked eyes with the police up ahead. In retrospect, this was more to do with the fact that we were driving a massive red battered VW van with Ireland stickers on it, and less to do with the ‘I’m carrying a huge bag of weed’ look etched on my face. Anyway, maintaining eye contact with said police officer I try to scramble around in the cockpit of the van to find some way to rid myself of Amsterdam’s finest. Another car gets waved through and our time is certainly running out. By now we had all but surrendered to our fate – our rockstar egos crumbling at a rate of knots. We might be going home.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Owen remembered that when fixing the gearbox of the van, we had to lift off the rubber gaiter at the bottom of the gearstick. In doing so, a hole appears in the floor of the van with direct access to the tarmac below. Boom…This could work.
Trying my hardest to appear inconspicuous, I seize my window of opportunity. Staying upright in my chair, with one hand I start peeling up the gaiter which of course wasn’t playing ball. Time was nearly out though so I just hoped for the best and shoved what I could into where I thought the hole was.
No sooner had I dropped our stash than we were waved through the checkpoint by a smiling French border patrolman with his scary gun. Even the dogs were smiling…We didn’t even get stopped!
About twenty minutes later, and very thankful to be a free man, I decided to check and see if the weed had successfully been dropped through to the road. Indeed it had – but we couldn’t help but think about the next car behind us that got stopped. I really hope they were better equipped to explain the big bag of weed under their vehicle than we were!