Staying sane while touring has been one of the hardest skills for me to acquire. While touring can be incredibly profitable, it can also be incredibly strenuous on your sanity. It’s taken me a few years to work out how to avoid touring burnout – these are my top five tips.
1. Write your packing list at least a week before you tour
A week out from my projected departure date, I take half an hour, a pencil and paper, and write down absolutely everything I need to take with me. If I don’t write it physically, I’m sure to forget it. In my experience, if you try to keep it straight solely in your head, you’ll forget half your items and be stuck with only one high heel for your dinner date!
I separate it into work and personal items. Personal items include my phone, chargers, entertainment, medications, make up, toiletries, and at least one set of comfy clothes. Work items include sponges, two or more full sets of lingerie, tights (always bring extras!), work outerwear for social dates, heels, condoms, lube, etc.
My list gets separated into work and personal items. Work includes any items I use getting ready for bookings, and in the booking itself – makeup, shoes, dinner date dresses, extra sets of lingerie, speaker for music, etc. Personal includes the items I need to keep sane – entertainment, comfy clothes, phones, chargers, etc. Your list will vary.
The reason I make this list a week before I leave is because I know my brain will forget things. As I go through the week leading up to the tour, any item I use in a booking that week, I cross check to make sure it’s on my packing list. Any personal item I have a particular affinity for, I do the same. Giving myself this time is a failsafe for my forgetful brain.
2. Bring a blanket
Home comforts are undervalued. It’s so easy to forget what makes you happy when your mind is solely focused on work and getting through the upcoming trip. A simple polar fleece blanket from home, even in the summer (you never know when the hotel likes to blast aircon!) is a basic creature comfort for me, and it’s so lovely to wrap myself up in something soft at the end of the day.
I’m also a very tactile person, and I enjoy snuggling up to people, so when I’m away from my friends and lovers I bring a small teddy I can snuggle to sleep. I’m sure many would laugh if they saw it, but snuggling activates “feel good” chemicals in my brain, which in turn send me to a deep and pleasant sleep, which means I wake up rested and ready to handle the next day. Your creature comforts may seem silly, but sticking to routine is vital when you’re staying in a brand new place.
3. Don’t schedule more than you can handle
I know the temptation to do back to back bookings all day is strong. You are there to work after all! However, it’s so important to listen to your body and honour its limits. One time I was on a back to back tour, and as soon as I arrived at the second destination, my body simply broke down. I ended up confined to the hotel bed for the whole tour, resting and recovering because I’d pushed myself too hard at the last destination.
Listen to your bodies limits. It’s okay to push them a little bit, but be mindful of how far you’re pushing them. You don’t want to end up like me, stuck sniffling in a hotel bed with aching muscles and sleeping most of the day because I worked past my limits the tour before. Additionally, clients will remember if you turn up to bookings stressed out and tired – it’s a sure fire way to ensure you don’t get repeat business there4.
4. Reach out to workers in that town!
For better or worse, humans are social beings, and escorting is incredibly isolating. Being in a new town, state, or even country means you have the opportunity to connect with new people! I recommend checking who you follow on Twitter and reaching out to peers you admire. Generally speaking, most of them would welcome a coffee or cocktail catch up. You are there to work, but maintaining social connections and networking is vital for your sanity – and helps you professionally in the long run.
Other workers can seem intimidating, particularly when you’ve only seen them through the lens of social media. I promise you, 90% of us will be overjoyed to receive an invitation to connect. When I’m struggling to push past social anxiety, I create a group and ask if we’d like to go for group cocktails or coffee – group social hangouts can be less intense (and also incredibly time efficient!)
Remember: social catch ups don’t have to take the whole day. A couple of hours out with new friends and you’ll be recharged for your next client, as well as maintaining the all -important work/life balance.
5. Schedule a rest and reward
You did it! You got through your two days, or week, or month in a new area, working your ass to the bone and you banked!
Rewarding yourself, acknowledging and thanking your body is so vital to success. Plan a few days off when you get back. Schedule in a massage, or if your finances don’t allow, plan a long bath with a good book. Arrange to catch up with non-work friends! Give yourself a few days to settle back into the “non-work” version of yourself. Thank your body for all the work it did, and celebrate your achievements. It can be easy to devalue the labour of sex work and think of it as easy money, but we all know – this job is hard, both mentally and physically.
Treat yourself. You have definitely earned it.
Now that state borders have opened across Australia, touring is on many workers brain – including mine. I hope these tips will help you keep your sanity intact next time you tour! Feel free to reach out to me and tell me how they worked for you.