I’ve learned a few tricks to endure long car trips. Because our families live in the south, we must take day-long road trips to visit them for holidays. It’s one of my least favorite things in the world to be stuck in a car all day long. I dread it, and it nearly ruins the whole visit just thinking about the drive home. Every year, I try new techniques to get through the drive. This year, I had much better success by listening to Serial–the podcast from This American Life. It’s Investigative journalism in the form of a podcast about a crime, so it’s not for listeners who must endure gruesome details. But the point is that it absorbed my attention. I listened to it for 10 hours and could have listened for 10 more.

I love activities that absorb my attention: writing novels and reading a great book also do this. I also lose track of time (or at least time passes differently, quickly) when I’m walking in nature, teaching, or public speaking. It’s a great question to ask, “What are you doing that makes you lose track of time because you’re completely absorbed?”

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