Something From Nothing
I’ve been working in tourism for years. Before I ran weed tours, I ran wine tours to the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. Before that I worked as a San Francisco tour guide on the double decker buses of Big Bus, and City Sightseeing.
But long before I was showing tourists the sights of San Francisco, the giant redwoods, wine country, or cannabis country – for my entire life, really, I’ve been an artist.
The stereotype of the starving artist is a stereotype for a reason. Vincent Van Gogh, whose paintings today sell for billions, famously died penniless. Most artists struggle to make ends meet.
Many years ago, when I was in my twenties, my mom flew me home for Christmas. I was stressing over my poor financial state, and lost in my own world when a sweet little old lady sat down in the seat next to me. She was well dressed, but what caught my eye was her earrings. They were made of those S shaped packing peanuts that had been painted silver. I asked her about them, and she told me that she made them. She turned out to be a 96 year old artist. We had a lovely conversation over the course of the 5 hour flight. She must have intuitively known what I was going through. After the plane landed, as she got up to leave, she turned back to me and the last thing she said was, “You know, you never have to worry about being poor. We’re artists. We make something from nothing. That’s our nature.”
Flash forward to March 2020.
2020 was shaping up to be a banner year for weed tourism. We had been in business for two years, and our reputation was starting to proceed us. The 5 star reviews were stacking up on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews. We were looking forward to 4/20 being an entire month long, and the actual day was already booked. The phones were ringing, dates were filling up on our booking calendar, and things were looking phenomenal.
You know what happened next.
The pandemic hit everyone hard all across the world, but, arguably, it hit no one harder than it hit the tourism industry. We were the first industry to be hit, and we’re likely to be the last to recover. In an instant we went from the promise of making our fortune, to making nothing – absolutely nothing.
I won’t lie. March was very dark for me. I felt the pain of the rug being pulled out from under me, and I fell into a dark depression. Not only was my source of income gone, but so was my purpose. Part of what we do, besides showing tourists around the pot farms in California’s Emerald Triangle, is to counter all the anti marijuana propaganda with the actual history of cannabis, and to de-stigmatize this therapeutic plant and the good cannabis farmers who grow it.
I realized that if I was going to pull myself out of this depression I needed to get my purpose back, but how? I was stuck at home, and I had no resources, but I remembered the words of my seatmate from so many years ago, “We’re artists. We make something from nothing. That’s our nature.”
I realized I had my cellphone and the internet. So I found a free video editing app called Vlogit, and proceeded to create a cannabis history series for our YouTube channel.
As of today, we are 39 episodes in, and tomorrow I begin writing episode 40. I can’t tell you what giving myself a project that fulfills part of our purpose, and has a weekly deadline has done for my sanity.
So, if the pandemic is wearing on you, I encourage you to find something you can create, or if you just want to escape for a bit, we have plenty to watch on our YouTube Channel, whether it’s the latest installment of 60 Seconds of Cannabis History, a virtual tour of an Emerald Triangle Cannabis Farm, or just some silly weed jokes. Hang in there, friends. We’ll make it through this.
Before you know it we’ll be taking you on tours of cannabis country once again.