I drove 1725 miles alone with my 7 month puppy—from New York to Detroit, Detroit to Chicago, and back to Brooklyn.
I got my puppy from Virginia 5 months ago. So technically he’s done a road trip when he was a baby. But, my husband and I did it together. We took turns behind the wheel. While one person set eyes on the road, the other held the puppy tight in their arms.
This time, I wanted to do a crazy road trip all alone with my puppy. Something impossible and physically challenging. So, I decided to drive down to Detroit—the first city I lived in when I moved to the States 5 years ago. A colleague I used to work with 11 years back planned on joining me mid-way.
At first I was freaking out. Doubts clouded my head. What if I caused an accident? What if my dog fell ill along the way? What if I hit a deer and lost control? Was it worth risking my dog’s life to try and prove that I could do this insane road trip?
On 19th October—I packed my suitcase, got behind the wheel, and embarked on my journey. I had made preparations for the trip a month in advance. But, nothing turned out the way I had envisioned. From hotel rooms, to the travel iternrary, to my dog jumping up and down in the backseat—it was a mad mad roller coaster ride.
At first, I got angry at myself. I thought I am an awful planner. I should’ve known better. I should’ve had backups for last minute changes. I should have crated my puppy. I should’ve ensured that the hotels I booked allowed dogs. I should’ve known that cleaning pet hair off a car rental costs extra money. I SHOULD NOT HAVE MADE MISTAKES…
But, if I knew everything—what was the point of a road trip at all?
I met Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim woman to be elected to the US Congress on this trip. I photographed the resurgence of Detroit by venturing into neighborhoods deemed “unsafe.” I spoke to strangers in downtown Chicago asking them to pose for me—an immigrant photographer—right outside Trump tower. And each time I made a mistake, I figured out a way to get back on the road—confidence intact.
I realized that even though it sounds hackneyed—LIFE IS A ROAD TRIP! You can sulk about an exit you missed or a turn you could’ve taken. But, if you are present in the moment—you’ll figure out how to make the wrong turns right.
After-all not making mistakes is the biggest mistake of all: