Category Archives: Blog

What I learned from driving 862 miles in 1 day in a Tesla

I checked out from my hotel and started out from downtown Nashville at exactly 6.30am. As per Google maps, the entire drive was meant to be 13 hours straight shot, but given that Zoomy (my car, aka the diva), needs charging along the way, I ballparked an extra 3-4 hours to my trip.

I was shooting to get into NJ by around 11.30pm to 12.30am Eastern Time. Even though I was mentally prepared for the long drive, I was also prepared to stop along the way and continue my trip on Sunday if I started feeling too tired. I kinda wanted Sunday to be my couch day at home, so I was hoping to make it in 1 day.

But then again, I was also prepared to drive into a fascinating new city (Philly? Richmond? DC?) where I could hole down for a week. Essentially, when I set out, even though I knew I was going to Jersey, I was also open to new adventures if they were thrown my way. This is another perk of traveling solo. You get to follow your heart!

When I set off at 6.30, this is what the Tesla route planner told me my day was going to be like.

You have to bear in mind that Tesla is reporting all times in Central Time in the above picture. This means that even though it reports an arrival time of 9.30pm, that’s actually 10.30pm Eastern Time. Nashville is in Central Time and New Jersey is in Eastern Time and Tesla’s clocks report time in whatever the current timezone is set to. It doesn’t even call out that we will be crossing timezones.

The drive was fairly smooth, even though I hit a thunderstorm just as I pulled into the Mt Jackson supercharger around 6pm. I was warned of this thunderstorm by my friends in NYC, since it was making its way from the East Coast.

Once parked in front of the supercharger, with the rain pouring down, I Googled whether it was safe to charge in a thunderstorm. The answer is yes.

This particular supercharger was thankfully at a gas station/convenience store. While letting my car charge, I ran into the convenience store when the rain broke momentarily. By the time I got my coffee and was ready to go back to my car again, it had started pouring.

The Tesla superchargers were installed quite a walk away from the store, so I waited for a break in the rain to make a dash back to my car. While waiting, an airline pilot struck up a conversation with me. We talked for about 10 minutes about California and New York and life in Virginia versus the big cities, before each of us decided that we should probably dash out.

I often wonder about the brief acquaintances we make throughout life. I’ve met some really cool people and shared some genuine moments with some amazing people across the world. For a brief time, our lives interwine and we share a moment. And then we go our separate ways never to see each other again.

One of them is the front desk host at the second hotel I stayed at in Nashville. She was amazing, and went above and beyond her job description. She would greet me everyday by my first name and always had a cheery smile on her face.

I wonder how long it would be before she forgets my name, and I forget hers. And how long it will be before we both forget about each others existence. Does it matter? Probably not. We are not meant to retain everyone that comes into our lives.

Heading out from Mt Jackson, and driving out into the thunderstorm, I got to see some amazing lightening formations in the sky late into the evening. My friends tell me I take a lot of pictures, but half the time, the things that I retain the most in my mind’s eye are things I don’t capture on camera.

These memories linger and show up years later in my writings. Maybe someday I’ll write about the lightening that split the sky on that drive from Nashville to the Jersey Shore.

But anyway, you’re not here to read about lightening or about interactions with random strangers. If you’ve made it this far, you’re here to find out about the key takeaways from my massive one day drive in a Tesla.

45 mins of charging per 3 hours of driving

My diva needs a 45 minute feeding break for every 3 hours of driving. What this means is that for a 13 hour drive (which is how long it takes to drive from Nashville to the Jersey Shore), add in an extra 3 hours for charging.

Tesla Supercharger, Whytheville, VA

This isn’t so bad really, because it sort of forces you to stop and stretch your legs, eat while not driving, take a nap etc.

Restroom breaks and food breaks can’t be combined with charging stops

Another huge callout is that unlike our gas guzzling peers’ fueling stops, the Tesla charging stops don’t always guarantee a restroom or a place to purchase food. For example, one of the charging stops was at an outdoor mall (Knoxville, TN) and another one was in a Hyatt parking lot (Whytheville, VA).

This means that unless you packed food, you will need additional food stops, and guaranteed separate restroom breaks. These stops ended up adding an extra hour to my entire trip.

Autosteer is reliable but be on alert

I love the Autosteer. I’m fairly certain this drive would have been exhausting had I not had the Autosteer. I thought it did pretty well in general, but I did have a couple of truck drivers honk at me while I was using it. I haven’t figured out why. Perhaps the car was hugging the lane too close to their truck? Perhaps they were worried because maybe I seemed distracted? I’m not sure.

