I’m always banging on about international travel changing the way we view the world and ourselves. I always thought you had to step on a plane for those kinds of experiences. But today I was challenged to think that the humble road trip could do the same.
I had planned on taking a road trip to York Peninsula for two reasons. I was hoping to create some space to relax and recharge after a super busy couple of months of work, travel, then more work and travel. Plus Christmas had been thrown in with my worst effort to date – I sent out no Christmas Cards, didn’t put up any decorations or the tree. Life just got too hectic. I realised that nothing bad happened as a result of that (mental note for next year)!
But I had to check out Stenhouse Bay to scout some accommodation for one of our 2017 tours so I could finalise the last of the arrangements for this trip. I was super excited about hitting the road for 300+km. I love a road trip, with or without husband in the front seat. That feeling of freedom and open road is just awesome. It reeks of adventure and hey we all know how much I am addicted to that. Especially with the sun out and a summer feel in the air and good tunes on the radio.
Everyone else clearly felt that way too, because even for a Wednesday the roads were heavy with cars, caravans, motorhomes, trucks and I am quite sure, every wide load that was due to leave Adelaide and head to Port Wakefield that day.
I copped wide load after wide load and slow vehicles all moving about at a dreamy slow summer pace. I gave the cops massive thank you waves when they let me pass and while I wasn’t really in a hurry I knew I had a big day of driving ahead.
Ultimately my destination was Wallaroo via Stenhouse Bay in Innes National Park and I wanted to get there in the afternoon so I could start my unwinding and “space creating”.
I LOVE my space. I am by nature a hugely social creature – I exhaust myself sometimes with how much I fit in on a daily basis and how much I can talk and laugh at any given time (both during exercise and at rest!) and have found that I am operating more and more on 2 speeds – Go or Stop. With this comes the need to have space and silence just to be with me. I actually like spending time with me, I enjoy my own company. I even enjoy dialogue with myself. I talk out loud and often get awesome answers to my questions. It is like my higher-self kicks in for these conversations and I find myself guided by this helper of mine. Which is actually me. Hehehehe! Have I confused you yet?
I seem to have better luck with solving problems or issues that on a day to day basis stump me if I just give myself some space. The added benefits of this is working into the night guilt free, not cooking much just eating when I feel like it and with this, my creativity grows, I think straighter and well, I guess I have the opportunity to become a better version of myself, mostly.
Today though I experienced a yucky version of myself. I found myself swearing under my breath at a Lexus that decided to overtake me just outside of Port Wakefield but then sit in front of me at 95km an hour in a 100km speed zone. Why overtake me then to only go slow? I said out loud. It just didn’t make sense.
I’m not normally an aggressive driver or a need for speed kind of driver either but I found it frustrating that this car would do this. I’m not confident at overtaking and there was a lot of holiday traffic so I sat behind these vehicles and simply waited. My higher self was starting to lecture about slowing down and just letting it happen. I didn’t argue.
I turned on my favourite playlist and singing my heart out I found myself in a section of the Yorke Peninsula near Brentwood that as a child we had done Gypsy Wagon Holidays with Clydesdale horses towing these little gypsy caravans from town to town along the coast. I recognised the street signs and places where we stayed the night. I was probably only a teenager then and those lovely memories of spending time with my brother and sister, my mum and my cousin and auntie came flooding back to me. Nostalgia set in.
The only thing I found myself thinking about after that was what kind of hand signal to be waving at the oncoming traffic. Locals on the Peninsula give the one finger wave (a friendly pointer finger not the bird!) or the friendly two fingers or the whole hand. Or both sets of fingers on both hands. I could feel myself relax finally.
I reached Stenhouse Bay at lunch quickly inspected the property and decided to have lunch at Marion Bay. Wow. I had a seafood pie which was probably the most exotic pie I’d ever eaten in my life. I had forgotten how much love was put in the humble pastry in the country bakeries. It was magnificent and even had a little fish on the pastry lid. How cute I thought.
Realising that I still had quite a drive to get to Wallaroo. I decided to stop at Minlaton where I discovered a chocolaterie so I had to partake in a mocha milkshake and for the second time in one day I realised that I had reached culinary Utopia. I had consumed beautiful country food that made my belly and palate sing.
Back on the road, I accidentally pulled in front of another vehicle with a caravan towing uphill while turning onto the highway and my car couldn’t go as quick as them from the low gear I had started in, I could feel the driver behind glaring through the rearview mirror at me. He could have opened the boot of my car he was so close. Sorry I said out loud – I don’t think a sorry wave would have helped at that point. Though we could have shaken hands – almost. I gained speed eventually and the caravan disappeared behind me. Phew I thought.
Within minutes I had a grain truck pull out in front of me in a 100km zone giving me luckily enough time to put the brakes on and slow down. The truck was a B double and then while travelling at super slow speed proceeded to flick a continual shower of grain on me. Talk about Karma.
While the car tyres hummed on the bitumen I started to think about farming, harvest, the weather patterns recently and the struggles of those living tough in rural areas. My mind eventually wandered to what I was really learning about on this road trip.
I reflected about my day of driving. I was embarrassed about my reactions earlier to the slower vehicles and varied driving skills, my own included (that poor caravan driver). So focused on the destination, I had overlooked the journey that it was meant to be. My higher self, gave me a good talking to. The journey was teaching me a lesson. The message of the day (especially that grain truck who insisted on firing grain at me) was to slow down. Not just in mind but in body, work, life too.
Once I arrived at Wallaroo – the first thing I looked at as I walked in the door was a wall hanging. The word RELAX screamed at me. After a 530km drive, yep I planned on doing exactly that.
Thanks Universe. Thanks Higher Self. Lesson learned.
What do road trips teach you?