4 states, 4 days

Most everything posted online is only a small snapshot of an entire picture. It’s certainly been a crazy 1 ½ years since moving to Austin, but I’ve been lucky.

Why have I been lucky? Well, there are countless reasons that I could write about for days. However, for this post, I’ll focus on luck with my job. Let’s start with this little bit from one of my favorite planners/strategists, Paul Isakson:

If you truly believe that the future of marketing is about finding ways to make people’s lives better by doing things with and for them, you aren’t going to find the best ways to do that sitting in the office or hanging out at a research facility. You can’t see the red horses, purple hills, golden towns and wild skies from behind a two-way mirror or in a pile of survey data. You can only do that by taking the road and watching the sky; not the other way around.”

So I’ve been lucky to be able to travel for work and see parts of the country and hopefully world that I probably would never have had the opportunity to see. As a planner, this is a huge opportunity. It’s one thing to delve into pages of market research or learn about something via Google; however, we gain an entirely different level of understanding by experiencing these people, places, locations, culture, societies, etc. firsthand.

So a few weeks back I traveled up to the NE-ish part of the country – getting to 4 states in 4 days. Whew! It sure was a lot of travel, but I learned so much about this region, these schools, students, cultures, mentalities, etc. in just a few short days – it was awesome.

Started out on Monday from Austin to Charleston, WVA. Drove to Huntington, WVA., then down to Wise, VA (Tuesday), down through Cumberland Gap, TN to Corbin, KY (Wednesday), up to Berea, KY, then off to Lexington, KY to fly back to Austin (Thursday). Whew!

Here’s a map of my trip:

Like I said – it was an awesome trip. I took so much in and had a pretty ethnographic 4 days. (=

WVA’s capitol building:





Welcome to VA:

downtown Norton, VA:

Is this how others see America?

Welcome to KY:

Smoke stacks:

More smoke stacks:

Even more smoke stacks:

It POURED for about 15 minutes:



En route to KY:

Beautiful views through the Appalachian region:

Random hill side cemetery. Quite picturesque though, no?

One thought on “4 states, 4 days

  1. Your account here has sparked a memory of a car trip my parents took me on in the summer of 1961 from Austin to Washington, D. C. On the way there we went the southern route, hugging the Gulf coast through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. On the way back we took the northern route through Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. As we went over a mountain pass in the Smokey Mountains, Dad stopped the car. The mist was pouring our the mountains and I got out and felt an irrepressible urge to dance around the station wagon. I can’t help but think that my dance was Dylan’s inspiration to write the line…”Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free…,” only he was wasn’t there to witness it. As I climbed back into the car, my Mom, always the support, said, “Well, John that was… expressive,” while Dad buried his face in his hands. My older brother mumbled something like “fruitcake.” Thank you for posting the pictures and jogging my memories.

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