Either way, I try to be as alert as I can when using it. But I also trust the Autosteer more than a human in being alert for 17 hours straight.

This is one example of why it pays to be alert when using the Autosteer. If the car in front of you starts braking slowly, the Autosteer wouldn’t pick it up until it gets too close to it, and then it slams on the brake. This is a scary experience and has caught me off guard a couple of times, especially when there were cars behind me.

In general the Autosteer does a good job of making sure you’re paying attention by having you apply pressure on the steering but on highways where the speed is expected to be constant, it doesn’t check in on you often enough.

Autosteer stops working if Tesla decides you’re distracted

If Autosteer asks you to apply pressure on the steering, and you don’t, even after it starts making warning noises, Tesla penalizes you by disabling Autosteer for the rest of the drive.

When this happens, one hack is to pull over, put the car into Park, and then back into Drive again. Autosteer will be available again for the rest of the drive. But please be alert.

In the end, I pulled into the parking spot in front of my home in Jersey at exactly 12.30am. I did very good on time. And the drive hadn’t felt excessively long.

In closing, I want to leave you with this song that I recorded while the Autosteer was doing its job.

What does “busy” actually mean?

I don’t like to say “I’m too busy for that”. If I can’t find the time to do something, I try to say “that’s not a priority at this moment”.

What are you busy WITH if it’s not the highest prioritized items in your life? Isn’t life about finding time for what’s most important anyway?

Having said that, this week has been one of those weeks where finding time on my calendar has been tough. But you find time for things that are most important anyway.

If not, accept it for what it is and free yourself of the guilt of not having got to it. Just admit that it’s just not a priority in your life at the moment. If not, you’d have done it. And the thing is, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you’re happy.

Third Wave

I worked from a coffee shop in Nashville today. It’s called the Barista Parlor Golden Sound, and it’s a converted recording studio in Music Row, with garage doors and a wide open floor plan.

As I sat down at one of the sparsely populated benches, it didn’t escape me how different working from a coffee shop felt in Nashville vs Bangalore.

I compare the two because I spent a considerable amount of time working from Bangalore during my 4 month work-from-India stint earlier this year, and it looks like I’ll be spending at least a couple of weeks in Nashville.

When I spend more than a few days in a city, I like to take it easy. I like to pretend like I live there, and do “everyday things”; things like laying in bed all day and not leaving my room. You get the vibe.

Something else I like to do is spend part of my work day at a local coffee shop.

After spending all day lounging around “working from bed” yesterday, I decided to find a local coffee shop today. After my morning workout, and my morning meetings, I headed to a coffee shop to grab some brunch and coffee, planning on spending the rest of my work day working from there.

As I looked over the top of my laptop screen, perusing the population, I felt an intense longing for being back on the front terrace at the Third Wave Coffee Roasters in Indranagar, Bangalore; feeling the warmth of the tropics mixed with the busyness of people bustling all around you.

Barista Parlor Golden Sound, Nashville

Bangalore is a tech city. The coffee shops are filled with tech people. People pitching their startup ideas to potential investors. People talking to clients in a timezone where it’s past midnight. People busy with life. Bangalore felt alive in a very relatable kind of way. In a way, perhaps even more so than New York ever did.

Third Wave in Indranagar, Bangalore

Wrapping up my workday around 5pm, which is 6pm ET, I took a ganter around the wide open floor space of the coffee shop, looking over all the Barista Parlor merchandise available for purchase. My eyes landed on a package that said “optimizes water for coffee and tea”.

I thought this was hilarious. Seriously? Now we need to optimize the water for our hot beverages? So I took out my phone to click a picture. I zoomed in to make sure the subject was centrally aligned in my 1:1 snap. I gotta optimize the picture for instagram. I know. So meta.

And just like that, my eyes zoned in on the word “Third Wave”. Here in a coffee shop in Nashville, I found my Third Wave.

Life has a way of telling me that what I’m looking for is sometimes right in front of me. If only I zoom in a little.

Chasing Perfection

Sometimes you see the perfect life in front of you. And a part of you wishes you had that perfect life, filled with imagined comfort and imagined warmth. So you take a picture of it.

And then you realize the perfect picture you’re looking at is slightly crooked.

And just like that, all you see going forward is how that picture is slightly crooked. And how you should have probably angled the phone slightly differently when you’d taken that otherwise perfect picture.

It’s so easy to find imperfection in something you’ve always thought was perfect, when you start looking for the imperfections.

