Why Brett Eldredge Says a 'Gratitude Journal' Is the Secret to Having the Perfect Vacation
Brett Eldredge has a lot of time on the road to look forward to this year. The country music star will be traveling through 14 cities for the fall leg of his The Long Way Tour, which kicks off Sept. 13 in Denver, Colorado.
But first, he stopped to catch up with Travel + Leisure to talk about everything from the one item he can't forget to pack to his vacation guilty pleasures.
Travel + Leisure: What has life on the road taught you?
Brett Eldredge: "I’ve been touring for eight years, and what I’ve learned a lot is to embrace wherever you are, no matter if it’s where you planned on going or not. There’s always something new for your eyes to see that you’ve never seen before... just enjoy every moment, no matter what place, no matter what scenery. There’s always a new adventure to check out, and that’s what I live for."
Do you have any tips for those who are looking to travel by car or RV?
"I think it’s always good to have a road companion — which is my pup, Edgar — and to travel with friends and good company. I get to travel with my band, obviously, but it’s the same thing with your family, your friends, whoever. It’s all about sharing those experiences with other people.
Also, stop along the way while you’re on your way to your main destination. There’s always little hidden gems on the way to the place you’re going. Those places can be some of the best stories, too."
How do you take a road trip to the next level?
"Sometimes I’ll put a great playlist on. While we were riding in the snow-capped mountains of Montana recently, I put on this amazing playlist that made me feel like I was in a movie, and one of my managers and I were sitting in the bus with my pup Edgar, and we just felt like it was a movie scene."
What do you always bring with you while on tour?
"I always bring tons of active gear. This morning I’ve already been on a hike and now I’m about to go to the gym, and then I talked about possibly going to float in the river here, so I always have to bring a lot of activewear. I’ve got a lot of shorts to go hiking in, biking in, whatever."
What is the one item you always pack for any trip?
"What I’ve really gotten the most into is journaling. I’ve been writing down anything from my experiences to something that’s called The Five-Minute Journal, which is a gratitude journal. I do it every morning and every night and it shows you what to be thankful for and you start your day on a positive note. It asks you questions like, 'What would make the day great?' and I’d write, 'Go on a hike and try to find a view I’ve never seen before,' and you go with that intention in your mind of going to do that. At the end of the day, it asks you, 'What made the day great?,' and you’d write down, 'I danced like a goofball on the streets of Key West,' or 'I met a funny character at a bar wearing a cowboy hat, and he told me all the crazy things that happened in his life and we shared stories over a drink.' It makes you appreciate the little things. I literally freak out if I forget to pack it, because I feel like I just need it and I’m missing out on telling myself a story."
What has been your favorite destination you’ve visited on tour?
"One of my favorite places is the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington, which is unbelievable. It’s literally one of the most picturesque venues, especially for the audience. When you’re on stage, you’re looking at the audience, at thousands of people. But when they’re looking up at you, it’s an incredible backdrop of canyons and a river running through it. It’s breathtaking.
I also love to go to Chicago. I’m getting ready to play Windy City Smokeout in July, and I go up there a lot, because I’m from Illinois. But just going down on Lake Shore Drive and hanging out and seeing the magic that Chicago has in the summertime is almost unparalleled to anything."
How do you make time to actually see the places you're performing in?
"I always love playing in Florida because I love boating. So if I can get a little chance to sneak out and go deep sea fishing during the day before my show, then maybe end it with my last show on a Saturday night, so I can hop on a boat and go to the Bahamas too, that’s cool. I try to maximize and see and spend even more time at these places, so I’ll stay for an extra day at the area and hang out, write some songs on the beach, or I’ll just shut everything off and explore."
Where is your go-to vacation spot when you want a relaxing getaway?
"I’ve got a lot! I just did a feature with you guys on my trip to Europe, the Instagram Story takeover, but I’ve really fallen deep in love with Switzerland. It’s a fairy tale there. It feels so untouched, it feels so magical. There are these little cottages that have been there for hundreds and hundreds of years, and these cows that are walking around in the hills with bells around their necks — and you can hear the bells as they’re walking, and it rings through the mountains. You watch people who are paragliding, and you can see them flying like they’re birds. I went there by myself this time, to just completely shut off. I went on a 20-mile bike ride just to be with myself, and I ended up at this little church on the side of a mountain that overlooked this lake, and it was just this peaceful feeling."
Do you have any indulgences when you’re on vacation?
"I’m a pretty big health freak and so I’m very strict and disciplined when I’m on the road touring, but I’m a foodie also. Seeing a place is really also about the food that they have.
I was just in Germany, and I don’t eat a lot of fried food, but a friend of mine who is from Germany said, “Let’s go to this place, it has some of the best wiener schnitzel.” We had wiener schnitzel and white asparagus, which I’ve never had before, and it was really good. Those kind of things, you’ve gotta live. You want to treat your body well but also try things from a different culture that you wouldn’t normally eat."
Is there one thing you always have to try in a new destination?
"I love coffee and I think finding the best coffee is always a journey of mine. Europe does a lot of coffee really well, so I love to find some awesome coffee shops and just sit outside in the streets and take in the culture. When I was in Amsterdam, I would go to the same coffee shop every morning and the streets there are amazing and everyone rides bikes... you just kind of start your day in a perfect way."
If you were able to take your tour anywhere in the world, where would you go?
"I love islands, so if I could just play on a stage on a beach, or island-hopping in the Bahamas — I love the Bahamas. That’s such a hard question, but I think an island-hopping tour. Maybe the Virgin Islands, or it could be down in Fiji, wherever it is, I just love to play on the beach. There’s something really magical about it. Some islands are really hard to get to, but I don’t care what size the crowd is. As long as I’m playing on the beach, I think I’d be happy."
Why do you think it’s important to show your fans all of your travel experiences on social media?
"I just want to show everyone the magic of traveling, no matter where it is. You can travel an hour outside your town and see something you’ve never seen before, but you just have to allow yourself to do that. A lot about traveling is just going outside of your comfort zone, and going to see something that you normally might not go see. That is such a powerful feeling and that’s why I travel."
If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go?
"That’s a tough question for someone who spends half of his waking hours — and dreaming hours — thinking about where to go on the next adventure. New Zealand, actually. I was watching a Netflix show of the most amazing designed houses, and it’s just all of these beautiful fields and mountains and bodies of water and it seems like that high I get when I go to Switzerland."
Your The Long Way Tour aside, is there anything you’re working on now?
"I’m always writing on the road for future projects, and I’m putting out my new single called 'Love someone,' and it kind of encapsulate the simple feeling of love. It’s a feel-good song, and it’s a good travel song. It’s a summer song — you don’t have to overthink it. I can’t ever stop once I get fueled and inspired through travel — it makes me want to go back to the road, because it re-inspires me to continue to make music, see different places, and tell these stories for people I never met and just share this whole ride together."