Cultural Stowaways: Long Drives & Traffic

Adjusting back to the pace of Los Angeles has been interesting. For the most part, I do a lot of bicycle riding. I work on my bike as a courier, and when I go to my nanny job, I commute on bicycle.

However there are some times when I need to drive. This mostly is when I am commuting to the farther reaches of Los Angeles or leaving the city completely. Since I’ve been back, I’ve driven around LA, Santa Barbara, Yosemite, San Francisco and Paso Robles to name a few.

In LA, for most people, 2 hours seems unbearable. I’ve even heard people complaining about 45 minute drives. I assume this is because the driving here is tough. It’s congested, hot and not that elegant. The thick smog that hangs over the city as you ride the brakes through surging traffic and avoid road-raging drivers can be totally overwhelming and a negative experience.

I’ve noticed that I’ve brought with me a newfound patience for longer drives and traffic. In Peru, it was normal for me to travel 2 hours each way to gain access to the closest big city. When the one major road was under construction, I would wait for hours in a motionless and outrageously hot van. I regularly traveled 8 hours in and out of Lima in order to go on longer vacations.

Driving long distances nowadays just doesn’t seem like that big of a hassle anymore. In fact, it is much more of a privilege. Private transportation is incredible. The freedom to go anywhere. I like feeling like a tourist in my own country. Observing the new places. The new changes since I’ve been gone. If you went to Italy and sat in traffic while commuting through Rome, would you just sit and stew and complain? No probably not. You would enjoy the new sights and sounds and smells no matter how slow the traffic was advancing.

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