I have been driving for more than 20 years but I have never driven more than 100 KMs in a day, ever before. Yeah! It takes time to sink in. TWENTY Years!!! Wow! Not even 100 KMs! OMG!
I never crossed this number before because I simply didn’t care about this number before. My reason for driving was independence and mobility. I never cared about the digits on the speedometer or the odometer (yes! I had to google it to know what it is called!). I also have a loving, protective, caring and dominating husband who never let me sit behind the driving wheel whenever he was along. Honestly, I never cared to, either. I always had my hands full with kids in the back seat who needed nappy changes, snacks, milk bottles or simply my hand to hold for the majority of the drive. Years sped by like this. Before I knew it, I developed a sense of identification with the passenger seat. I automatically sat into it even when I didn’t have to. My sense of identification was so strong that when someone asked me if I could play the Driver role for a 300 km mountain ride, I chickened out. This was the first time I realized I was scared shit of driving long distance. I never had. I thought I never could. I almost believed I never wanted to.
My inability to pick this role caused a few minor hiccups in the plan. I felt embarrassed. This incident got me thinking. Why did I believe that I couldn’t drive 300KM on mountain terrain? By then, I had 18 years of driving experience and no accidents on my record. I knew I was an experienced and safe driver. I decided that I would not let anything in the world to make me believe otherwise. I decided I will not remain satisfied being “A Passenger”. It is, after all, such a silly tag to carry with me, to my grave.
So I resolved to overcome my fear of driving long distances. I started few hours at a time and eventually came to a day where I achieved the goal that I had set for myself not 100 KMs but 300 KMs in one day.
I know it is a “No Big Deal” for those who have been driving long distance for years. But for me, it is a very big deal because it defines my latest attitude towards life. This achievement reminds me of a promise I have made to myself – I will never be scared of trying something that I have never done before. I have also promised myself not to be associated with comfortable tags like “Passenger” and challenge myself to higher roles.
This is my small achievement and it cannot be complete without thanking the people responsible for making it happen: Below is my list of Thank You’s:
- Thank you Toyna – My lovely daughter who constantly gave me company in the front passenger seat, feeding me and playing just the right music to keep me focused
- Thank you Yog – My notorious son, who for the first time in his life, sat comfortably in his car seat without demanding to sit in my lap
- Thank you Nanna – My doting Father-in-Law who trusted me with his car (and his life)
- Thank you Pavan – My protective husband, for choosing to be absent in this drive 😊
Closing Note to all dear Husbands – I understand that by choosing to be in the driver seat, your intent is to bear the load and protect your family. But honestly, the only way to protect anyone in the long term, is to make them capable enough so that they don’t need you by their side. I had no reason to be scared of driving long distance. But I was, just because I was never exposed to it. The next time you travel, encourage your wife to steer the car. While you are sitting in the passenger seat, reach back to hold your child’s hand and play some games with them. I am sure, you will sleep happier knowing that your wife can steer the car well in your absence. Believe me, your wife will sleep happier knowing that your kids will feel safe and happy, even in a long drive, in her absence. Cheers to many more long drives together!