I like flying. I like the bustle of airports, the rhythm of takeoffs and landings viewed from the terminal, the beautiful shapes and designs of planes old and new. I can’t suppress my smile during the up-up-and-away sensation of liftoff, and the dinging and humming and whirring of those marvelous machines is music to my ears (usually).
On the other hand, I generally dislike time behind the windshield. The opportunity cost of a 6-hour drive is not lost on me. But there’s something to be said for letting problems work themselves out in the back of your brain while you navigate small towns and long stretches of nothingness.
Plus, there’s the sights.
Mundane sights. Like people on their porches watching the cars go by. Or kudzu-draped barns that teeter on the verge of collapse. Or cows, and more cows.
Quirky sights. Like the 20-foot chrome horse outside an Alabama strip club. Or the fighter jet half-hidden in the woods off I-55 near Jackson, MS. Or the tantalizing offerings of “chainsaw art” in rural Tennessee.
Heartwarming sights. Like the towns that rally around sick residents with “Pray For…” signs outside every business. Or the restaurant that tapes a note to the door to warn customers it will be closed Sunday… because “our daughter’s getting married!”
The sights… that’s what I like about road trips. They are glimpses into different worlds, things I would never have seen from 30,000 feet.
Is this a touching lesson on how we all need to travel someone else’s road to truly understand them? Nah. It’s a warning to marketing managers cruising comfortably at 30,000 feet behind their desks, gazing down at their customers through the window of shopper data and research studies.
Go on a road trip. You’ll benefit from the new perspective.