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Commit to Pass

One of the lessons learned from driving to El Paso, Texas, with my younger thirty-something brother, Gabriel was learning how to conquer my fear of driving large automobiles.

The car I drive is mid-sized. Over seven years ago, I hydroplaned in a twelve passenger van and spun into an almost 360 degree turn and stopped at a telephone pole in time to not get thrown back into traffic. This incident was the basis of my hesitation for taking the wheel of my brother's Suburban to help him with the long thirteen hour drive. Gabe was tired and hung over from staying up all night with friends. I contemplated. Would we be any safer with me driving? I've always believed in conquering my fears instead of letting myself become limited by them. However, I had slowly been doing the opposite ever since the spin out. I stopped driving our large family van altogether.

It wouldn't be my first time driving back all the way from Texas. At the age of 19, I drove a Toyota Minivan back from El Paso in the middle of the night while my father drove the older Honda Accord I had had just purchased. My mom prayed the rosary for what seemed most of the time. When I told her how it was lulling me to sleep she blamed it on the Devil trying to interfere our praying and continued. I made it through with countless cups of coffee. 

I realized I was at a crossroads on this trip, either I would find an excuse to avoid challenging my fear or I would overcome it and open up more possibilities in my life. I chose the latter.

I took pictures while it was my brother's turn to drive to remind myself of my renewed commitment to pass whatever obstacles may come my way.

On the drive, I thought about Pat Bean, retired journalist and fellow blogger, who travels the world on her 22 foot RV. There's no way I could ever be that fearless if I can't even drive a Suburban cross state. Still, I held tightly to the wheel as I passed rigs on the road. With all my concentrated effort and deep breathing, it felt just like giving birth. My brother woke up in the middle of one of these labors. "You can't hang around them. Once you commit to pass, you gotta go for it." he warned. His words, "Commit to Pass", echoed in my head with each passing mile and truck. It became my mantra for driving and passing. With these words, I was able to relax further into my seat and enjoy the tunes of Shakira, Rob Thomas, U2, Juan Gabriel, and Cypress Hill that played mixed up on Pandora. 

As with everything, time and practice makes things get easier. A few rest stops later, as I was climbing back into the Suburban, I thought, who knows, maybe I may just set off somewhere on an RV like Pat Bean after all.


  1. Hi Sofia,
    I feel honored that you mentioned my blog. I drive a lot of back roads where I don't get a lot of truck traffic. Those big semis are annoying buggers. Your advice is right on. Although sometimes, I will simply slow my own speed to avoid the hot flash I get when I commit to pass one of them. I'm glad you're coming along for my journey -- and I bet you could drive my RV Gypsy Lee as as easy as you do that Suburban.

  2. Hi Pat,

    Thank you, that would be fun to travel on a RV one day. I have that on my bucket list. I want to rent one for the family to visit Yellowstone.

  3. I share your feelings in some ways about driving. I had a phobia about it for years and I still don't enjoy driving specially on dull roads with nothing much to look out for. I too tend to go to sleep, I think it's a way of trying to "escape". But you're right, we have to keep trying and in the end it's not so bad :D

  4. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com


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