Estero Fine Arts Show - First show of 2020!

Estero....My first show of 2020 AND my very first show out of state! I traveled all the way from Iowa to Florida for this show and wow it was a learning experience!

This trip had me pretty nervous for quite a while before I actually left. Traveling so far for a show is a big step! But one thing that had me excited was that I had friends and family all along the route, so I was able to stay with them during the trip. It worked out great!

The drive is over 22 hours. I split it into 2 days and drove all the way to Nashville on my first day! Getting to visit one of my best friends was definitely a highlight of the trip. Then the next day it was time to get back on to the road and on to Tampa!

It rained for over 5 hours of the drive, but I still enjoyed my first time driving through the mountains. In Tampa was family and a hot meal, plus a surprise! The show was actually in Fort Myers, which is a couple hours away from my family's house. They gifted me with a hotel room less than 10 minutes from the show! This ended up being even more of an awesome gift, but more on that in a bit.

Friday dawned and it was time to drive to Fort Myers and get set up! It was HOT (at least it felt that way coming from Iowa haha) and it took me a while to get everything set up. I took a few extra breaks, thinking the heat was getting to me. Little did I know that it was worse than that....(though it took me another full day to realize it) But I headed back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the day.

Show started bright and early Saturday and I was excited, if feeling a little run down. First part of the day was a little slow, but it picked up and I got to meet so many new people. Including a few from Iowa! It was a lot of fun and the artist next to me had some GORGEOUS work.

Then the rain came. And everyone left.

We actually ended up having to shut the show down for the day only halfway through! It was quite a surprise to me, since in Iowa it seems to take a tornado to actually shut anything down haha.

But I went back to the hotel room and it was then that I started suspecting it was more than just the travel getting me down. I was sick. In Florida. During a show.

Yeah, that was not fun. But it made me even more thankful to have a hotel room nearby!

But I pushed through Sunday and even made a couple really pretty pieces of jewelry while I sat there! Sunday was slower than I had hoped, but still decent. And thankfully wasn't so hot! The day finished off and I was SO ready to get torn down and back to Tampa and a bed.

This is one of the times that I really love the artist community. Even being out of state and away from all the artists I know, I ended up getting help during my tear down when another artist saw I wasn't feeling well! He stopped loading up his own stuff and came over to help me instead. It really shows how much this community takes care of each other.

And he told me about a show he did BEFORE I WAS BORN that he was sick during and needed help too. Talking to artists who have been doing shows for so long is always a treat and this time was too, even though I wasn't feeling great.

The drive back ended up taking 3 days instead of 2, given how sick I got during the drive back. But thankfully, family saves the day again! First it was to Tampa for the night, where my aunt and uncle fed me delicious homemade soup. Then it was on to Nashville (which was a horrible drive) and proceeded to sleep for 12 hours. Then it was on to St. Louis, where my wonderful aunt and uncle put me up for the night on super short notice (and had super cute pups for me to pet!). By the time I got home the next day, I was finally starting to feel like I was on the mend.

All in all, this show taught me a lot. I definitely want more than 1 show lined up if I'm driving more than 1 day. Being rained out for half of Saturday hurt, sales-wise, and it would have been good to have another show lined up to help with all the expenses!

And always take meds, even if I don't think I will need them haha. It's not like I can just pass on a show if I'm not feeling well, especially so far from home!

From a business standpoint - the show wasn't great for me. I did manage to make back my expenses plus a little, but mostly I'm counting it as a good learning experience for my future travels.

But now I'm back home (for a couple weeks now) and mostly better. And still excited to do more out of state shows! My next one won't be for at least a few months, but once summer hits it's gonna get crazy!

I'm planning on doing more blog posts about my shows and travels this year and I hope you will enjoy them! Hopefully most of them don't include me being sick and on the road, but that is the life of a traveling artist sometimes!

(And, if you join me over on Patreon, you can see all the behind the scenes as they happen! I shared videos and pictures during my entire trip!)