Gaining Insight and Elevating Expectations | The 2019 Honda Insight

HondaJet 2019 Honda Insight

Some experiences in life take you by surprise, remind you of what’s possible and elevate your expectations. This was so not the story I was expecting to tell when I first received the invitation to drive the 2019 Honda Insight in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I expected to come back sharing a story of my fondness for thoughtful, hybrid vehicles and their makers, i.e. the 2019 Honda Insight. It’s safe to conclude it became a little bit more.

Remember when you were a kid and sort of had this underlying feeling that anything was possible or something wonderful could happen at any moment? I left Minnesota dreaming a little bigger and reminded that joy is often just waiting to be found. I hope when you are finished reading you come away a little more inspired and ready to dream a little bigger too. ( If you would like the condensed info on the 2019 Honda Insight, check out my latest article at ThrillsandWheels.com)

Arriving at Hotel Ivy

After meeting up with a new friend and my drive partner for the trip at the airport. I arrived at the Hotel Ivy, where I would be staying on this trip. Hotel Ivy features nearly 2 dozen luxury suites, a fitness club and one of the best spas in Minneapolis. The guest rooms were spacious, with comfy beds, a sitting area, and a large desk space. The limestone bathrooms were spa-like with both a glass shower and deep soaking tub. It has some very unique features and history I’ll share with you in a post of its own soon. I’d highly recommend making a reservation for a stay here if you’re planning a trip to Minneapolis anytime in the near future.

Hotel Ivy

After getting unpacked and making myself at home in my room, my new friend and I were off to explore “the tunnels” of Minneapolis. These “tunnels” are really called the Minneapolis Skyway System. They connect various buildings over 80 full city blocks and 11 miles of pedestrian walkways. It’s really quite fascinating even if I did feel a little like a hamster in a cage trying to make sense of them all at first. We spent a couple of hours exploring the skyway system, getting in a count of just under 8,500 steps before dinner.

The Guthrie Theater

The Amber Room

photo credit: plsn.com

Dinner that evening and our official introduction to the 2019 Honda Insight would take place at the Guthrie Theatre. After reading the vision of the Guthrie I couldn’t imagine a more inspiring place to partner with for this occasion.

The vision of the Guthrie is this:

“to create transformative experiences that ignite the imagination, stir the heart, open the mind, and build community through the illumination of our common humanity.” 

Sold. You had me at transformative experiences and talk of community building.

The Amber Room is Solid Gold


Along the top floors is a viewing area called the Amber Room. This was our space to mingle before the event introduction. The room is made of glass that is tinted in a yellowish tone that is best described as a living Instagram filter. From this space, you can take in a panoramic view of the river and the surrounding city that is no less than breathtaking and a perfect place for gaining a new perspective. This is definitely a place I would consider making an entrance because I’m creative and fancy like that.

Honda Insight Introduction

Taking New Roads in the 2019 Honda Insight

The next morning was breakfast, presentation, and drive day. I actually look forward to the presentation portion as much as the drive time. I was always a really good student in school. The Honda team always has an exceptionally well-prepared presentation in all forms of communication- kudos to them for that.  There are usually really nice pens involved too (I love nice pens almost as much as nice flowers)

Honda Insight Presentation

It was finally time to drive. Like everything in the Honda line-up, the Insight is a great car. It doesn’t immediately make you think hybrid, no dramatic exterior or colors that give it away. I like to think of it as the Clark Kent, just waiting to save the day. It is the perfect vehicle for anyone interested in making the first transition to hybrid life.

You guys know I like nice things and behind the wheel, I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing anything. Driving the Honda Insight at Touring trim level carries many features I look for with larger 17-inch wheels, navigation, a power moonroof, dual-zone climate controls, leather-trimmed and heated power front seats and a large 8-inch HondaLink infotainment system all at an affordable $28,985.

In addition to features of comfort, you will also find the full range of safety and driver-assistive technology. Honda Sensing is standard on all Insight trims. It fully met my requirement of non-negotiable features at an incredibly reasonable price point. (For full details on the LX/ EX/Touring trim levels and pricing click here)

We Found a Beach!

Honda Insight New Roads

Did you know that there are beaches in Minnesota? Are there beaches in Minnesota?? Actually, I’m not really sure. This was my first time visiting. We may have crossed over into Wisconsin. We were thoroughly enjoying the drive and may have missed a turn here or there. Although we were off-course a bit, it didn’t feel like we were completely lost.  Sometimes the wrong turn is exactly where you are supposed to be.

At this point, we were definitely off course but had reached the “let’s see where this road goes” phase of our adventure.  Imagine our surprise when at the end of this beautifully shaded, curvy road was a totally empty beach! It was really like stumbling on a movie set or something. We opted not to worry about getting sand in our shoes and pulled over to explore. 

