Enjoying the Ride: The Hidden Creativity of Commuting

Meditations on travel, ingenuity and marketing

My timepiece throbs, silently. I still remember, only a few minutes ago, taking quick but efficient sips of coffee; the taste lingers a while. I had been, in that moment, taking mental inventory of the day's commitments. A way of shuffling the priorities of the brain. But that's behind me now. 

News becomes a shallow hum drumming through the radio in the car. It's the morning commute to work, the usual march, the routines come like clockwork. Yet something else is happening. It comes at you in the margins between work and leisure—that nameless, grey space. It's neither too taxing, nor is it exhilarating. My morning drive has satisfied a secret itch nonetheless; it's one of the best sources of creative inspiration yet. 

Why is that? 

The car is a vehicle of many journeys: You are transported not only geographically, a body whizzing through space, but also in a sense of perception, the looking-glass a little more introspective. There is this rich creative power in commuting. In between the troubled rhythm of traffic there is discovered a new commodity: dead time. Daresay, I enjoy driving to work precisely for it. Elsewhere it can be elusive, slippery, all too quickly lost. 

You see things, hear them too, performing through a windowpane. The scenes of life pulled up to that window for brief inspection, only to be too quickly annihilated into a contortion of color, shape and light. A bolt of mad energy. This is motion brushed into a life that wants to crawl by at its own pace. But it's there for your amusement. It's a time of hidden creativity, where sight isn't narrowed, nor trained onto a screen, but freer to roam, for your mental instrument to flex, play, come alive. 

Something about windows by design make us think (deeply, meditatively). It's the theory of voyeurism, like an existential looking-glass, a way of seeing, an education by fact of observation. Through a glossy surface waits so much more, not necessarily external either, but a moment to address yourself, to think loudly and often. The window, a tool for deepening the senses, has taught me so much about perception, or how to see things differently. I learned this lesson from my car, which has offered six strong years of journeying and self-discovery. 

And, for marketing, perception is a plaything, a way of shaping a collective insight into a brand, its products and services, its wider reputation. I have a lot of praise for thinking aloud. It makes me more receptive, especially in collaboration, a sense of productive tolerance, but also in accepting the heights of my own imagination, and those around me, in a team space, working collectively, working as one blended mind. 

The humble commute can become a passageway to far greater things.

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Caine Bird
Caine Bird is the digital content executive at Inchora.