73. Ten reasons I’m looking forward to doing the Roadtrip larp this summer

I’m writing this while chilling in a minibus outside an American shopping mall. Def Leppard is playing on the car radio, and soon we’re going to a Walmart Supercenter. I just took a 360 lookaround and was genuinely surprised that I didn’t see an American flag. My brother just spontaneously exclaimed “This is a pretty American experience”.

And it got me thinking about why I’m extremely psyched about our larp this summer.

It’s America at its most Americana. Endless miles of road, weird out-in-the-boonies small towns, motels and rock’n’roll music. I never thought I’d get to do that, but now it’s finally happening.

It’s a rock band on tour. Sure, there are game mechanics in place to make sure everything flows (reasonably) smoothly, but I’m pretty sure ther’ll be chaos as well. And unlike reality (where chaos isn’t something to strive for), here it’s ok if things get a little wild. We’re not going to cause real problems, but a bit of madness is to expected. And I look forward to that.

Many larps have very little in the way of music/soundtrack. Here, I expect we’ll have music almost all the time. On the road. In bars. At roadside cafes. Blasting from speakers at concerts. Loud, wild and free. Hell, yeah!

I’ve done incrowd larping. Not like this. I’ve travelled during larps. Not even remotely like this. And while I’ve organised some pretty crazy stuff, this takes the prize. As almost any creative will say, the challenge and the newness is part of the appeal. It certainly is for me.

We have our own photo/video crew of three with us. We’ll also be joined by real life journalists. On top of that, our players will be armed with smartphones and we’ll be doing our best to blow up instagram. It’s one of those larps where the cameras don’t subtract from the larp, but add to it, as they exist in the fiction. I love that, and I can’t wait to see the insane amounts of good photos and footage we’ll get from this.

Fake personalities. Real dysfunction. The show must go on. One of the game rules that I’m most fond of is the one saying that no matter what happens, everyone gets into the cars at the appointed time, and drives on. This (offgame) agreement that no conflict is so big that it stops the tour is something I find fascinating. The ability to just park a fight and get on with it intrigues me. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

I don’t know what we’re going to experience. I don’t know if there’ll be skinny-dipping in picturesque lakes, stopping by a farmer’s market and playing an impromptu concert from the back of a van or sitting by a campfire, watching the stars and sharing in-character stories. I sure hope so, though. It’s just as bound to be filled with larger-than-life moments as any other larp, and here it’s extremely relateable. Hopefully!

This isn’t the first road trip larp. But unless I’m mistaken, it’s the most ambitious one to date. If there have been larps with a price tag of over 1,000$ before, I haven’t heard of them. They’ve probably been done, but aren’t exactly common. Granted, as several have remarked “Huh. That’s cheaper than I could do it for!”, but it’s still quite a bit of money. Breaking that barrier feels meaningful.

There are plenty of larpers who can’t make it for the full trip, but who want to join in somehow. As audiences for concerts. As old flames playing via phone and internet. As characters whose part in the story of the band is of the in-and-out category. I look forward to meeting these people and to hear what this “partial participation” experience feels like, afterwards.

Seriously. Chicago to Santa Monica. One week. It’s not just going to be magical. It’s also going to be mad. And I can’t wait to experience it. As the AC/DC song says:

It’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock’n’roll!

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Director at The College of Extraordinary Experiences, Coach at McKinsey & Founding Partner at The Global Institute For Thought Leadership. Author of 31 books.

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