2019 Honda Insight Beach

It was super peaceful and totally unexpected. We took a few pictures and then headed out. I could have probably spent the rest of the afternoon there and been completely happy but I definitely didn’t want to miss out on what was coming next.

Honda Insight Beach 3

Living my best Top Gun life in the HondaJet

Honda Insight Friends

We headed immediately over to our lunch destination at Holman’s Table located in the Downtown St Paul Airport. We dined on the patio, enjoying our lovely meal while we waited for our scheduled flight time in the HondaJet to get an aerial view of Minneapolis—St. Paul. HondaJet is the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class.

HondaJet Collage

When it was our time to board, I had the opportunity to sit with the pilot. Of course, I said yes! I so wish I could tell you I played it cool but the ear to ear smile could literally be seen across the tarmac.  Basically, I was living my best Goose-Maverick-Top-Gun-aviator-wearing life that day.  It was an awesome, multilayered experience that I will not forget. It is no exaggeration to tell you I can feel my entire face light up every time I think or talk about it. I will never be able to play it cool. This smile will give me away every time.

Honda Insight Friends

It really is the little things

As if the day couldn’t have gotten more magical, this happened. When I exited the building, I could swear I heard the sounds of an ice cream truck.

Guyssss…. THERE WAS AN ACTUAL ICE CREAM TRUCK WAITING OUTSIDE AFTER OUR PRIVATE JET RIDE! Was this real life?? 

I could pick any kind of ice cream I wanted. Childhood dreams becoming real.

I selected my ice cream bar and enjoyed it next to a friend sitting on the steps outside the airport in the warm breeze. In case you were wondering, I got the Strawberry Crunch Bar, obviously.

Honda Insight Ice cream

In summary

Remember in the beginning when I said: Some experiences in life take you by surprise, remind you of what’s possible and elevate your expectations?  This entire trip was a series of moments that reinforcing all of that. Living a joy-filled life is all about the sum of moments like this. They happen all the time if you look for them and expect something wonderful to happen. Here are 3 life lessons I will be taking away from this adventure :

  • Be open to adventure and don’t worry too much about taking a wrong turn. Trust your path, even if it looks a little different than everyone else’s.
  • A new perspective can make a situation look entirely different. Make sure you have looked at what you are working on from all angles. MSP looked entirely different through the yellow tint of the Amber Room than it did flying overhead in the HondaJet or even driving it at street level in the Honda Insight.
  • Remind yourself each day that anything is possible. Don’t limit yourself. The potential for your dreams really is unlimited. You never know when YOUR ice cream truck is going to be waiting outside after a private jet ride.

I want to say a HUGE thanks to Honda for making this trip possible. As is common in the industry all travel, accommodations, etc were provided for.

Taking New Turns & Turning Heads : The Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

Everyone has a way of marking the timeline of their life. Your grandparents may have dated theirs with “Well, when Eisenhower was president…” Some will calculate seasons by who they were romantically involved with. Mothers and fathers measure timelines with dates of pregnancies or children’s birthdays. Growing up in an automotive family, the stories I heard always included memories categorized by the cars that were driven. Cars were always a significant part of the story. Just like this one.
At a time when most of my friends were still in college finding themselves, I found myself in a driveway restarting my life in a sporty red Honda Civic. This was a pivotal point on my timeline. Looking back, this place in my past was one of the most uncertain times of my entire life. As a recently separated single mother, this was literally the key to making this new life work. Staring down the hood, I came to a powerful revelation. I was doing more than taking ownership of a car that day. I was also taking ownership of my life. I held the keys in my hand and took a deep breath as if the oxygen filling my lungs would replace the trepidation inside. The next steps would require a monumental amount of endurance, resiliency, determination and confidence.
It was a fun car to drive and great fit for my personality but it meant so much more to me than that. Owning that Civic was the security I needed to arrive on time to the 55-65 hours a week required to make this new life possible. It provided a place of solace when my two babies were incessantly crying and my arms were too tired to hold or rock them a minute longer. Secure in their car seats, we drove until tiny eyelids could finally be seen blinking in slow motion in the rear view mirror. I’d drive a bit longer to make sure that sleep was certain and then find a spot overlooking a lake or park that had gone quiet for the evening.

