hen is the last time you took a road trip to remember? For me, it was just a few weeks ago. Two things about this journey made it memorable:
When Justin offered to drive us from Marietta, Georgia, to Lynchburg, Virginia, and back in his Kia EV6, I jumped at the chance. Everyone loves being chauffeured. The bonus for me was the extended time with my second-born.
A software developer for a technology company in Atlanta, Justin is the consummate planner. Before we left home, he knew where we would stop for recharging the car’s battery, and he picked out some pretty good eating options to boot.
The drive itself was a joy. The round trip required a total of five stops to recharge, each one lasting about 15 to 20 minutes. We encountered just one glitch along the way: a Circle K that had two charging stations but a malfunctioning payment app. Calling the help line was no help at all, so we ventured down the pike to an Electrify America station at a Walmart in Charlotte. Like every other Electrify America stop we made, this one worked like a charm.
While we traveled Interstate 85 and U.S. Highway 29, we listened to the Walter Isaacson biography of Elon Musk, which was fitting, seeing as how Musk runs Tesla, the largest EV company in the world.
The reason for my trip was two days of work meetings in Lynchburg. I was the guest of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, and they were exceptional hosts the entire time.
The whole experience made me wonder why more people don’t do this. Why don’t more of us enjoy the freedom of the open road and savor the journey? Saving time, of course, is what most people would say — but at what cost?
I posed this question to someone who’s built a life and a company out of road tripping: Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey’s Corp. in Eastman, Georgia. If you follow her on social media, you know what I mean.
“You can’t experience a community flying over it. You have to drive through it.”
— Stephanie Stuckey, CEO, Stuckey’s Corp.
Photo courtesy of Stuckey’s Corp.
“There is so much you can see on the ground that you can’t see 30,000 feet up in the air,” she told me. “You can’t experience a community flying over it. You have to drive through it. Some of the greatest American movies are about road trips. It is the quintessential American experience. It is the freedom to choose.”
Those words stuck with me: the freedom to choose. In a car, you’re the master of your own domain. In an airplane, well, you at least get to choose which movie to watch, I guess.
Don’t get me wrong. Flying has its benefits and its perks. You save oodles of time, you get there faster and you are probably a heck of a lot safer.
But if the trip takes eight hours or less, I’d rather drive. Here’s why: I see things on the ground a lot more clearly than I do from a vantage point five miles above it. I appreciate the freedom to choose where to eat, where to shop, where to relax and who to enjoy all of that with.
More importantly, I make my own schedule, and I don’t care how long it takes. What’s the rush anyway? Is it a race? Do I get a prize for being the first one there?
As we race into the holiday season, I hope that I at least pause long enough to appreciate what matters in life — things like faith, family, friends, a good home, a friendly community, a good job and the freedom to enjoy all of it.
I know that I appreciate my family more because of that Virginia road trip. Justin is one of the kindest people I know. He is a giver, a server and a loyal friend. He’s also incredibly smart and a great conversationalist.
I hope I never get too old to learn from him.