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How I funded My Rage My Love My Life

Updated: Feb 13, 2019

I know what most people are thinking when they read about my Green Day adventures. If I’m apparently a poor student, then how the hell did I pay for it? I do of course get asked this all the time and I’ve finally written a detailed answer, featuring a full breakdown of what a seven month all-pasta diet actually costs.

The travel: I didn’t pay as much as you think I did

I paid £43 ($56) for my last transatlantic flight and £99 ($130) for the one before. Yeah, I didn’t believe me about the £43 one, either.

Transatlantic flight for £43
Fare is for two people, so £43 each

I obviously had to get from Providence to where I wanted to be, which made for a long journey (Nottingham – London – Belfast – Providence – Boston – Dallas – Austin) but seriously, if I can get onto the continent for £99 I don’t care. My Megabus from Dallas to Austin was also $1. Every time I hated myself for booking the most ridiculous route possible, I just had to remind myself that bus was taking me nearly 200 miles for the same price as a jar of pasta.

All over the world, there are loads of budget airlines now and if you check Skyscanner and Kayak often enough, you’ll find great deals on better airlines. On the ground there’s bus travel – Megabus, Greyhound, Flixbus, Eurolines, etc – and as with flights, if you keep checking train tickets you can get some great deals.

I’ve spent days with countless tabs open and papers all over my bed working out the cheapest routes. It’s no fun and I’m not riding to these shows in luxury – I’ve spent almost 200 hours on buses on this tour alone – but it allows me to do it.

Accommodation: I didn’t pay as much as you think I did for that, either

Sometimes I was able to avoid accommodation altogether. In those cases, I slept outside the venue before the shows, or spend the nights after in transit, in bus stations, airports, etc.

Green Day fans in Lucca, Italy
My bed in Lucca, Italy

I usually travel with my mum who needs accommodation because she’s disabled (and for the record, I never want to be an ableist asshole making others feel bad for needing accommodation). It still doesn’t have to be expensive. In Europe there are countless hostels and B&Bs. In the US there are motels everywhere. There’s also Airbnb all over the world. Finding the right price might require commitment sometimes, but it’s worth it in the end. I’ve had a few questionable experiences, of course, but at least I know I didn’t pay much for that weird surf shack.

Case in point: I stayed in Tijuana for a show in Chula Vista for £15. OK, I don’t recommend that unless you enjoy getting stuck at borders, but it worked out and it saved me so much money.

Other expenses: I got used to walking and, uh, not eating

Both my mum and I never end up eating much when we travel (partially on purpose, partially because food – especially vegetarian food – can be hard to come by in these places) and what I do eat is often really, really bad. I’m lactose intolerant, generally have a sensitive stomach and most things cheap and available on tour have dairy in them. But hey, if a lot of time spent in portaloos and gas station toilets gets me to the shows, that’s a fair deal.

Whenever I can, I walk so I don’t have to pay for public transport or taxis. There’s no need to get an Uber to that venue five miles away if my legs are up for the challenge.

Champaign, Illinois at night
I dragged my mum’s suitcase through several miles of this because I didn’t want to pay for an Uber. I quite enjoyed that walk, actually.

Saving money: featuring a full breakdown of what a seven-month all-pasta diet actually costs

I could never have travelled anywhere without pasta.

One bag of Asda Smart Price pasta is 25p (33¢) and makes 4-5 meals. Add a jar of pasta sauce for 75p (99¢), which I can also get 4-5 meals out of, and this comes to approx. 21p (28¢) per meal.

I literally ate almost nothing but this for at least 6-8 months leading up to and during the Revolution Radio tour. So assuming I ate two meals a day (which I’m not sure I really did), that makes the approximate cost of main meals over seven months a grand total of £44.10 ($58). Let’s say £50 ($66) to include the few times I bought a loaf of bread and Vitalite, rice or a pizza.

