Many years ago I did a road trip through France, Spain and Portugal with a campervan.* I loved the freedom of being able to go wherever we wanted and the ease of being able to stop and sleep whenever and wherever took our fancy. In recent years I’ve had similar experiences in the UK, first with my car and tent, and now with my van. I really want to be able to expand my trips to the continent but I have no experience of driving on ‘that’ side of the road and the thought of doing it for the first time on my own, without a second pair of eyes, is a little bit scary. I’m not so worried about going straight; it’s going round corners that’ll get me unstuck. I know from cycling experience how easy it is to nonchalantly turn a corner and automatically turn on to the British side of the road. And as for roundabouts … well, the less said about them the better. It took me long enough to learn how to do them here without having to do them back to front.
But sometimes opportunities just present themselves. I’ve said before that having a list makes ideas more concrete and although it doesn’t necessarily mean opportunities appear that wouldn’t have done without the list (that would be weird and new-agey) it does make the opportunities more noticeable and make me more likely to jump at them. Also it means other people may be aware of what I want to do and they may notice opportunities on my behalf.
Just before New Year I was contacted by a former colleague who said she needed someone with a van to drive her and a load of stuff down to her new caravan in France. At first I though ‘no’ because she was asking about the Easter holidays and I already have plans. But the idea had been planted and my mind kept involuntarily mulling it over. Although it didn’t seem too feasible I decided it would be worth looking into to see if I could fit a road trip to the South of France into my plans for my annual visit to Germany.
Too late. She’d already found someone else with a trailer to do the job for her. But she did mention the February half term and would I fancy a trip then? She would be driving herself and so I could tag along, have a few days there and then fly home whilst she remains there a bit longer. This would mean she’d have company for the journey down and the first part of her stay there. I told her I was interested and she’s just got back to me with flight prices (very reasonable) and asked if I’d mind sharing the driving. So if I go I’ll get to have my first driving experiences on the wrong side of the road! (Does she really know what she’s letting herself in for???)
This is much better than Easter too, as I’d been looking for something to do at half term and so far none of the ideas I’d had were working out. So if things go according to plan, it looks like I’ll soon be getting another challenge ticked off my list.
*I couldn’t drive when I did my campervan trip, so that time I was just the passenger.