I’ve never really liked driving, and before we had children never felt the need to own a car. We lived in central London where parking was a nightmare and Steve has never learnt to drive, so we relied on London’s great public transport (strikes notwithstanding). After the birth of our first child, we continued to live happily without a car. A combination of taxis, walking, buses and trains sufficed and we were happy to be doing our bit for the environment at the same time.
The downside of our car free state was that when our baby did occasionally travel in a car, she screamed for most of the journey. The most memorable occasion, was on Christmas eve when she was about nine months old. After a lovely visit to my aunt in Hampshire, my father drove us home through the mercifully empty streets with Eve screaming, at full volume, for the entire one hour journey. The screaming was accompanied throughout by my mothers anxious entreaties to “check the straps aren’t too tight” and “give her a drink, maybe she’s thirsty”. She couldn’t believe that this happened almost every time we went in a car. Understandably, it wasn’t something we attempted too often.
Our second baby prompted both a move slightly further out of the city and the purchase of a second hand Honda estate. I still don’t really like driving, but thankfully the children are used to it and are pretty well behaved in the car these days. However the scars of previous journeys are still with me, and Steve still can’t drive, so we’ve never driven more than four hours with the children, preferring to take the train for longer trips.
Bearing all the above in mind, can anyone explain to me why I am planning to drive up the west coast of Australia? It is a journey of about three thousand kilometres with a petrol station every 300k or so and only about five towns of any size. My husband is trying to talk me out of it, but I won’t be budged. The west coast is beautiful and empty, with reefs and national parks to explore. I think it will be great to to this without relying on the sporadic greyhound bus timetable, like I had to last time. I’m even quite looking forward to spending all that time in the car with my family. Am I mad?