Spend It Where It Counts: Invest In Motoring Experiences
I’ve been fortunate to travel…a lot. My mother and father were both active duty military when I was born. A couple years later, they divorced and remarried shortly after—both of their new partners were also active duty. Needless to say, I did a lot of flying and highway miles as a youngster. Before I graduated high school, I had seen more of the United States than most Americans will in their lifetime—last I tallied, I’d been to more than 40 states.
After 18 years of moving around throughout the U.S., between parents and summer visits, the thought of being complacent really got to me—I certainly didn’t want to linger in the Midwest anymore, and the South wasn’t my cup up tea—though, the liquid diabetes called “sweet tea” is addictive. So, I made the only logical choice I could think of: I joined the United States Air Force. It was the single greatest decision of my life for so many reasons, but continuing my lifelong trend of moving every two to three years was probably my favorite aspects.
The uniform sent me to Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, California, Nevada, Washington, South Korea, and Japan. Traveling isn’t cheap, but I took full advantage when I could afford to because there’s no greater way to experience life than through travel. I found a wonderful woman who was crazy about traveling and supported my automotive obsession—jackpot. Needless to say, she’s been my wife for a while now.
Why do I bring this all up? Because I’ve learned that traveling, regardless of expense, is always worth the journey. Which got me thinking: stop wasting time, stop wasting money, and stop making excuses for not getting time behind the wheel. I’m not just talking about road trip traveling, here: I’m talking about investing in motoring experiences.
For years, I’ve been accumulating vehicles and parts. I’ve said, “I just need seven vehicles and I’ll be content,” so many times I’m not sure if I really want a collection or if I’ve just fallen victim to self-inflicted Stockholm Syndrome?
Either way, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve got to change some things up, and maybe you do, to? When’s the last time you went for a memorable drive? How about an autocross or track day? If it’s been too long since you enjoyed cars, from behind the wheel, it’s probably time to make a priority adjustment.
A few months ago I met Matt Hummel and his awesome jalopy Porsche 356. Matt happened to be in San Diego for a few days so I invited him to a local car meet. He had just driven his 356 from his home in Auburn, California, all the way down to San Diego. Here I was, apprehensive about driving my old Toyota 30 miles to the local car meet and Hummel is soaking up hundreds of miles in a near 60-year-old German coupe, without a worry.
I told Matt I couldn’t believe he drove that old Porsche all the way down from Northern California. He just smiled and said: “No excuses. Drive”. That’s stuck with me. I’ve since driven my right-hand drive Toyota Century to LA and back a number of times and even recently put it through the ultimate test at the 2016 JNC California Touge. Funny, shortly after Hummel said that, we had to give his 356 a push so he could jump-start it! Did it faze him? Not in the slightest.
It’s so easy to make excuses. Weekend trips and most events cost money, but so does getting beers with friends, going out to eat, and collecting classic cars. How many cars do you need? When I only had my ’97 Acura Integra Type R and ’73 Datsun pickup, I spent a lot more time on the circuit, carving California canyon roads, and the Datsun even kept me spinning wrenches on a weekly basis. My point: don’t forget why you love cars. Don’t forget to enjoy vehicles from behind the wheel!
The last few months, I’ve made it my personal goal to attend as many automotive events possible and the journey related expenses have been well worth the price of admission—and I’ll be the first to admit: I’m not loaded. Get behind the wheel and drive. We only get one shot at life so invest in motoring experiences because, in the end, those memories are priceless.
Photography by: Asphalt Heritage Club, Lucile Pillet, Andrew Schneider, Sean Lorentzen, Afshin Behnia, Chris Gonzalez