I’m sitting in Northtown Coffee house in Yakima, Washington while the window in my car is getting repaired. This place is amazing, gorgeous, and everything here is delicious. The crowd here varies in age from two to a hundred. There are study groups, a solo writer, two businessmen (in camo jackets), and a couple catching up on the people on their neighborhood. The smell of coffee and warm sugar fills the enormous room, and I think, this is exactly the kind of place you miss out on when you fly.
I have a thing for small-town diners and unique coffee houses. Something about sipping a cup of joe at the counter with a piece of pie… Maybe I watched to much Twin Peaks and Supernatural as a kid 😉 Much like the local tavern, you can get a feel for a town just by grabbing a seat and observing a little.
Ever since 9/11 I really haven’t been a fan of flying. It’s not the imagery or fear or anything. It’s just become a pain. You have to get there two hours early, you can’t pack anything unless it fits in a thimble, the flights are overcrowded and if they aren’t they get cancelled. My general rule of thumb is if I can get there in under 12 hours, than flying just isn’t worth it. And depending on the duration of the trip that benchmark could easily stretch to 16-20.
Usually comments like this are met with raised eyebrows and replies of insanity. But it’s not just about packing convenience or travel time. It’s the anxiety of missing everything along the way. It’s looking out the airplane window and wondering, “what’s it like down there?”
There’s a Jason Aldean song called “Fly Over States” about a couple guys flying first class from New York to Los Angeles and wondering why anyone would ever live in the states below them. What do they even do there? And the song goes on to list the amazing things you’d see and experience of just meeting the people and being present. I love this song.
What is the point of travel if not to get out of your element, experience new places, meet new people or cultures? It’s hard to do that on a flight half-filled with people doing the same thing you are…
For me it’s the experiences and the witnessing of others everyday lives that brings pleasure to travel.
[Also, side-note I’m a massive control freak when it comes to driving and I hate the feeling of putting fate in a pilots hands]
Flying may get you there faster, but at what cost? How many Northtown Coffee Houses are you missing? How many farmers markets, small town fairs, landmarks, or life changing experiences? If you are an airplane addict, I understand, it’s fast, it’s convenient, it’s easy… But, I also challenge you to break out of your shell and hit the road, just once. Experience the in-between. You’ll be glad you did!