Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm a Wanderer

I travel a lot for work, but one thing that separates me from many other frequent fliers is that I seldom seek the refuge of my hotel room in the evenings. Sometimes I have to stay in. Just the past few nights I was so engrossed and involved in my work that there were no chances to get out and explore, but give me a few hours, and I am out the door!

Yesterday was a good example: I've been many places, but I have never spent a single night in Tennessee - for work, pleasure, or other (roadtrip lodging!). After an intense 3 days of work at a good customer's in Murfreesboro, I took an two and a half hours to drive to Nashville before my flight home to see what was goin’ on there. In that short span of time, I discovered Broadway Street and the marvelous assortment of establishments that fill the area in the shadow of the historic Ryman Auditorium. What a great surprise! I found out that live music is played daily in at least 10 establishments … in the middle of the day! I visited numerous joints with the most fascinating being the famous Tootsie's. In a 15-minute stop at Tootsie's I was brought nearly to tears when I heard a beautifully sung sad song I had never heard before, then grinned broadly from ear-to-ear with a rollicking rendition of Linda Ronstadt's "When Will I Be Loved?" I also visited the legendary Ernest Tubb Record Shop and picked up a cool photo of Elvis with Johnny Cash [or is it Johnny Cash with Elvis?] and an Eddie Cochran's Greatest Hits CD. [Bonus: the clerk was wearing a Packer sweatshirt!]

The point of this story is life is too short not to take advantage of these opportunities. I always feel a little sorry for business travelers that don't. Heck, in the past 2 years I've seen some of the US's most incredible sights just by taking the long way back to the hotel or taking a short diversion back to the airport. In no way is this meant to sound like I am bragging [though I fear it might], but in the past year, I've seen or done the following:

  • Ran around Lake Estes at Estes Park, CO with the roaming elk nearby
  • Visited Philadelphia's magnificent City Hall
  • Tried many fantastic brews at the original Dogfish Head Brewery in Rehoboth Beach, DE
  • Explored Music City, USA (see above)
  • Ate like a king in Baltimore's Little Italy
  • Curvy, swervy drive up to awesome Virgina City, NV
  • Walked more miles around the Gold Coast (Chicago) than probably many locals ever have
  • Drove Hwy 1 back to San Francisco from wine country (this one took longer than I expected!)
  • and many more.
Sometimes these detours were a little inconvenient, but never once did I regret trading a forgettable night in a hotel room for the opportunity to form an indelible lifetime memory. If I could implore you to do anything, it’s not vote the way I vote, or think the way I think, but take advantage of those small opportunities that come along every once in a while. You won’t regret them and may just help you see the world in a little different light – a brighter light!
The above was written with my thumbs on an Android phone at 29,000 feet. Because it was typed slowly and with poor overall visibility on a small screen, it was difficult to write. Reading it over, I don’t think it even represents close to my best blogging, but my sentiment remains the same so I am going to run with it anyway. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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