Zen Driving

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Two days ago I drove down to Osceola, Iowa, to see patients in one of our satellite clinics. It is once every 2 months, that I go there.  I started doing outreach clinic when I began my practice here in Des Moines, when my schedule was not that busy yet.

Now that I am very busy, with my clinic appointments bursting in the seams, I still kept my outreach clinic for two reasons. First, I cannot find a more grateful group of patients, especially the more elderly that cannot drive far anymore. They are very appreciative that we come to them, and save them the trouble of driving to Des Moines. Second reason, I really don’t mind the drive, in fact I even enjoyed it (except when there is a snowstorm or icestorm). And I use this roadtrip as a break from my routine daily schedule.

Osceola is a small town, about 50 miles south of Des Moines, which takes me less than an hour to drive to. It is very accessible as it is a straight shot from Interstate-35, and involves no traffic at all. The scenery along the way is also pleasant, with its typical Iowa landscape: rolling hills of prairies with their colorful wild flowers, interspersed with vast cornfields and soybean fields. There are ranches too with cattle and horses grazing in the meadows, with farmhouses, barns, and silos.

typical iowa landscape

The best part of the drive though is the quiet time I have all by myself. I would just pick a CD to listen to, and I’ll be in a Zen-like state. I can choose to play The Eagles, America or Bread, and I’ll be back in time of my highschool days. Or I can pick a more recent one, like one of the albums of Norah Jones (which I have a complete set) and I’ll be lost in a dream listening to her soothing smokey voice.

For about 45 minutes, I was lost in time and space, while my car traveled at 75 miles an hour (no, that’s not speeding), and while the Eraserheads (my pick of the day) was playing loudly in my radio…….”Magda-drive ako hanggang buwan”.


  1. Taking a long, languid (even at 65+ MPH) drive is an American tradition. As you say it’s a way of meditating and shrugging off the usual daily oppressions. What I read your blog post it made me wonder if this was new to you since you came to the U.S. I always hear about the traffic in the Philippines that flows slowly like warmed treacle out of the overfull pot of Metro Manila. It doesn’t seem like a country where you could go for a long, relaxing drive.

    1. Yes TAO, the relaxing long drive is a new experience to me since I got here in the US. When I was in the Philippines, long drive is almost always a trial of patience, due to snail-pace traffic. That 50 miles I can drive in 40 minutes here will take me 2 hours to half a day in the Philippines.

  2. I can’t drive, so I can’t relate to the driving part of this story. But I can relate to the Zen part, which in my case mostly consists of falling asleep during a long drive like you have described. 🙂

  3. I found it odd I ran across this being Filipina and from Iowa myself. I do miss doing this after moving around with my military husband for the past 10 years I would love nothing more than to go back to my home state. I do love the scenery there.

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