“I must say, you’re driving quite well,” Mr. Wanderlust complimented me on our second day in NZ. No sooner had he uttered those words that I drove over a curb while manoeuvering a roundabout. A few days later, on our way to Maclaren Falls, we had our first taste of navigating winding roads at 100 km/h. We have also experienced the thrill of driving near the awe-inspiring Karangahake Gorge on the way to Auckland. It felt like an adventure at the time. It still is, but we now feel more comfortable driving on NZ’s beautiful roads, both in town and in rural areas.
Immediately after landing, following a five-hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver, then an 18-hour flight to Auckland and a significantly shorter flight to Tauranga, we hired a car for our first few days in NZ. We were able to load that car with a few pieces of our luggage. We paid for a taxi to transport the remaining suitcases to the house in which we are staying. I circled the taxi, to the amusement of the driver, before recalling that here, what I had come to know as the passenger side is, in fact, the driver’s side.
We had planned to start driving in NZ immediately following our arrival. We felt that this was the best strategy to allow us to become used to driving on the left side. We knew that the sooner we were to get out on the road, the sooner we would feel comfortable driving in our new place. It is easy for me to overthink and overplan, quickly pushing myself to a point of mental and emotional fatigue. Instead, on our second day in NZ, I announced to Mr. Wanderlust that I was to drive the car to the grocery store and to run a few additional errands.
Mr. Wanderlust and I recently watched The Holiday, and laughed at the scene in which Cameron Diaz’s character freaks out when she get behind the wheel of a car in England. Fortunately, that experience was far from our reality.
Just as, on our first day, I continued to remind Mr. Wanderlust to stay closer to the centre of the road, he did the same for me, reminding me to avoid the curbside and parked vehicles. Before entering or exiting a parking lot, we reminded each other to stay to the left. We also quickly learned to navigate the numerous roundabouts in our city.
These days, we enjoy the serenity of driving along our small city’s two-lane roads. Goodbye, the stress of the 401! The dunes that separate the beach from the road along which we drive to take the Wanderlust Juniors to school in the morning feel like home. Equestrians on horseback can often be seen practising on the grass in front of the dunes. From time to time, we ride alongside tractors on their way to a nearby farm. We are most certainly not in Toronto, but this other T-town is slowly starting to feel like home.
Here’s to going out and winging life, instead of staying at home and contemplating the next move!
If you are reading this on July 1st, we are wishing all our Canadian friends a wonderful 150th Canada Day!