Silent early morning drives are truly some of the best experiences one can have.
And no, I’m not talking about that cloudy 8 a.m. commute to your part-time job or driving to that local brunch spot with the girls on the weekend.
I’m talking about driving at 5:30 a.m. when it’s basically as dark as midnight out or when the sun is just barely peeking through the blackness. And there’s a twist to this: no music.
I hear you now. Are you insane, Jared? Why would anybody in their right mind want to drive that early? And without a single decibel of sound coming out of your speakers?
Yes. That’s right.
I love driving, if you can’t tell by the ample F1 articles I shove down my readers’ throats week in and week out. Any time I get to drive is a special one.
So why choose (or simply tolerate) driving that early? It’s simple: you’re totally alone. It’s utter zen. Sure, you may be groggy and unable to drive completely coherently, but that’s besides the point. You view your world in a new light, literally and figuratively speaking. You can talk to yourself as loud as you want or, contrarily, not utter a single word. Driving into a city (or town) of blinding lights without a soul around is equally surreal and fascinating.
Why else is it so cool? There’s an element of adventure. And what does that mean? It’s when you drive really early in the morning but it’s to the airport or heading out on a three-hour drive to a new hiking destination or fun tourist attraction. Looking at all of that foliage, mountains, empty highways and small town businesses zooming past your window is extremely eye-opening (and this time, I mean figuratively). That sense of discovery and unbridled eagerness when the world around you is quiet and you’re about to make a new memory is a sensation I simply cannot get over.
If you’re very nuanced and enjoy every facet of your car, like me, you also get to hear the fun background noises it makes. That audible connection gives your whip a sort of personality. For example, my first car, a 2008 Acura TSX, always emitted a subtle half-second groan after being idle for 15 seconds. I liked to imagine that it was waking up with me.
My current vehicle, a 2017 Volkswagen Golf, instantly turns its cooling fan on after you turn the engine off and makes this neat sci-fi noise, akin to powering up a laser weapon. It’s so neat. Therefore, if I always had distractions, I wouldn’t have been able to hear it.
You hear the gentle purr of the engine. You hear your tires spinning thousands of times a minute. You feel your air conditioning or heat softly blowing at your selected optimal temperature. You also get to hear your thoughts. Can they be difficult to confront at times? Heck yes, of course. Listening to yourself processing thoughts and emotions is challenging. Sometimes, you just don’t want to. But it’s therapeutic. You become more attuned with yourself to make the best decision for you going forward.
Sitting in your car all alone at the loneliest time of the day sounds intimidating. But just turn the ignition, turn off your stereo system and ease onward. Try it a few times and you may realize that it’s also the most therapeutic and, depending on the circumstances, the most fun time you’ll have while driving.