The idea of perfection. Such a figment of our imagination.

What a waste of a perfectly perfect life, chasing the perfect perfection.

Venado Caves – Costa Rica (11-13-2019)

About to plunge into the bowels of the earth.

The 1 hour 15 minute, drive from Arenal to the Venado Caves was one of the better decisions I made during my Costa Rica trip in 2019.

When I got to the caves, I was literally the only tourist there. After a while, couple of other folks joined me, which made the experience slightly less creepy.

It blows my mind that the system of underground caves is privately owned. I’m also in awe of the first human that decided to go down that hole that I have my legs in, and decide that it was big enough for a human to pass through.

I highly recommend this mostly over looked destination that’s slightly different from your regular mountains/beaches vibe. It’s a whole different dimension. If you’re claustrophobic, you probably wouldn’t enjoy this.

The creepiest story the guide told us while we were underground was when he was down there with some tourists back in the 90s, and an earthquake happened above ground. He said they never felt anything down there… I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if the cave entrance caved in during that earthquake.

#costarica #venadacaves #arenal #lafortuna #costaricawaterfalls #costaricatraveldestination

So Much Empty Land

I went to look at land upstate today. Land upstate is cheap. So cheap. And I’m comparing it to a) Manhattan standards, closely followed by b) Indian standards.

Manhattan real estate is muchos dollars. No surprise there. And Indian real estate is similarly so (at least in places I’d be interested in).

And then there is land upstate ??‍♀️

Sure land is cheap upstate. But the downside is that you also don’t get cellphone service up there. Especially deep in the mountains. So if you were to buy land up there, you would need to do a ton of work to get the land acquainted with the present day world (utilities, water, septic etc).

So this property that I was looking at – I wanted to see the stream that’s on the property, so I hiked the short slope down to the stream that looked more like a brook. I’m sure the “brook” comes out in full force when the mountains unleash the floodgates.

I’m well acquainted with the flash floods that can result from a sudden summer downpour in these mountains, having been caught off-guard while on a 6 mile/1200 ft elevation hike last year (joy).

The realtor had left before I decided to make my way down the slope. I realized once I got down to the stream that there was no cellphone service in the area. I kinda knew there LIKELY was no service, but it wasn’t until I got down that I realized, even though I wasn’t far from the road, and there was another house maybe .2 miles away, had I slipped and hurt myself, it probably would have been a bad situation. I don’t think my voice would have carried over to the neighboring house if I yelled.

As I listened to the soft and calming gush of water, blending in with the rustle of the wind in the trees, I wondered if maybe I should have come out here with a friend. I quickly dismissed the idea. I’m not sure who I’d have brought along with me. Or to be more precise, I can’t think of anyone who’d be into driving around all day looking at borderline inhospitable land.

As much as people give me credit for being an extrovert, and as much as I love to plan group events, and play an organizer role in several groups, I actually spend quite a bit of time by myself, mostly exploring ideas that formulate in my head.

This particular expedition is based on a muse that’s been running wild in my head for over a year now. I’m giving it time for it to settle, while I continue on with my research. I’d rather not get into the details of said muse, because like most muses, there is a chance this might shrivel and die.

But going back to all the empty land though…. so much empty land. And yet, in certain parts of the world, people live on top of each other because they’re constrained by the boundaries specified by their countries, when all they probably want is a bit of land to live on. I realize I might have oversimplified the economics of it all.

Yet I dream of a utopia where there are no boundaries. Where human beings are human beings. Free to roam. Free to spread and stretch out all over the world. The entire world. Free of religion. Where the only religion is empathy.

How do you unwind?

Le everyone: you should get an audio interface

It’s not that I don’t have an interface. It’s just that it’s hard for me to sit at a desk and record, especially after a long day at work, where I’m sitting at a desk the whole day.

When I get off work, I like to physically separate myself from the location where I spend most of my day. I believe this is especially important in the remote work life world where the walk from your office to your home is literally five steps.

Don’t get me wrong. I truly love my job, and wouldn’t have it any other way, but I also believe it’s important to unplug. If not, you risk burning out. I’ve been close to getting there in the past, especially during certain phases in my career where working crazy hours was glorified.

You are only worth half your true worth, if you’re not happy and fully mentally present. The only way you can do that is by giving yourself space to unwind and take care of yourself, whatever your outlet might me. This way when you come back to work, you are fully present and giving it your all.

As for me, I unwind by texting my friends while singing and strumming on the guitar, while playing netflix/prime in the background, while making instagram stories of all of this multi tasking – 5 steps away from my home office.

