Today I am hitting the highway for some weekend Shinyribs dates. Being in a band one thinks nothing about driving to get somewhere unless maybe it happens to be over 10 hours. However, having lived in both Texas and Pennsylvania I know that geography and population density play a role in how far away somewhere feels.
Even though Pa is not small, Texas is a gigantic state. People will think nothing at all of driving an hour or two to hang out with friends or go to an event that they want to attend. Even driving to a city four to six hours away is not that big of a deal for many people, if there is a concert, sporting event, or some other event that appeals to them. Some people will even drive further than that for a weekend without much thought put into it.
Pennsylvania is the state of a thousand small towns. I lived in a small town, but my town pushed right up against other small towns on the borders. People seemed less inclined to drive somewhere spur of the moment. A show an hour or two away would be more like driving from driving from Houston to Dallas in Texas. Even for large concerts or events, events that would only happen once every few years, people seemed less willing to drive long distances for. We were about two hours from Philly, about four hours from Pittsburg. Although we drove to Philly many times for large events, I can only remember driving once to Pittsburg for a large concert. In my experience that was typical for a lot of people.
I’m not saying this is scientific proof, or that there aren’t always exceptions to the rule. There are also cultural reasons for this, as well as reasons having to do with topography and weather. Driving somewhere in Texas, where it doesn’t rain, on flat roads, is easier than driving through Appalachia, especially in winter. However, I do think that people will adapt to their surroundings. When I am in Texas I think personally think nothing of driving long distances. When I go home to visit families the old mentality takes over to a degree.
If any readers have any feedback or thoughts on this, I would love to hear from you. I have to approve all comments, so if you reply you can let me know if you want your comment shared or not.