My first trip to Europe was in 2009, long before I could point to a list of platforms which includes some of the best casino sites with which to complement a trans-continental drive on some of the best roads anywhere in the world. Basically what I’m saying is things were considerably different back then.
I had been living in Canada, but was in the throes of a nasty breakup. I found myself feeling completely lost, and an irrational burst of optimism motivated me to drive my four-seater compact car up to northern Spain, where I had a colleague from my hometown of Edmonton to show me the ropes. I figured I could just explore a new country and then spend the rest of my life pining away, until I became so senile that I forgot that I was a grown-up with grown-up responsibilities, and that it was okay to move on.
Little did I know that I was about to have a different experience than that of other Canadian students who had been on their first trip. It was so bad that I had to drive myself back from Spain, to Scotland, where I was staying with a college friend. For two weeks, I cried every single day, and was secretly sobbing, silently, in my room, when I finally fell asleep on a stormy day in Scotland.
Now, seven years later, I know better. I’m older. I’m wiser. I have my responsibilities. But, it is no longer the job of my generation to leave our lives behind to escape the harsh reality of reality. It’s now our responsibility to make it better, every day, as best as we can.
In Europe, driving is one of the best ways to learn the basics of life. Driving in Europe is particularly unforgiving, but driving is one of the most important things we can do to develop autonomy, responsibility, and confidence. I see people driving all over Europe and feel as though they could have been in Canada all along, and they are, in fact, on their way to Canada.
Driving in Spain
My decision to drive when I first moved to Madrid was purely selfish. I wanted to drive so badly that I was driven to extremes of insanity. I would lock myself in the car and do as little as possible. If I was awake in the car, it was probably because I was driving. Whenever I was able to get out of the car, I would discover something new about the city. Driving in Spain taught me how to walk with different shoes on, and also how to make plans. I learned that the Spanish are very flexible people. For example, if the trip I had planned for the week was too long, I could take a weekend in northern Spain and drive down to southern Spain for the final leg. When I drove my car to Scotland, my journey was taken so seriously that I had scheduled a map check just outside Edinburgh. I felt like I was on a mission.