This is one of the reasons most of my recordings are raw and unedited and made with a cellphone. There really is not much thought behind my videos, or at least most of them. This is also a bit of how I live my life. If an exciting thought comes to me, I will act on it. If I’m strumming something that sounds ok to me, I prop up my cellphone and hit record and then upload.

Today I unpacked a bunch of my recording gear, and set up a separate corner of my living room where it will be easier for me to record audio, without having to sit at my puter desk. Somehow this corner doesn’t feel very office-y, even though there is a computer involved.

I also realize I haven’t had a recording corner in 3 years almost to the day. How time has flown by. I am excited to see if anything will come of this.

Extreme Confidence vs Preparation

My eyes landed on the bright red packaging. The letters “PM” in white screamed out at me.

Yes I know. PM. It’s meant to be taken in the PM. I’m gonna be knocked out if I take this during the day. But if I’m running a fever during the day, would I not be knocked out anyway?

It’s what I call “the Benadryl logic”. My allergies go away when I take Benadryl. Because I don’t notice the allergies when I’m knocked out.

“I should probably get it”. I told myself.

But… I know I have some Tylenol extra strength somewhere at home. There I go having an internal conversation with myself all over again. It bothered the extreme organizer in me that I hadn’t completely unpacked since my last move, and I didn’t know exactly where my Tylenol bottle was stored anymore.

It was likely sitting nestled in a box aptly labeled something along the lines of “vanity drawers, jewelry, and medicine”. My love for documention, and extreme and verbose naming, doesn’t contain itself to my work life, but rather, it spills over into all areas of my life.

“What good is Tylenol if you can’t find it when you’re running a fever?” I huffed to myself.

“I’m going to really regret not grabbing this Tylenol when I’m laying in bed tomorrow, staring at the ceiling, running a fever, too dead to move, let alone try and search for that old bottle of Tylenol in some neatly labeled moving box stored safely in the corner of a never used closet.

I continued to muse as I deftly bypassed the Tylenol PM package, and grabbed the generic brand sitting next to it, packaged in the exact bright red box, minus the word “Tylenol”. I scanned the package making sure I read the word “Acetaminophen” on the it before shuffling up the aisle so that I would be in line of vision of the pharmacist.

“Bavitha, we’re ready for you” I heard, as I neared the end of the aisle. I grabbed a bottle of Melotonin as I made my way over to the voice that called out to me.

“Right or left arm?” said the owner of the voice once I was seated in the black vinyl chair hidden behind a privacy screen.

“Left” I replied.

I was disappointed that she cupped her hand around the needle as it punctured my skin. I’ve always had a fascination for watching the needle go in, whether it is for a blood draw, or for a shot.

“Since this is your second shot, wait 10 minutes to make sure you don’t have any kind of reaction before you leave” she said.

I was familiar with the routine since I’d gotten my first dose at the same Walgreens 3 weeks ago. I walked over to the set of black vinyl chairs without the cover of the privacy screen in front of it, knowing that there won’t be any kind of reaction.

As I lay in bed right now, with that non Tylenol bottle still in its red packaging sitting safely on my nightstand, right next to my newly purchased bottle of Melotonin, which I’d never tried before, I am dead certain I’m not gonna be sick tomorrow.

Extrme confidence shouldn’t deter you from preparation. Words to live by for sure.

*Currently taking bets on whether I will or won’t get sick tomorrow.

Listen to your body

I started running 15 years ago because I hated my body. I was overweight and sluggish, and basically had 0 internal confidence, even though I did a great job of exuding major external confidence (which I realize is an important life skill).

I kept up my running for the next 15 years (passively, but consistently) because it became a drug for me. Slowly, running started becoming less about my body, and more about who I was within the body. I wasn’t doing it anymore because I felt “fat”. I was running because I started having that need in me to workout, without which I felt sluggish and incomplete. Being active became a part of my identity that I truly enjoyed.

At the expense of sounding hippie (is that PC?), I’m gonna say this – when I run, I get in touch with my true self. I’m not a long distance runner by any means, at least not anymore. I realize that’s a subjective statement. Sometimes all I do is a mile or two, especially lately. But the amount of clarity those two miles give me is hard to express.

When I injured my neck in 2014, it crushed me when I realized running was causing me pain, and I would have to give it up. At this point, we will not go into the details of the metal spiral that not being able to be active send me into, but to give you an idea of the struggle, and how it affected my work, workouts and all aspects of my life, here are a couple of excerpts from my journal from the time.

