I travel a lot. I’m not a global jet-setter or a frequent-flyer million miles, but I take trips throughout the US. I drive. I train. I bus. I cajole my friends to go to places I want to see by offering to pay for gas. I prefer to see where I’m going instead of flying.
While the American countryside provides a range of lovely vistas and perfect sunsets, sometimes it’s really kinda… well… boring. I mean, how many exits with Shell stations, McDonalds, and a car wash does one need to see? So, when the road gets monotonous and the radio stations are few and far between – I download audiobooks and listen to my vast music collection on the cloud. In fact, I’m so lazy that I use Amazon Prime for everything.
Full disclosure – As an educator, I get a pretty sweet discount on Amazon Prime, which makes the service totally worth it.
MP3s and audibooks aren’t new, but doing everything through the phone is. Not too long ago, you had to order CDs to listen to books and music (you still can). Today, all iPhone and Android users can access all of their media anywhere they can get a network connection. Just the fact that every interstate in the US has regular cell towers that helps drivers remain connected is a relatively recent phenomenon. This progression of connectivity astounds me. Millions of drivers can access vast libraries of media: music, podcasts, books, videos, and film. Our consumption of media is no longer bound by physical medium.
This revelation came to me over Labor Day weekend as I drove through the Midwest. On Monday as I headed south to Memphis, I streamed Paul Simon’s She Moves On and his lyrics struck me, “When the road bends / And the song ends / She moves on.” There I was, in the bend of a road, the sun set over the low rolling hills of Missouri and Arkansas, and I was moving on. In that moment, I realized that a miraculous collection of technologies came together so that I could enjoy my long drive home.