I’ve come to really enjoy driving. At first it was slightly terrifying to be in sole control of a two tonne battering ram on wheels. Especially one that would jolt to “kill speed” at the slightest twitch of the right foot. But once I got the hang of it, I could cruise the coastal countryside on a whim at high speed without breaking a sweat. At its best, my car was my own teleportation device, just in slow motion, with a beautiful view, great tunes and the warmth of the summer sun tempered by the gush of windows-down breeze.
During an 18 month period ending in 2016 whilst living on the outskirts of Sydney, running a market stall business and intermittently roadtripping during the summers. I racked up about 40,000 km: an average on 70km a day; probably driving 12-15 hours a week; that’s further than to London and back from Sydney. Anyway I did a lot of driving! And I really enjoyed it. There was a comforting sense of control once I got behind the wheel, confident in my abilities and no longer afraid of the “kill” factor. Especially when driving familiar and habitual routes, I would enter an automated trance-like state. The kind of meditative state where my mind could relax and process it’s thoughts, while at the same time drive competently and safely. Even when I was stressed out of my mind and the traffic was horrendous and I was running late, I think I had an easing balance of control (of the vehicle) and surrender (to the flow of traffic and chaos). In an unexpected way, driving became a type of meditation for me, a place where I could just be and to contemplate.
Three months ago I traded my car in for a scooter. Eager to live a more minamalist lifestyle with a lesser environmental footprint and lesser financial burden, I was also keen to master riding a scooter in preparation my next trip to South-east Asia.
I could not and still cannot drive this scooter. Every time I even looked at it, I was starkly reminded of the fear and the “kill” factor when first learning to drive a car, only now it was not a pedestrian’s life in danger, but my very own. This paralysing fear had thwarted my mastering the scooter. As a result, I have been afforded no teleporting abilities and no meditative moments from said scooter, only harsh lessons in humility, mortality, control and other indigestibles.
Alas, I have left the lame mechanical beast behind. I have since teleported to the island of Borneo. A vast untouched wilderness where pristine tropical rainforest ecosystems can still be found. I have come to see the natural wonder of the rich Borneo jungles, before they vanish into myth and legend.