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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hit the road, Jack!

Driving. There's so much to cover here, as it was (is?) something that has weighed heavily on us. Initially we weren't planning to get a car; we would just rely on the expansive public transportation system of buses, trains, subways, ferries and the like. But having kids who go to activities means life is way, way easier with a car. Sure, there are car sharing options but in the end that would be far less convenient and wouldn't save any money.

Driving on the left side of the road while sitting on the right side of the car is just different. It's not better or worse, it's just different. I've been driving for 20+ years, so the mental change has been just that -- a change.

Photo credit: World Standards

My first stop for driving was Sydney SAFE Driving School. I connected with Fran over email, we set a date for a lesson and I hopped in her car. She was quick to give me the basics before having me take the wheel. I drove for about an hour on my first lesson, then set a time for the second lesson. Somewhere between there, I rented a car and canceled my second lesson. 

So, think about this: making a left turn is suddenly a breeze; making a right turn is a totally different ballgame. Parallel parking. Exiting the car into the road. TRAFFIC CIRCLES. Passing and fast lanes on the right. Buckling your seatbelt as the driver over your right shoulder, not your left. The list goes on and on. And the controls in the car are all flipped. The dials and levers are all opposite what you've known your whole driving life. Ahhhh!

Fuel economy on cars here reads km/l. No. Just no. I can't even form words to tell you how much this makes my brain hurt. 

A friend here told me I wouldn't have to take a written or road test to get my Oz license (refreshing and terrifying all in one). I gathered some documents and braved the Oz version of the DMV (holy smokes, it was amazing -- bright, friendly, helpful, cold water, couches, charging stations, etc). In less than an hour, I had an Australian drivers license!

Worst driver's license photo on the planet!

Next it was time to find a car. What size? Make? Type? I had a big car in the US and I loved it. But driving a big car in a big city is not practical unless you absolutely need to. I narrowed down my choices and started hunting.

I landed on a pre-owned Subaru Forester. Despite my love of diesel, the car was only available in petrol. I wanted to be like a Roman while in Rome...more about that next time!

1 comment:

  1. You probably feel the way I feel when I drive. (Because I'm still not used to driving.)