Sunday, July 3, 2016

181. Road tripping routines

Driving by yourself is both relaxing and terrifying. I like setting out on a new place, listening to some music, catching up on some podcasts, and letting your mind wander a little bit. There are increasingly rare moments where we can shut ourselves off from the things that take our attention: screens, emails, computers. It’s good for the road to take your mind off of those things and let it sway somewhere else.

However, there’s the time when it can drive you mad. I underestimated my drive to Lincoln. For some reason, I had it on my mind that it would be a six-hour drive, when it in fact turned into about an eight-hour affair. I did get a little bit of a late start, but I didn’t think it was that late. That drive down the spine of Iowa was long.

I drove through Iowa on I-35 and then I turned right when I got to Des Moines. It was more or less a right angle through the state. It got a little long around 5 p.m, when I thought I was almost there. It was really about two hours. That’s the point of the drive when you start to lose it. You can’t settle on music, the gas is getting low, and you’re getting hangry. I really hated Iowa at that point in the drive.

I got to Lincoln around 6:45 p.m. It’s a really great feeling to finally get out of the car, sit (well, stand for a little bit) and enjoy a few beverages with some friends out on their porch.

Traffic makes me anxious, but I still think it’s a better way to travel than some other modes of transportation. Trains aren’t convenient enough. The bus is too crowded. And airports are the closest thing to hell on earth for me.
Ok, I’ve bloviated on driving long enough, so I want to talk about getting out of the normal routine. I love my routine, but it’s also suffocating. That’s been the news these past few weeks: Trump, Clinton, brexit, terrorism, emails. Wash, rinse, repeat. I know these issues are important, but I’ve reached a saturation point with so many of them.

I’m in Lincoln, Nebraska, and most of those issues couldn’t seem further away. I’m just here with friends, and we’ve basically just been eating, watching soccer, and drinking beer. It’s been nice. I’m out of my routine of work, exercise, eat, repeat.

It’s important to stay informed about topics. It’s important to research and analyze them. But I think it’s also important to take a break. It’s important to do your own thing, without external distractions of things you cannot control. It’s important to take care of yourself and your relationships and not just wallow in the endless decay of the news cycle. It’s sometimes really healthy just to sit, talk, drink your favorite beverages and do things you don’t normally do. (I played N64 for the first time in probably five years. I’m still as bad as I was back then.)

Sometimes you just have to get out of the state for that.

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