I like driving cars. I don’t worry, I don’t get stressed, I don’t have distractions, I am ‘in the zone’. It wasn’t always “driving cars” at the beginning. I had the same feeling when driving motorcycles in India.

I learned to drive a motorcycle at 15 and received my driver’s license as quick as I legally could. I lived on the outskirts of Chennai, in the municipality of Chitlapakkam. The college I went to was 15 km south of where I lived and the city limits was 15 km north. No traffic rules are followed on Indian roads. I made tons of mistakes while driving - the kind of mistakes that you can avoid through experience. I am thankful that I am still alive to write about it, some of my comtemporaries did not have this luck.

Motorcycle Touring

Eventually I got good enough at riding a motorcycle without killing myself, that after my marriage I bought a brand new Royal Enfield Bullet 500.

Jawadhu Hills, Thiruvannamalai District, June 2015

Jawadhu Hills, Thiruvannamalai District, June 2015

It is a bulky, impractical city rider yet it is so much fun to drive long distances. I made some long lasting memories with it. The most notable is driving till Bhuj, Gujarat and back on an epic 2 week solo trip.


We sold the motorcycle when we moved to Stockholm. There were enough restrictions here to keep me from driving for a while. But I kept in touch with driving virtually. Sim-Racing is very good at simulating real life driving and it is so much fun. I don’t participate in online races (too much social anxiety) but I love hotlapping, offline races with AI, learning new tracks and driving new cars. I am grateful that this exists. I can see myself doing this for a long time.

Sim Rig, March 2020

Sim Rig, March 2020

Weekend Rider

After 5 years in Stockholm, I forced myself to learn and get a driver’s license. It look some effort. After a failed attempt and several driving classes than necessary, I got my license. A few months later, we bought our car: Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2019 model with 36,500 km on the odometer. As of writing I have driven it around for around 500 km in a month (for context: I work from home). I am stoked for what this means in the coming weeks, months and years. I am going to engage with Sweden like never before.

Nyckelviken, Nacka, October 2022

Nyckelviken, Nacka, October 2022

Spontaneous and Autonomous

I had this lightbuld moment - It is not just driving that I like, I seem to enjoy activities that puts one’s brain activity on the fringes of the instinctive brain (the emotional “System 1”) and delibrate brain (the logical “System 2”)[1].

Let me explain.

  1. The ruleset for driving on the road or in the game is limited - compared to playing a video game or talking to a person. Limited ruleset means limited decision making (Albeit, the decisions have to be instinctive). Limited decision making means it is easier to automate.

  2. Driving is a repetitive activity and any form of repetitive activity will eventually become spontaneous and autonomous with enough repetition.

Spontaneous: performed or occurring as a result of a sudden impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.

Autonomous: undertaken or carried on without outside control

I have found myself enjoying editing metadata of thousands of MP3s, sorting personal photos in the cloud, making playlists on Spotify, making spreadsheets to find every track available in each sim-racing game etc.

How is this different from walking, running, powerlifting, stamp collecting etc? - There is some level of repetitiveness and spontaneity in all such activities, isn’t it? Turns out I might’ve found a definition for “spending time” or “hobby” in my own wraparound way of thinking. Books have been written to explain this mental state[2].


I love driving - virtually and IRL. I felt that I found a hobby that puts my brain ‘in the zone’, the mental state of Flow[2]. Turns out most hobbies do that. It might just be that most hobbies are ‘hobbies’ because they put you in the state of Flow.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

[2] - https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Psychology-Experience-Perennial-Classics/dp/0061339202