An Update & Thoughts on Driving

We’re in Philadelphia! It’s been a while since we last updated, so here’s a quick overview on the past couple of weeks:

Crossing the border into Maine was breezy. Driving into Canada from Michigan, and into the U.S. on our Burlington trip, the border agents had a ton of questions for us, mainly about our finances and why we had so much stuff in the car. But we pretty much got waved through – and there was no line. In fact, there was barely any traffic the whole way into Bangor, and the drive across Maine was gorgeous.


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A peaceful #pulloverhere moment on our drive through #Maine last week. #chainofponds #scenicoverlook #roadtrip

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In Bangor, we spent three days at the American Folk Festival. Loved it. This is my kind of music festival. Great food, great music, not too loud, a bunch of old people, and even the portapotties were clean.

We spent the work week in Portland, Maine – we really liked the city. Braden played pickleball a couple of times and I went to yoga for the first time in 3 months. Everyone we encountered was friendly and welcoming – even the homeless guy on the corner complimented my shirt. We took a ferry to visit Peaks Island one evening and did a cemetery tour the next night.  Boda Boda was the culnary highlight: Thai street food with a tapas-style menu.

Next, down to Boston for a couple days. We met up with Braden’s cousin and her husband for dinner one night and visited the MIT museum, which has a great exhibit called “Gestural Engineering: The Sculpture of Arthur Ganson.” It reminded us of the Museum Tinguely in Basel.

Sunday morning, we set out fairly early for the long drive to Philadelphia (with a stop in New Haven to have pizza and visit the rare books collection on the Yale campus). Once we were away from Boston traffic, I took over the driving so Braden could get some work done. I’ve always had a bit of anxiety about driving. I used to avoid freeway driving as much as possible. On my way from my parents’ house to my apartment, I wrote turn-by-turn directions to my new apartment so that I wouldn’t miss my exit. Over the years, it’s gotten a lot better, but I was always a little nervous about driving outside of the Houston area. So I’m pretty proud of what happened next.

Braden had been on a call when I set the navigation, and I didn’t really pay attention to the route, just started following directions. I was surprised when all of a sudden we started seeing signs for Yonkers and the Bronx… especially since it looked like we were in a jungle with cliffs covered in deep green vines. And then, we were in Manhattan. We had kind of intended to take the slightly longer route through White Plains – oops. But there was no room for driving anxiety as the navigation took me on twists and turns all the way up to the George Washington Bridge. I looked left, and there was the most magnificent view of downtown Manhattan. It was such a cool experience, and all the better because I wasn’t expecting it – I had no idea we were that close to NYC.

That view was worth the probably $25 in tolls we racked up due to taking that route – oops again.

Then I drove all the way into Philadelphia, because I missed my opportunity to pull over and switch with Braden. And I drove in circles for an hour to find parking, while he brought all our stuff into our new Airbnb.

All this to say, I feel so much more confident in my abilities having conquered that drive with no issues. We designed this trip to break out of our comfort zones. In the world we live in, being afraid to drive can be very limiting. I still stress about a lot of things. But in refusing to make room for anxiety during our drive last week, I proved something to myself that day. It’s not that I’m not anxious about driving anymore – it’s an inherently dangerous thing with so many things outside of your control that can go wrong – it’s just no longer something that prevents me from doing what I want to do. 

This weekend, we’re checking out what Wilmington has to offer, since we really needed a change of scenery after one week in the same place. 😉 It’s less than 40 minutes away from Philly – that’s shorter than my old commute!

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