There are few times that I am more at peace than when trundling down a motorway, the sunset in my rearview mirror and some decent music on the stereo.
This is not to say that I am a calm driver. Oh no. During daylight hours I can road-rage with the best of them. Cut me up and I will curse your entire family. Get too close to my car at traffic lights and prepare to be slaughtered at the alter that is my steering wheel.
And yet still, driving is my happy place.
I passed my test at 18, a necessity due to the remote locale of my childhood village. However, with less than a year under my driving belt, I disappeared off to university and my 1984 Nissan Micra was sold to help pay my rent. (Note: my beautiful car was sold to another new driver who wrote her off within 4 months by driving straight over a roundabout island. I’m not bitter, just very disappointed.)
It would be 12-years and several refresher lessons before I scooted my butt behind the wheel of a car again. 12 long, public transport filled years in which I quickly learned the best walking routes around my city just to avoid having to take a bus. Urgh, city buses.
In June of 2015, after much panicked calculations, actual panic attacks and crying fits, Slug joined our family. This shiny blue Fiesta has absolutely changed our lives. A bold claim that she more than lives up to!
I had forgotten how calm driving makes me, especially nighttime driving. When there is nothing but me, the street lights and some music I am perfectly happy. For all her flaws, my car is my temple of Mindfulness, the place where my head empties and is filled with satisfying silence. It’s my form of meditation. My own personal brand of Self-Care.
When I am alone and in need of a break from the relentless noise in my head, it’s not unusual for me to go for a destination-less drive. In the past year, I’ve driven to empty beaches, headed for the hills only to be distracted by driving along endless country lanes and discovered parts of Wales that I’d never heard of. Yes, it is an expensive way to find peace but it is my favourite way.
So, here’s to Slug. My beautifully flawed hunk of metal that has opened up a whole world of serenity and adventure. Long may you surprise us with your habit of cutting out the engine while going round corners and being a haven for spiders.