23rd Feb, 2016

My day started by catching the 6:38am train to Penn. I was back home at 7pm. I was in pain all day. Right arm feels awkward. I was dejected. Reading unsuccessful stories of ACDF surgery while on the train made me sad.

I'm happy to be alive! And functional!
29th Mar, 2017

My hands, which ones moved without a second thought feels heavy as I type to maintain my erstwhile 89 wpm momentum. My breath catches in my throat as I pretend not to notice. I will my hands to move. Letter after letter I type. Work feels like a chore now, I think as I readjust my body so that

Suffice to say it affected relationships. Yet sometimes I wonder if perhaps my injuries were caused by the stress from said relationships. These are unanswered questions. The body works the way it does. The best you can do is respect it. And listen to it.

During this time, I substituted running with walking, which over the years turned into what some might call “endurance hiking”, but what folks who actually do endurance hiking might call “a walk in the park”. Again. Subjective.

Please do not make the mistake of crediting me and thinking that my hiking was engineered by yours truly in any way in order to fix my injuries. I did not hike thinking that it will help me with my injuries one day.

I hiked because I needed a release; I wanted to feel exhausted at the end of it so that I would have no time to think. Or perhaps I did engineer it after all. I might have engineered it so that there would be no thoughts at the end of a long exhausting hike!

Long story short, over the course of the years, with the help of said endurance hiking, peppered with the constant background chime of well intentioned people saying I should lay in bed and be inactive for the remainder of my life, I slowly strengthened my neck enough to where I got back to running longer than a mile.

I remember doing a 6 mile run in 2019 and feeling surprised that my neck didn’t feel quite as janky as I would have expected it to feel*.

Now that I’ve hyped up running so much, let’s switch gears a bit. Running hasn’t been doing it for me lately. I’ve been feeling a bit like I’m in a rut. Sure, I still enjoy my occasional runs, but somehow I feel like I’m missing something.

One of the changes I made in order to fix this is to incorporate more weights into my workouts, thanks to my awesome coach. Even though I’m not completely new to lifting, whatever I used to do was extremely limited. Strenght training was more of a supplement to my running, vs now I’m kinda actually focused on it.

Right off the bat, the biggest difference I’ve been noticing (don’t laugh) is that when you’re out on a run, you literally have to get back home. This means you either walk home, which would take longer, or you run home, which is quicker. This means it’s harder to quit when you’re out on a run! The issue with more “home/gym” based workouts is that… you can quit whenever you want! Because… the couch is right there… It’s a mental shift I’m still getting used to.

Another big difference is that running keeps getting better the longer you go. The first half mile is blah, but it only gets better from there! Whereas with strength training, I’m finding that I’m more enthused during the earlier parts of my workout where I feel rawwwrrrr, but as I keep doing additional sets, my enthusiasm wanes.

So right now I’m working on making the last few sets as enjoyable as the final mile. Got tips?

As for the point of this blog – well I’ve been feeling a bit stressed lately. I didn’t realize I was stressed, but my neck has been bothering me. Sure, it could be the herniated discs. But I know my body enough to know that I must be stressed. And I started thinking about what truly helps me relieve stress. And I realize I haven’t been running as much. Maybe I should listen to my body.

*My neck is still janky most of the time and it’s a constant battle between me and my neck, and I have my off days, especially on days where im subconsciously stressed, like today, but I make sure I always win in the end.


Dusk reminds me of being at Thana. When I say Thana, it only means one thing. It means being at my aunt’s house on the Thana main road. Yes, that house with the peacocks.

When my mom needed to run errands during the day, and there were no baby sitters around, we’d be dropped off at Thana. It was always fun being dropped off at Thana especially when my nephews, who were around my age, were home on break.

Of all the dusks of my childhood, the only mental snapshot I took was while sitting on that black vinyl couch by the floor to ceiling window with the black grills in front of the side verandah. The sound of bus horns peppered the evening noises of the mosque prayers and commuters rushing home.

My nephews weren’t home on break that day. I don’t think my brother was there either. I was dropped off by myself. All I remember is sitting on that couch, probably with a book nestled in my hands. Books were my closest friends as a child.

And somewhere mid reading, just like that, I must have taken that mental snapshot that has stayed with me all these years. That is what dusk is to me. It’s the Thana bus horns honking away.

That is where I got transported as I stare at the sun shining a bright orange, as I sit high above the clouds in this dimly lit cabin. I’m not transported to an image of a sunset. I’m transported to a time and place when I experienced a sunset where all my relevant senses were satiated.