I took a wrong turn on my way to Coudersport, PA. No. I had not heard of the town either but it was where I was booked for a training gig; a 2 1/2 hour ride from the Buffalo airport. I wondered what I was thinking or drinking when I said yes.
Slave to an uncooperative GPS, I found myself driving 5 miles down a cow path to the next dirt road. Red barns shining in the sun, green grass shimmering and not a bathroom to be seen. As I alternated between slight panic and awe at nature’s splendor, I wondered where the people had gone to in this twilight zone reality. There were houses and cars but not a person anywhere. I saw a tractor, a few kids selling pumpkins but no stores. There were billboards but definitely no nail salons. I finally saw a real road in the distance and inhaled and exhaled relief when I realized I actually might arrive before dark.
I rolled into town, even happy to find my hotel with the “No Dirty Workboots Inside” sign. I grabbed a sandwich in one of two restaurants in town before closing time at 8:00 p.m. and stumbled upon open mike night at a sweet little bar. Guitar music, friendly folks and a warm laid back feeling in this comfy small town.
The next day I found an eager and positive group of eight technical managers ready to learn, engage and support each other with their leadership challenges. Occasionally, talk of hunting, farming and drinking entered the room. The two days went by quickly (at least for me) and before leaving I told them they were the favorite class I had ever taught (in Coudersport!). We all laughed and I jumped into my Corolla with promises to stay in touch. I made it back to the Buffalo airport armed with new directions (and a different GPS).
One of the many gifts of my work is the chance to travel. It takes me outside the comfort zone of suburban Dunwoody, GA. While that travel isn’t always glamorous how else could I meet wholesome people and learn about hunting, farming and dirty work boots? I look forward to the next adventure.