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Talking Travel (And Their New Single) With Husband-Wife Duo, The Bergamont

It’s Valentine’s Day and The Bergamot just released their new single, Periscope, a perfect love song for the day. The Bergamot is an amazing American indie-folk-rock band, consisting of the husband and wife team, Nathaniel Hoff and Jillian Speece. Not only are they great musicians but are constantly traveling on tour as their relationship continues stong so we thought we might learn a thing to two from them.

We met Jillian & Nathan on a trip to NYC several years ago when we rented a room in their Brooklyn home through Airbnb over New Year’s Eve.  On the last night we were in NYC, they kicked off the Unity Collective Tour with a show in Manhattan. From there they visited all 50 states sharing and collecting messages of unity via their car where strangers were able to write their own message of love and unity. The Unity Car was later auctioned off for charity.  Their experiences on tour inspired their upcoming album, Mayflies.

Dan: Congratulations on your new single Periscope! I understand that the new album was written while on the Unity Collective Tour.  How was Periscope inspired during that experience? 

Thank you so much for the great introduction!!! Wow, where do I begin… it feels so so so good to have our new single “Periscope” out in the world.  
“Periscope” was born out on the road during one of the craziest tours of our entire life. It was written at the halfway point of The Unity Collective 50 state tour.

To give you some preface we created The Unity Collective tour and it took place during the elections of 2016 to show America that we are more united than divided through music, community, and collaboration. Our goal was to tour to all 50 states playing over 250 shows and after each show, we invited everyone to sign their message of unity and peace on our station wagon (aka the unity car.)

So if you can imagine it was quite the life-changing tour and at the halfway point husband Nathaniel gifted me Periscope.  And, boy oh boy it was much needed as this halfway point felt like we were on a hike up a mountain and when you stop to look around you realize your exhausted and thirsty and hungry and your foot hurts and then you look up and realize you’re only halfway there…  and then you’re totally feeling defeated.

Well… that was where we were at emotionally on the tour. You see, we were running out of money, felt physically and mentally exhausted from the hustling, constant uncertainty, live performances, random sleeping arrangements and emotional intensity of doing a Unity tour during the 2016 elections. 

This was is the environment Periscope was born out of and it was such a beautiful gift from my husband Nathaniel because in his own quiet way he was saying, Jillian, I love you, I am here for you, we’re in this together, hold my hand I’ll protect you as we keep going. 

And he did just that. We finished the 50 state tour, auctioned the unity car off for charity and went on to successfully crowdfund our album on Kickstarter, record/produce Periscope and our entire new record in London with our dream producer (Matt Wiggins of Glass Animals, London Grammar, Adele.)

Dan: Wow, that’s amazing and is one more example of how it’s the hard times that bring us together. When it comes to your work, what are some of the parts that bring you together the most? 

Oh I would say, songwriting, performing and recording bring us together the most. These creative elements bring us together because in each of their own ways they are very vulnerable and necessary aspects of being an artist.

Creating together fills us up and just as much as we love creating together we work together on business-related items all the time. Of course, sometimes this drains us because running an independent record label is quite overwhelming but we’re very blessed because as much as the business side of things drain us creating beautiful things together fill us up even more so. 

Over the years we realized we both have distinct talents and abilities that are unique to who we are. This realization is super important because often times one person’s strength is the other person’s weakness and this knowledge allowed us to build each other up and pick up the slack where the other person might be struggling. This exercise builds empathy has brought us together and helps us understand our differences so we can connect more deeply with each other.

Dan: I think empathy really is one of the most crucial part of a solid relationship.

So our site isn’t just about honeymoons, but about how to travel in a way that is always bringing you together.  Do you have any rituals or habits you practice on the road that help bring you together? 

We have been based out of Brooklyn, New York for the last four and a half years but the last two years we have been pretty much 100% nomadic because of our touring schedule. So I would say the number one thing that brings us together is our morning coffee – tea time ritual.  Every single morning Nathaniel gets up first he goes and he heats up the water and while he’s doing that I meditate for a few minutes, say my a.m. prayers, then I make the bed and meet him for our morning ritual of coffee – teatime. 

