Learning to pan without autofocus is a challenge. Challenges are good.

“Yo dude, who have you been writing for lately? Haven’t seen you post anything?”

So read the text message that arrived as I walked through yet another misty winter evening in Los Angeles. The plan was to squeeze in a quick workout in an attempt to balance out the dinner I’d be heading to later on. Doing my best to keep the scales level, that’s all I seem to be able to do of late.

I never want to go to the gym, I absolutely cannot stand being in there, but that’s how it should be. Going to the gym should be work, it should suck, but it’s absolutely necessary to stay in balance. If I don’t hesitate, if I just throw my workout gear on and get out the door, I can manage to go to the gym every single day of the week. However, if there’s a momentary lapse in judgement, and I read one more article, reply to one more email, or open one more text message, the chances of me making it are very slim.

If I don’t make it to the gym, I get mad at myself, and that throws me completely out of balance. If I’m mad at myself I can’t get shit done and if I can’t get shit done, then, you guessed it, I’m only going to be more upset.


By now you’re probably wondering what the hell all this has to do with cars or you’re waiting for some amazing bit of wisdom. Sorry to disappoint, but there’s no uplifting message coming and this doesn’t have much to do with cars, other than that they have proven to be a solid temporary distraction for me anytime I’m pissed off.

What this is about is health, both physical and mental. I’ve been so focused on the physical side that I’ve neglected the mental side, and as a direct result, I haven’t been writing.


Sure, I’ve cranked out a couple new car reviews of late, but that’s hardly mental exercise, and that’s why I started writing in the first place. I’ve felt the urge to say “Fuck it! I’m done writing about cars, this business sucks!”, for awhile now, and lately it has been especially strong. Like many of my peers, I find it hard to write passionately about a frivolous enthusiast community when the world is on fire. Who in their right mind cares about how much horsepower a new muscle car makes when our democracy is being dismantled?

But then last night I got that text message and it sparked something inside me. Thank you to the individual that sent it, you know who you are and I’m sure you’ll read this.


It reminded me that I can write whatever I want, whenever I want and share it here, on my little corner of the internet. I started The Road Less Driven because I just wanted to write about automotive culture and do so on my own terms. Of course I still need to work with established outlets to, you know, make money, but at the end of the day, I’ll always have this space to speak my mind. If I fully utilize it, then I’ll make progress in restoring balance to my life and a life in balance is a life well lived.

Oh shit, did I end up sharing some useful wisdom after all?


Even a blind owl gets a field mouse once in awhile.

Andrew Maness is a creative type who is especially good with words, photography, and video. Not much of a painter though. Contact him at theroadlessdriven@gmail.com