Day 13: Rochester‚ JFK‚ London

And then it was all but over. We awoke at a more reasonable, yet still early hour to get ready for the long trip back to JFK and then home. Juli and Andy once more excelled as hosts, providing us with a lovely breakfast while we ran around hoping to leave as few belongings as possible in the States. With Shirley and Hank packed full, we said some emotional goodbyes to our AMAZING host families.

–At this point, I‚Äôd just like to thank anyone and everyone that put us up while we were on tour; without you, it simply would not have been possible, and you really made the tour for us. It goes without saying that if any of you are ever in London, we will return the favour with spare beds/sofas/chairs/floors and a good night to go with it.–

The driving rain outside the cars seemed to reflect the mood of the tourists as we headed back south towards NYC; this was reflected by the fact that I was able to sleep in the back of Hank without being shaken awake by the bass from the sub that joins 2 passengers in the back seats. Stopping only twice and briefly (for some more artery clogging Wendy’s and for snacks in a dodgy Redneck service station), we made good time and were saying our goodbyes to empty and clean versions of Shirley and Hank at the rent-a-car drop off area.

We reached the terminal and checked in without major incident, and reflected on the amazing week-and-a-half we’d had whilst enjoying our last hours in America. We were readily preparing ourselves for a 9pm flight (eat loads at 8pm ready for the sugar low to carry you through the flight appeared to be the best plan), only for the flight to be delayed continually until it eventually left at 1:30 am. This resulted in a fairly productive evening: amongst other things, we used the few minutes of leftover camera battery we had to shoot a low-budget music video for ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ in the airport (at time of writing, this is nearly edited and will hit the internet soon after) and we also allocated tour awards (sadly this was not deemed publishable, but some cleaner highlights included the ‘Dela-where? Award’ (see day 4/5), the ‘trying-to-get-into-Canada-without-a-passport Award’ (see day 12) amongst others).

Finally, the plane returned from maintenance and we were on our way home. Enjoying a shallow, broken sleep punctuated by average aeroplane food and laughing at Zain’s salivary malfunctions, the flight went by in no time, and before we knew it we were touched down at LHR. This was a very sad moment for us, as this meant that several of our tour party were leaving us: Niall Smith and Ayman Osman our returning alumni, amazing soloist David Verhoeven, former MD Zain Khawaja and group founder Eugene Chang. We will miss them all so much, and the continuing group owes so much to them. I’m sure they will keep in contact, and I’ll hopefully be able to go on at least one more TTs tour with some of them at least.

This concludes our written online documentation of our tour. We’ve certainly learned the dedication and organisation it takes to run thorough social media coverage (though you can barely call our coverage thorough at times). We have grown so much on this tour, and we will do our best to continue our growth into next year and beyond. I’d also like to take the chance to wish incoming musical director Mike Ronan all the best, and to thank everyone for putting up with me over the last year.

Lots and lots of TTs love,

James Hayward

Outgoing MD and blog editor

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