Busking to Travel: June Caravel’s Busking in Australia

  Busking is an idea that I have entertained at various (mostly broke) periods of my life, when ways of making money have had to become more and more creative.  I have never actually braved the streets with my guitar however (apart from one Christmas Carol session whilst raising money for a school sports tour). I live in a city where a busking permit is not required and throughout the year many people set up on the street corners and sing and/or play their instruments in the hope of some reward. The quality of music ranges vastly therefore, from the almost unrecognisable tunes emanating from penny whistles to the downright astounding musicians wielding electric violins, saxophones, guitars and sometimes just a voice. It has never struck me as the most lucrative or stable way of making money, however, some people are determined and talented enough to make it work. image from http://moniquewiendels.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/busking-for-change.html
image from http://moniquewiendels.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/busking-for-change.html

   June Caravel is a great example of one of these people. In June 2012 the French singer, flew to Sydney armed with little more than a microphone, loop pedal and a return ticket to Paris. She had set herself a difficult challenge; to navigate Australia in two months using only the money she earned from busking to eat, drink, sleep and travel. She sings a Capella with a loop pedal to produce her own beat and backing. Check out her music here.


There are nine mini episodes documenting June’s trip which can be found here. The mini-series documents the many highs and lows of busking. June works out that she will need to earn approximately $25 per day and begins the trip by only earning $10; barely enough to eat, never mind travel. Someone who had agreed to host her in Melbourne could not in the end and she is constantly chased away from prime busking spots. Even rain proves a tricky obstacle at one point. During one particularly low moment she declares that ‘the busking life is too much’ for her. However, June had the determination to keep going and returns to Paris in one piece after having an amazing experience and meeting some equally amazing people.

The thing that struck me most about her trip was its almost complete reliance on the kindness of strangers. It is a very brave thing to do, to set off for another country with the resolution that you will only spend money that is given to you for performing in the street. Her accommodation question was answered in many places by couchsurfing, a prime example of this kindness. The fact that June Caravel’s trip was possible gives me heart and the fact that she dared do it inspires me.