We set aside the first 45 minutes to an hour to connect and communicate on our feelings/headspace and what we have ahead of us for the day/week. This morning ritual of gratitude and planning grounds us and is one of the most important things we do together on the daily. Early on we were fortunate to realize communication is number one in strengthening our relationship and traveling through life together.  

Dan: That sounds like a great practice to start your day off right. Not only does it sound relaxing and a great way to wake up, but communication can be an easy weakness in a relationship and this eliminates that problem.

Are there any other things you do on the road to stay grounded and make the adventure something that brings you together?

Well… we definitely have rituals like our morning coffee and teatime and other than that we check in with each other a lot. We’re always asking each other how they are doing and try to be considerate and kind by offering each other water or bringing the other person snacks or listening to podcasts or music together. 

Also, we don’t listen to a lot of news as living on the road is hard enough with the uncertainty so we focus a lot on positive things, positive people, podcasts and uplifting music. We are both spiritual beings who believe in God and that is the foundation of everything we are and I think this is very important and grounding. 

Dan: I think we could all do with less daily news in our lives.

Also, it’s possible we’re one of the only millennial couples who share a cell phone together (as in we have one phone between the two of us)
I actually think that grounds us too because we both had to learn how to share… and sharing can be difficult especially when it’s a cell phone you both rely on for information. Through sharing the cell phone we learned to share with each other and I believe that has created a lot of trust.  

Dan: A lot of the success of a trip depends on the planning.  Do you have any tips on how to prepare for a trip to make it go as smoothly as possible?

Our favorite travel mottos are “We’ll figure it out”… mostly because if you go into situations with a can-do attitude and you can typically figure your way out of anything. Traveling has so much uncertainty attached with it so it’s always helpful to have a positive can-do attitude of we’ll figure it out. This motto helps us not panic as we know based off of our previous experiences that we always figure it out and then if things aren’t going your way you can just laugh. 

Our second favorite travel motto is… “Happiness = expectations minus reality.”

Essentially we try to keep our expectations extremely low because we realized when you have lower expectations you’re grateful for a situation that pans out better than you anticipated it.  So we keep our expectations in check and that seems to help a lot with our overall happiness level because if you’re constantly having high expectations and they’re not being met then you’re going to be unhappy. 

So the trick is to keep your expectations lower and always stay positive… often times the situation will be way better than you expected and you’ll be happy. 

Dan: What can we expect from The Bergamont next after your single?

Oh, love this question. Well, you can expect to see a lot more music, singles, tours and our first ever documentary called “State of the Unity” and it’s on The Unity Collective 50 state journey!!!! You can expect the full album to drop by late summer and the doc to drop early fall 2019.

Dan: That’s awesome, as a Kickstarter backer, I am already enjoying Mayflies, and am excited to see the documentary when it comes out!

8 Travel Tips For Couples From the Bergamont

  1. Always pack tons of snacks. On the road, the only times we would get into little nitpicking arguments was when we were hangry. The best way to remedy this is to pack carrot sticks, hummus, kind bars, walnuts, apples, and any other fruits you love.
  2. You can sleep almost anywhere if you have your own pillow.
  3. When you travel as much as we do we have doubles of everything so we have a traveling shampoo and conditioner and then our home conditioner and shampoo that we just keep at the house. It makes a lot easier when you have doubles of everything that you love.
  4. Always kiss each other good night.
  5. Never go to bed angry and always be willing to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake and apologize 
  6. No matter where we are in the world we always look for a great coffee roaster/café because when you find a good one you most likely will also find a cool part of town and all the locals typically hang at these types of cafes so you can ask them where to all the cool stores and delicious eateries are at. 
  7. Create a memorable playlist on Spotify that you will listen to on your trip and then when you’re off the trip and back home you can listen to it and it will bring back all of those wonderful memories. And while you’re at making that honeymoon playlist definitely add “Periscope by The Bergamot” to it, you wont regret it.
  8. to round it off you can plan all day long but some of the most fun experiences we have ever had have been on a whim and we’re 100% spontaneous so definitely save room for spontaneity.

-Shine ON from LA,Jillian & Nathaniel 

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