Let me be the first to tell you that learning to drive in another country on the opposite side of the road makes for some great stories.
My boyfriend Colin visited me in Europe for the first time since I came over here, and we had the best ten days exploring Ireland and Scotland together. I loved showing him my nomadic lifestyle, and part of our trip included renting a car in Scotland to drive five and a half hours from Edinburgh to Isle of Skye to hike in the beautiful Scottish Highlands for a few days.
Learning to drive on the other side of the road was the first test to our relationship during this trip, especially because Colin was the one who started the drive, and being a passenger for this learning experience was tough when I felt like we were going to drive off the road every minute!
I thought the hardest part of this adjustment would be remembering to drive in the left lane instead of the right, but in my opinion, getting used to the spatial awareness of the driver being on the right side of the car was even trickier. The driver feels like they are about to hit cars coming in the opposite direction, and the passenger feels as though the car is about to drive off the side of the road. If only I kept count of how many times Colin and I said “to the right” while the other person was driving out of fear we were about to be off roading.
Both of us enjoy driving, but since Colin was the primary driver on our reservation, we had him start us off. About four hours of drive time later (but six in total because you can’t help stopping to see the incredible views along this scenic drive), we were admiring the beautiful mountains and lochs (the Scottish name for lakes), when I realized our next instructions from Google Maps had a boat icon instead of telling us to go left, right, or straight.
Hmm… this was confusing considering we thought we’d be coming up on a bridge in 3 miles.
We quickly realized that after our most recent stop, Google Maps changed the route we were taking to the “fastest way”, which included a ferry ride to Isle of Skye versus the bridge we had planned.
Then we arrived and found out it was reservation only for the ferry. This meant we needed to turn around and go the same way we came heading in the direction of the bridge we thought we were going towards all along!
In total, this added a two-hour detour to our already long road trip day. While it was a frustrating situation, we both took the incident in stride and kept each other calm. Well, except for the first five minutes when I decided to take over driving for the first time to relieve Colin, which resulted in more stress for both of us!
All in all, we arrived to Isle of Skye almost 12 hours after we left Edinburgh, but even with the learning curves of driving and unexpected detours, we agreed the drive was worth it for its beauty.
This drive is an example of how life can be. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. It can be frustrating when things don’t go according to plan, or in this particular case, you aren’t experiencing the journey you expected, but can you really plan anything in life?
You will be thrown curveballs no matter what, but if you can learn to expect the unexpected, life will feel like it’s going a lot smoother. Make sure you have your estate planning in place and updated so you are prepared for whatever life throws at you.
Always expect the unexpected, and if you want to learn this lesson for yourself firsthand, I recommend renting a car in the UK and planning a road trip!
Jill “Always Learning While Traveling” Marks
P.S. Although nothing takes the place of personalized planning advice from a qualified professional, sometimes there are times when you just want to do it yourself. My Pink Lawyer® offers a DIY option for durable powers of attorney and medical directives on their website. You can check it out here.