At the end of long days like this, inside this car was where I shed tears, sorted through my thoughts and worries, and reassured myself “we really were doing a good job getting there ” (even if I didn’t quite know where “there” was yet). Through every curve, tight corner, and rough patch I got there.
Several years later, I found myself handing over the keys to a new owner. It very much felt like the end of a journey. I was both relieved and sentimental thinking about the feat it was to purchase that car at that point in my life. It was the proof I needed to refute echos of “you’ll never make it on your own. You are going to fail”.  But I hadn’t failed. I had persevered and proven to the world I could.

seaplane Honda Civic Type R

Years went by without another Honda in my driveway but late this summer, I received an invitation to sit in the driver’s seat of a 2017 Honda Civic Type R as it makes its entrance into the US market. We would arrive by seaplane to stay at the beautiful Alderbrook Resort & Spa, driving the winding roads of Washington State, and have the opportunity to fully test the Civic Type R with a few fast laps on the track at the Ridge Motorsports Park. Beautiful scenery, luxury accommodations, and fast driving who could say no to that?

Yet, I hesitated for 3 days before sending back my reply of acceptance. It wasn’t due to lack of excitement about the invitation. Ties to emotional memories are powerful in that way, friends. Somewhere deep inside hid a small part of myself wondering if the smallness I felt in years past would come rushing back when once again I positioned myself in the drivers seat of another Honda Civic.

This certainly wouldn’t be the same Civic from my past- FAR from it. In a respectful parallel, I was also now far from the young 22-year-old woman who once stood alone trying to regain her confidence. Was I really as strong and confident as I imagined myself to be? Was I trying to prove something to myself? This invitation offered an opportunity to find out. I knew there was definitely a story to be told here. If nothing else I’d have the opportunity to prove my driving skills as the limited production Type R is manufactured in manual-transmission only.

On the track Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R has been sold in Japan, Europe, and Australia for decades now. Enthusiasts in the US have been anxiously awaiting its release here in the states. The mere mention of the front-wheel-drive lap-time record at Nürburgring of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds, delivering 306 horsepower and 296 pounds of torque seemed to be all thats needed to create an inner desire to get behind the wheel.

On the track in the Honda Civic Type R

Taking New Turns and Turning Heads in the Civic Type R

Bell Helmets Honda Civic Type R

My drive opportunity during this trip in the Type R offered the full range to experience every capability this car is equipped for. It allowed us driving speeds of 122+ mph on the track at The Ridge Motorsports Park. You’ll never find out how truly capable you are until you position yourself in a place to challenge yourself and your limits. This seemed like the ideal place to test limits.
On the track Honda Civic Type R

Even at increasing speeds the Type R enters every turn with precision, simultaneously keeping its passengers firmly embraced in its red and black sport seats.

The D-shaped steering wheel, sport pedals and aluminum shifting knob are a consistent reminder of what this car is engineered for. The distinctive design of the Type-R is as functional as it is head turning.

Honda Civic Type R rear view
Side angle of the Honda Civic Type R

Checkered flag Honda Civic Type R
It’s so head turning in fact that my drive partner Scotty ( you can read her take on the Type R here) and I were flagged down along our route by a local and his wife, to discuss how he could purchase a Honda Civic Type R of his very own that very day. Obviously, we couldn’t sell him ours but we assured him we’d connect him with someone who could.

Fans of the Honda Civic Type R We continued the transition from track to road finding the only difficulty was making the mental shift to drive lower local speed limits, shifting gears was always smooth. It was fun to drive fast but it just as comfortable for long drives on the road. Outfitted with comforts of a 7 inch display, 12 speaker sound system, and climate control you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more time in this car. If your day to day life is like mine seeming to always move along at record speeds, well, this car can certainly keep up with that too.

The three drive modes in the sporty Civic Type R (Comfort, Sport, and +R) offer ideal driving dynamics adjusting things like steering and throttle response, transmission, and rev matching which made transitioning from a speedy track drive into a comfortable road trip nothing but smooth sailing.

Honda Civic Type R drive modes

Honda Civic Type R alderbrook resort

As we completed our drive and pulled back into the property at Alderbrook Resort & Spa, I had a few minutes to reflect in my suite before our group would be actually setting sail for an evening dinner cruise on the Hood Canal.

Alderbrook resort and spa

 

I noted that not once had my concerns of the past hindered my day or drive. My day had been filled with meaningful conversations, new experiences, beautiful scenery, and a feeling of truly being present. Isn’t the ability to appreciate every beautiful person, live fully in the moment, and just find ourselves with the ability to be present the goal we all have for our lives? I’m pretty certain that’s the only KPI that truly matters. Achieving a life we are proud to live. Well done, Honda.

Although reassessing a journey of where we’ve been and how we got there can make us all feel vulnerable, ultimately it helps us arrive at a place of authenticity. It helps us to reaffirm the confidence in ourselves at every stage of our life.

Alderbrook resort and spa room

Many Thanks & Appreciation to Honda
It was an honor to be a guest of Honda experiencing the Type R drive in such a thoughtful and authentic way. As is typical, all accommodations and travel were provided. Additionally all experiences, opinions and storytelling are authentically my own.