What we seek out, what we invest in, and what we are willing to spend our time and money on has undergone an uneven and somewhat nebulous transformation thus far this century. Perhaps this is because I grew up in the suburbs, but at the turn of the century, life seemed to revolve around shopping malls and the pursuit of material possessions. Since then, my focus has undergone two major shifts, one at the start of the century and one quite recently.
I now have nearly a decade’s worth of entries in this blog, primarily about travel and experiences. The transition from focusing on the material to focusing on the experiences, society-wide, can be seen on Instagram. The Instagram era, and what many people see in their feeds, is the embodiment of people switching from seeking out bigger homes and more stuff to put into them to seeking out experiences in general, many of which have been shared on Instagram over the past decade.
As I pointed out in two earlier blogs , this year, after all that recently happened, I suddenly found myself most interested in connecting with people. There are a lot of people who have and/or continue to play an important role in my life. At this point in time, this feels like the most important use of my time and energy.
We’re also seeing this shift society-wide. More people are talking about the importance of connecting with locals and local culture while traveling. People are now sharing tips and even building apps to facilitate this pursuit.
To end the Summer of 2021, I went to Akron, Ohio.
To go to a Minor League Baseball Game.
Traveling 1300 miles (2100 km) to go to Minor League Baseball game is not something that is going to appear on anyone’s bucket list. As was the case with my earlier trips this summer, the purpose of this trip was connection.
That being said due to its location in the “rust belt”, Akron often gets a bad rap. However, there is more to the place than industrial decline. It’s probably not the most desirable place to live but it is certainly underrated.
It has a fairly lively downtown.
There are other interesting neighborhoods with some interesting places to go.
And, there a lot of outdoor places to explore.
The Summit Metro Parks are right next to the city.
In this park there a series of trails with dense deciduous forests and a little bit of terrain!
The Buckeye Trail runs right through the park.
There are also some other hidden gems.
This particular railroad crossing reminded me of another time and place where people would commonly run or dismount a horse and jump into the open car of a moving freight train.
The other gem close to Akron is Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is fairly similar the Metro Parks hikes. There are the trees and rolling hills.
Cuyahoga Valley is one of the free National Parks. It also does not appear to be as crowded as some other National Parks can be.
Akron is also right in the middle of an 87 mile trail that connects it with Cleveland, as well as Canton and New Philadelphia. Following the Cuyahoga River, runners and cyclists encounter some scenic spots.
As society shifts it focus from the material to experiences and connection, as we shift our priorities, expectations, habits, and how we perceive work, value and power, our patterns of travel will shift. The conciseness on the post pandemic world where we use virtual meetings more, is that there will be less travel for work and more travel for pleasure. It also feels like more combination trips are in our future. This is because, it is possible to meet people and coordinate work virtually, without having to spend time, money and energy traveling. However, to CONNECT, whether it be with other people, with places, cultures or ourselves, will still require significant amounts of travel. What will likely shift is where we go, when we go there and how we get there.