Earlier today I was behind the wheel of my car, singing along to my music as I powered up the road home from Portsmouth – the most recent in a series of trips over the ten weeks since finishing my Master’s degree that have put a further three thousand miles on the clock. Had I travelled any other way it wouldn’t have been so simple to spontaneously stay for the cosy night of film watching and pizza we had after my hosts’ double date plans fell through yesterday, particularly given how infamously unreliable public transport is on a Sunday here in Britain… What’s more, journey times are often (though admittedly not always) quicker by car than even the fastest option by public transport, and sometimes cheaper given my car’s phenomenal fuel efficiency (66 miles to the gallon or thereabouts).
My love of driving extends far beyond its practicalities; I like that there is no timetable, no set route, and that I can be completely in control. Getting behind the wheel of my little black car lets the journey become part of the adventure on any trip – whether freely racing through country lanes, or late night cruises through deserted city streets that by day would be stationary with traffic, as if reserved solely for me to explore. While driving I have witnessed police chases, car crashes, and even once saw a lorry burst into flames. I even accidentally discovered my favourite skatepark by driving an alternate route to a shopping centre; by bus the route would have never changed.
But beyond the driving experience itself, my car has played host to many emotional events. I have thought up stories, worked through problems, and have had moments of inspiration so intense I have had to pull over to jot down a lyric or two. I have whooped with joy on the way home from landing a new trick on my skateboard, still loaded with adrenaline, and I have lost myself in music after a tiring or stressful day, finding respite in finally being alone, safe from the world in my own private little box. It is also where I once laughed and sang and dreamed with the person I loved, and where I sat alone and cried the night it ended.
Who knows where it’ll take me next.