There was no cost for fluid, because I drank only tap water or the free stuff in the Photography Centre. I’m £27,000 in debt for that privilege after all, and I wasn’t missing the opportunity to drink water that didn’t taste like Cornwall had taken a collective piss in it. I didn’t buy a single alcoholic drink in the entire time I was at university. Not just because I’m a boring hermit, but because that stuff is expensive.

I did buy quite a bit of chocolate, after I’d eaten the entire tin of hot chocolate powder in the cupboard. Something had to distract me from the mouth-watering taste of Asda Smart Price. I have no idea how much I actually spent on this on a monthly basis, so let’s take an exaggerated guess that with the absence of Home Bargains in Falmouth, I spent £100 ($131) on food in those seven months.

Believe it or not, before this I was very healthy, loved cooking and was actually good at it. Still, I regret nothing.

If you’re thinking ‘fuck off, that would make me ill’ then you’re totally right. It did make me ill. I felt sick and dizzy all the time, had unsavoury activity in my digestive system and struggled to eat at all for a few months after I stopped. I am most definitely not recommending an all-pasta diet, just sayin’ it was not a trust fund that sent me to Green Day but durum wheat.

Saving money: so, other than pasta, there were my mouldy glasses and that really bad winter with no heating

Since the 99 Revolutions Tour ended in 2013, I’ve hardly bought anything I didn’t absolutely need. My biggest expense has been photography props, because OK, my career matters as much as Green Day. I probably spent £30 ($40) on my collection of snazzy leggings that I got from Chinese eBay sellers. Otherwise, yes, I know I was wearing these clothes three years ago. Those blisters on my hands are from going without heating all winter. No, I don’t care that there’s a hole in my boots. Yes, I do know I need to learn to drive.

Chilblains in winter
Yes, I’m completely serious about the winter with no heating. It was -13°C at points and my mum and I never switched it on, so we could save for the 99 Revolutions Tour. This was what it did to my feet.

When I got knocked out by a stage diver at the Pittsburgh show in 2013, it bent my glasses way out of shape. I’d already needed new glasses for about three years before this – they were going green where the pads had fallen off and my eyesight was getting worse – but I bent them back as best as I could and continued wearing them for another two years. My eyesight is generally really, really bad and I don’t think this helped. But hey, when I’m on my deathbed I won’t say ‘damn, I wish I’d got new glasses in 2013,’ I’ll say ‘damn, I’m glad I went to that Green Day show in Green Bay, Wisconsin.’

Now, I will admit I buy sharks whenever I see them on tour, because I like sharks and they deserve to see Green Day, too. But I once ate a panini that fell on the floor of Birmingham Bus Station and I think that makes up for the money I’ve spent on sharks.

So, sorry to disappoint anyone planning a Facebook status about trust fund babies, but I’m not actually rich, like, at all

Of course, this was all possible because I’m young, physically able and lucky enough to live in a stable country with cheap flights, good job opportunities and the ability to sell on eBay. I know there are people who just can’t afford the time off or can’t take these risks because they have a family – or whatever other reason, it’s still valid. My choices don’t make me a bigger fan or more special to the band. I never want to make less privileged fans feel bad for being unable to do this.

There are also people who just wouldn’t consider these sacrifices worthwhile, and that’s fine too. It’s not normal behaviour. I know that. The point isn’t to complain about the sacrifices I’ve made or to wallow in any way. I do it all fully aware of the consequences.

The point is that my stupidity is amusing and I just wanted to share the pasta breakdown, but no, seriously, it’s for these people to understand that I’m not just ‘lucky.’ The money hasn’t been handed to me in a golden case. Let’s be real, if I had a trust fund I’d go to every show. There’s no need to faux-marvel at how rich I must be, or for that passive-aggressive status about the kids with daddy’s cards (for the record, my dad has contributed a whopping £50 to my entire existence).

One of my first year flatmates once told me I’d become a piece of pasta soon and I wasn’t even on the full pasta diet then. ‘Piece of pasta’ is a much appropriate term for me than ‘trust fund baby.’

A heartbreaking, yet essential revision: since writing this I have discovered that Asda Smart Price Pasta Shapes are now 32p. Don’t cry – the spaghetti is still 25p.

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