GET OFF THE ROAD, HIPPIE BEHIND THE WHEEL PT1
July 27, 2021
I have always fancied the idea of driving; all my friends do it, how hard can it be?
I have always dreamt of owning a motorhome; exploring the world in my home on wheels, attending festivals and exploring new parts of the UK, but that has never been enough to actually drive me (excuse the pun) to finally get the confidence and sign up for lessons.
But then during this pandemic I started this hippie clothing business and I started getting offers of festival pitches.
I couldn’t expect my friends to keep driving me and all my stock/equipment to these locations; so the time had finally come. Also my mum’s recent cancer diagnosis has meant a friend has had to keep driving her from Brighton to London for her treatment (thank you David, I will never forget it), which was an occasion I really wished I had my own vehicle.
I’m 56 years old and have not even sat behind the wheel of a car.
It has not been as easy to sign up to the lessons either. There is such a backlog of people wanting to get ready for their test (due to the pandemic lockdowns), that I got turned down time and again.
But after a lot of hard work and a lot of emails; I finally found a lady in Hampton, where I live.
Finally finding the guts to sign up for driving lessons felt really good and the new confidence was helped by my friend Louise who let me sit behind the driving seat of her new car to see how it felt. I felt confident and excited; its finally happening!!!
These will be the first driving lesson of my entire life.
While I was at it, I also wanted to learn to ride a scooter (the motorbike kind not those electric death traps), so that I can hire a scooter when I go back to India; squeezing in my CBT training in-between my other driving lessons.
Every time I travel to India I am amazed by the number of scooters and motorbikes everywhere. The scooter is the king of the road in India and a cheap and easy way to get around. I know this will be the best mode of transport for me when I eventually move to Goa for six months of the year, although I would prefer one of those beautiful Royal Enfield’s over a battered old scooter, but lets see.
So all systems are go and my driving lessons start on 5th August 2021!
Basically, learning to drive is something I have been procrastinating on for decades. As I explained previously, I want to buy, do up, and move into a hippiefied motorhome to save on rent and bills as I get closer to my big move abroad to India.
Apart from those six months every year when I return to the UK, my motorhome will also eventually act as a safety net for when I move abroad. If anything went wrong in India and I had to suddenly move back to the UK, I would not be left homeless because I could move back into my motorhome; so, it will be giving me peace of mind as well.
These were the reasons for my finally taking the leap and starting lessons, and I knew there was no point putting it off anymore.
So, almost a month ago after hovering over my computer for days with butterflies in my stomach, I had finally bitten the bullet and signed up to a local driving instructor. Two months later (gulp) I would be starting my lessons. I felt incredibly nervous and a little apprehensive as I didn’t know that much about cars. Statistics say that you are less likely to pass your driving test over 40.
I was happy to see that I am not the only one using the pandemic period to finally learn how to drive. Mary Sutcliffe of Whirl-y-Gig has just said on Facebook she too is now learning (or has learnt) to drive; fantastic Mary and good luck.
As you know it was not even a car that I was doing the lessons for, it was so that I could finally purchase that motorhome. But driving a motorhome must be a very different animal to driving a car; I would have to ask the instructor about my options going forward.
Perhaps paying for extra lessons after passing my test, for motorhome driving or long vehicle training or something.
So, lock up your pets, keep your granny indoors and keep off the roads, you better watch out: there’s gonna be a hippie behind the wheel!!
My journey has begun with a book; the same book I am sure many of you started with, the AA Theory Test, Practical Test and Highway Code: everything you need to know to help you pass your test.
I think riding a bicycle for many years helped me a lot when reading this book. I realised I knew a lot more about road signs and the Highway Code than I previously thought.
I also downloaded the DVLA online learning platform with Hazard perception videos and lots of practice tests. My next step after completing this is the mock theory test.
When I did the example theory test at the back of the AA book, I got about 80% of the questions right, not bad for a beginner.
Then I did the online DVLA mock theory test with nerves in my stomach. I got 90%; a pass!
I did it 4 more times with an average of 80% each time and got pass after pass which filled me with confidence. So I then felt confident enough to book the real theory test as there is a bit of a waiting list due to the aftermath of Covid lockdowns.
And so the time has come…
The next step is the most terrifying part by far; my first day behind the wheel.
Driving lesson one:
To be continued…..