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The story of my trip to Africa & Virginia

>> WILL BLACK DISPATCH ISSUE 2 – Online

Good Evening, Planet Earth!

The premier issue of the WILL BLACK DISPATCH (my online fanzine) received a great response and I’m excited to post this 2nd issue with lots of new stuff for everyone to check out. To start – watch the new music video of my summer vacation “Will Black rocks Africa / Virginia / Hog Penny” :

YouTube – Will Black rocks Africa / Virginia / Hog Penny

This past January was the start of my yearly break from performing and the beginning of my 10 week journey traveling abroad. The voyage began on January 10th when I found myself among the scenic, rolling hills of rural Virginia at The Monroe Institute. TMI is not a detox clinic and it’s not a hangout for robe wearing cult members, but is actually a very welcoming and relaxing place to go and explore altered states of human consciousness. My week-long “consciousness camp” was a fantastic experience and the group of people that I spent my time with there were some of the best kind of people I have had the luck to meet. If you are looking for truth and answers in your life, let me suggest spending a week at TMI.

I had never been to Africa before until at the valuable suggestion of my wife Genie, I spontaneously booked a 7 week overland truck tour with Dragoman. So on January 23rd, I landed in Nairobi on a Friday night having never done any backpacking before on a continent I had never been to before – a recipe for adventure, eh? The next 2 weeks were quite memorable and amazing! The parts I remember fondly are camping in several very beautiful locations throughout the African countryside and then arriving in Rwanda and making our mountain ascent to view the mountain gorillas up close. I held no expectations about what I would experience and feel during this trip, but I was very surprised by how vivid and real my encounter with the gorilla family group was. Surreal to say the least! After we made it back to Nairobi, I joined up with a larger group of Dragoman travelers to begin the 2nd leg of my overland trek. This time we went south into Tanzania and camped for 3 days in the legendary Serengeti. That was a dusty and dirty endeavor, but a lot of fun! It’s the true African experience when you are out in the middle of the savannah rumbling around in the back of a 4×4 LandRover on the lookout for lions and elephants.

At the end of the Tanzania leg of the overland trek we all ended up on the island of Zanzibar. At this point I had spent 4 weeks living out of a bouncy, crowded overland truck and I was ready to move on to something different. I said goodbye to the rest of the Dragoman team and cut my trip with them short by about a month. Why? Part of the reason that I had wanted to travel was to conjuer up some inspiration to write new songs and I was finding what I needed on Zanzibar, so I decided to stay behind. I ended up spending over a week at Nungwi and Kendwa Beaches writing and chilling with some of my new traveling companions. Zanzibar is a paradise and was a welcome change to the dust and constant travel I had been through on the mainland. So with my airfare re-booked to fly out of Cape Town I flew down to South Africa to enjoy the final 2 weeks of my stay on the continent.

Let me state to the world that Cape Town is one of THE most beautiful cities I have been to. Vancouver and Victoria are pretty darn nice (having used to live there), but Cape Town has this “Shangri-la at the edge of the world” quality to it that sets it apart. The weather was hot and perfect, and I had decided to stay at a small hotel right in the heart of the city on Kloofstreet. I could go out from my hotel and turn left and head all the way up Table Mountain or turn right and walk right down to Long St. and all the bars and nightlife. Great location! I ended up doing an open mic at Zula Bar, hitting the world famous vineyards outside of town and making it down to Cape Point to stand at one of the southernmost points of Africa itself. But the most important part was that I started songwriting again and got a lot of ideas worked out just spending afternoons alone in my hotel room. I hope to one day make it back to Cape Town to visit the city and the friends I made there. (I also enjoyed my first St. Paddy’s Day in New York City with the Brothers Fullen and it was a Guiness-induced drunken affair that I experienced in proper Irish style!)

My first true vacation in over a decade was as an experience for the better. I came home to Bermuda with a fresh new perspective on my relationships, my reality and my music career.

I totally suggest checking out Dragoman for any overland adventures you are considering. Top notch company! www.dragoman.com

As of April 1st I am back to performing on a nightly basis at Hog Penny Pub in Hamilton, Bermuda. I am now into my 5th season playing here and I’m still rocking and enjoying the show. Karen O’Brien will be making a few more appearances at Irish Jam Night before she departs the island to return to the sunny UK. Thank you Karen, for an awesome 4 year run – your viola and fiddle will be missed! Check out photos from the show at Hog Penny and the African trip here:

Facebook Photos

There are 2 new musical projects that I am currently working on for this year. The first is a “Live at Hog Penny” album which I hope to be releasing in the fall. It will be an acoustic record with tracks from “Dancing With The Dead”, covers and some brand new songs I have written. I am also in the process of setting up some shows in the Toronto area hopefully starting in August. This is still in the early stages so I can’t confirm any dates or venues yet, but I will definitely be returning to Toronto soon to play some shows there. I will have more information in the next issue of DISPATCH.

I appreciate your support and thanks for listening!

Rock on,

Will

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