I’m writing this post as I just finish my eight-day solo road trip through the UK. And it was bittersweet… to say the least. I experienced a lot during those eight days. Shock, fear, bewilderment, beauty. And would I do it again? That is still undecided….
It was – CHALLENGING
Driving a car (or in my case an eight-seat van) through the UK is a challenging experience! Constantly gripping the wheel, spatially incompetent, scared you will cross into oncoming traffic at any given moment! The challenges seem to be endless!
It was – GRUELING
Driving a van, on the opposite side of the road than you’re used to, takes it out of you! I was constantly worried… “Will I find a parking spot in the next town?” “Will I find a gas station?” “Is somebody going to steal my car, boot my car, key my car?” “Am I going to crash?!” Not only did it quite literally exhaust me, but I wasn’t able to FULLY experience where I was because I was already worried about driving to my next destination.
It was – EXPENSIVE
My van ended up being quite a bit more expensive than I was planning. Was it more expensive than taking trains? I don’t know. But I will admit that this is partly my fault. I drove a TRUCK! A big, eight-seat truck! Not a cute little eco-car. But a gas-guzzling truck. And against my will and better judgment! This truck happened to only take diesel fuel – expensive. Plus I visited the dreamy town of Oban. Great for many things, but not for free parking. Hello, parking ticket!
It was – BORING?
So I wouldn’t’ exactly say that gripping the steering wheel as you fly around sharp turns on tiny roads in Scotland is boring… BUT. Not being able to experience the view sure is! Catching glimpses here and there was worth it, but I wasn’t able to get the full experience of a UK road trip by staring at the dotted line making sure that I didn’t cross into oncoming traffic.
I felt – ACCOMPLISHED
And this reason alone is what redeemed this entire experience. I just finished an eight-day road trip to a different country, alone. I felt ACCOMPLISHED. There it was; I rented a car – alone. Drove on the “wrong” side of the road – alone. Filled up my tank with gas – alone. Checked my tire pressure – alone. Navigated – alone. Arrived in one piece at every destination – alone. And even turned in ‘Ol Betsy* in one piece – alone!
*‘Ol Betsy was the name of my eight-seat van
I only had one mental breakdown during my eight-day solo road trip through the UK, and that is when I realized how beautiful the entire process had been. Because no matter what happened, I did it! I no longer wished to “rent a car and drive the UK.” I no longer had to ask someone else, “What’s it like driving on the wrong side of the road?” I did it! And man did it feel good. But did it feel better being able to finally return my car? That my friends are still undecided….
If you decide to bite the bullet and rent a car for yourself, click here for my tips in doing so.
For a solo guide to a seven-day road trip through the UK; click here.