Because Starbucks coffee knows about travel

Because Starbucks coffee knows about travel

(CNN) – Most days I am loyal to my locally owned coffee shop. I spent years working as a bartender, pulling shots of espresso and pouring silky steamed milk into ceramic mugs – a movement of the wrist to finish it off with a snow white motif in caramel colored foam. My fellow coffee artisans from the third wave and I would have been shivering if someone had ordered a high instead of a small one.

But I have a confession to make: on a long recent walk, on a day when I couldn’t bear to look at the walls of my apartment for another moment, I ended up at Starbucks ordering a large dark roast through a window facing the sidewalk.

British Robinson on her pre-pandemic trip to Utah.

Courtesy of English Robinson

From a makeshift passage, designed for this moment when entering any establishment is fraught with new rules and health risks, I received the satisfactory weight of 16 ounces of liqueur, predictably tasted coffee.

Like most of the world, I have been “socially isolated” at home for several months and have not ventured far from my neighborhood. As I sipped from that little hole in the plastic cover, memories of “before the times” came to my mind: the Starbucks airport with my best friend at the beginning of our vacation in New Orleans; late afternoon he froze Americans from a Starbucks grocery store after climbing in central Oregon; the last Starbucks in Columbia River Gorge, with 150 miles left to reach home after crossing the road in Utah.

See, I don’t necessarily like Starbucks. But sometimes I love Starbucks, because it has the flavor and feeling of traveling.

There are over 15,000 Starbucks in the United States. The froth is too foamy for the art of milk, but the coffee is fresh and the Wi-Fi always works. Along the highways and back roads of my travels, which involve more gas stations than airports, the green siren has become a reliable indicator of having made another way.

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Overcome the storm

British Robinson road map

It’s often the thrill of finding our way that follows us, says Britany Robinson.

Courtesy of English Robinson

It was December, two years ago, the last time I drove across the United States. On the third day of the return trip, I was planning to visit Chicago, but a threatening purple spot appeared on the satellite of my weather app; a snowstorm was coming.

At a gas station, I consulted my atlas, pressing the curled corners to draw a gloved finger along alternative paths.

I need to move on quickly. If I had skipped Chicago and arrived in Iowa City that night, then the next morning I had taken the extra road, I could have overcome the storm.

Ten hours later, I found myself in the modern industrial space of a crowded Iowa City brewery, watching a wedding party untie the bonds and shake the perfect curls by ordering shots with the biggest smiles. I ordered a vegetarian burger, screaming it with some pop music, then I sipped my beer while I stole a look at the festive group.

Some were probably also out of town. But in mutual presence, they all looked at home. Eventually the bride and groom arrived and everyone burst into joy.

“I don’t necessarily like Starbucks. But sometimes I love Starbucks, because it has the flavor and feeling of traveling. “

British writer Robinson

I felt a little lonely, sitting in a bar with no one to talk to and a lot of partying around me. But I also appreciate these opportunities to watch and listen, unnoticed. My shoulders slowly relaxed from the hours behind the wheel and I let my loneliness mingle with the satisfaction of anonymity and the cold and pungent hops of my IPA, made here in this unknown place, surrounded by lives that had no crosses with mine. until then .

That night I slept in a Motel 6: the orange walls and the white sheets are another familiar comfort when traveling. Motel 6 is my favorite destination because my dog ​​is free. And they are generally clean, in addition to the faint smell of cigarette smoke, which is also somehow part of the charm.

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The alarm went off the next morning when it was still dark. I put my backpack on my shoulder, tied my dog ​​and dragged myself across the frozen asphalt to scrape a thin layer of ice off the windshield.

With the heat on, I started, my eyes open only by urgency. I needed coffee. A couple of hours later, a too easy sun egg peered over the wheat fields and, with it, an exit sign. Starbucks: five miles.

life on the road

motel 6

Motel 6 – dogs stay free.

Courtesy of English Robinson

I arrived just as I was losing the adrenaline rush of the morning rush to defeat the storm, and I felt dizzy over that dark wooden interior, his packaged pastry case and the hurried staff in green aprons, filling cups behind the counter.

“It looks like it will snow today,” said the young woman behind the log. I told her I was traveling and I hoped she would miss me. “You’d better move, then,” he advised. And I did it, with a great coffee in my hand.

Cutting north, fields of flat wheat rose on the hills and then on the mountains dotted with snow and dark evergreens. I had a snack with the gummy worms from the gas station and the mix of tracks.

My coffee was barely hot when I arrived in the Black Hills, where I saw a herd of wild horses grazing in the distance. Hours and hundreds of miles passed, the songs repeated on my playlists and eventually a purple sky turned blue and the world shrank to the width of my lighthouses.

It was one of those days of travel in which I was caught between a disappeared home and the desire to continue with the emotion and bizarre monotony of life on the street.

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It is on these traits when the act of travel is a salvation between one world and another; a reminder that is the same, even when everything is different. Those traits are an opportunity to live in a moment while time and space merge.

Joy in the journey

British Robinson road

One the road: an opportunity to live in a moment while time and space merge.

Courtesy of English Robinson

Right now many of us are longing to travel – a common desire, deepened by the restrictions of household orders and consideration for the common good.

But while sipping a Starbucks, not far from home, it occurred to me that rarely are the postcard moments that remain with us. It is movement, the incremental progress of a long day of travel, punctuated by inconveniences and inconveniences, but also the thrill of finding our way.

The elements of the journey that call me now are what may seem lonely, boring or stressful when I live them. But those moments are opportunities to let our thoughts extend to fill unfamiliar cracks – to allow curiosity and observation to replace discomfort.

I’m not suggesting everyone rush to Starbucks to satisfy our desire to travel. Mediocre chain coffee may not scratch that itch for you.

I am suggesting that we look for possibilities to linger between point A and point B, to open our windows, to savor the details, even when they are not all fantastic. Because in the end we will leave this place and be in the next one.

Even without traveling, we must find joy in the journey.


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