Monday, February 3, 2014

Things you should know before you go...

Before you go abroad for a year of on-the-go traveling, there are many things you should know. Here is one that I belatedly learned today.

You should know how to drive a manual transmission car before. You see, manuals are always cheaper to rent. And if you are traveling with someone who knows how to drive a manual, you will undoubtedly choose to rent one to save a few bucks. No biggie, you think. That other person will always drive. Easy-peesy. Problem solved, money saved.

Well, what happens when your manual-driving partner launches their paraglider first and you can't get off the mountain because of high winds? And then your sweet partner can't top-land, also because its too windy and so lands at the beach down below? Well, I'll tell you. You, the one who cannot drive a stick, finds yourself with the car on the top of a mountain wondering, how hard can it be?

And that's when you remind your partner of them dilemma, gently suggesting perhaps this is the time you figure out how to drive a stick. Now, if your partner is like mine, he will kindly respond that now might not be the best time, but that he'll teach you later that day.

So you (or me in this real example), propositions a random South African gentleman to give her a life down to the beach in her own car which she, hilariously, cannot drive. Luckily the guy is nice and not creepy and shares insider tips on the best places to go in South Africa as he safely drives your car down to the beach where hubby awaits. Seriously. This happened to me today.

And then, the second miracle of the day, hubby makes good on his promise and teaches me to drive a stick, -- without either one of us cussing or getting pissed at the other. I know, today was our lucky day!

Still, learning how to drive a stick, in a country where they drive on the other side of the road and where you are sitting in what is normally the passenger seat, trying to dodge overgrown bushes without stalling the car on a road without lines, is really quite the feat. I did get the hang of it, and rather quickly I must add. But still, apparently not well enough for hubby to let me drive home on the freeway. Perhaps tomorrow.


  1. So proud of you! And also now feeling bad that I never taught you myself - on Dad's car or something. I need the Subaru's transmission for a while ;)

    Good going, hot stuff.

  2. Look at it this way: there will be plenty of RENTALs to practice on - and, eventually, you will be driving on the ride side of the road again... hey, you never know, you may just end up buying a stick once you return :)

  3. Great job Michelle! You'll have to drive a manual transmission on one of the lovely Seattle hills one day when you're back in the area, that is the best. I did this at age 21....little scary at first that you'll roll back into the person behind you. Those cars are a lot more economical.