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Travel Time

Robin Donovan on the benefits of travel, regional sign shows.



They say that being late on occasion is forgivable; things come up. But if you’re always late, it’s a sign of disregard, anxiety, you name it. My dad, a retired veterinarian, used to say that doctors who always make you wait a half hour surely aren’t dealing with emergencies; they’re just planning poorly.

I thought about that when I drove to Vancouver, BC from Oregon recently. It was the kind of trip that makes a lot of sense when you look at Google Maps, but much less sense when you’re at a traffic standstill outside Seattle or spending 90 minutes waiting for a border agent farther north. (Canadian customs wait: 20 minutes. US customs wait: much, much longer.)

Let’s just say that five hours can become eight pretty easily.

But the show, and the beauty of the city’s stunning seawall, which I suggest exploring by bike, made the long drive worthwhile. We’ve devoted much time in these pages over the years to encouraging you to be involved in the community, whether by submitting a project or contest entry to Signs of the Times, giving back to your community by participating in outreach projects, or attending national events.

Attending the BC Sign & Graphics show, and hearing from our team who attended the Mid-South Sign Assn. and Midwest Sign Assn.’s events last year, have been good nudges to tell you a bit more about these regional shows as well. 

You’ll get more personalized attention from vendors, and sometimes even a chance to give your city real-time feedback on its sign ordinance implementation. I can’t say anyone was rude in Canada, but I can share that one response to, “You can call our office and they’ll take care of that,” was along the lines of “I actually called yesterday and no one could help me with that.” (Policies had recently changed and there were some stumbles with implementation.)


So, that’s my plug. Fly if you must, drive if you wish. But put some travel time in your schedule. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day, and yet there’s so much more out there.



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