When I was a teenager, I had no interest in learning to drive. My best friend passed her test at 17 and got herself a wee green Micra. The colour was awful, and the car wasn’t the best, but we had some great adventures in that thing. I didn’t see the point in getting my own car, when I was having so much fun in the passenger seat of hers.
Once I met my husband and fell pregnant I still didn’t have any interest in driving. We lived on the outskirts of the city. Most things were within walking distance, and I have always enjoyed walking. I didn’t see a point in paying so much to learn to drive, then pay for the upkeep of a car, when walking is free. Anything not within walking distance was only a short journey on the bus or metro, everything was so handy.
Now, things couldn’t be more different. We live in a village with a shop, a pub and a few hairdressers and salons. While the village is beautiful, and there are plenty of places to take a picnic or go for a scenic walk, there isn’t much else going on.
Moving from the big city to such a small village was tough. Suddenly, I felt very isolated without transport. There are regular busses to Belfast, but the journey takes over an hour, and the bus fare for the four of us is around £30 return. There are so many wonderful attractions across Northern Ireland, but most of them are not accessible without a car, unless you are willing to endure long bus journeys and multiple changes. Not fun with two kids.
Since moving here we have rarely left the village, except when Granda drives us places. I rarely visited toddler groups because getting two small children on to a bus ( and a lot of the buses over here are like coaches, and don’t have easy access for prams) was my idea of a nightmare. The kids didn’t go to nursery because there was none in in the village and limited transport to the closest one, and Caitlin is missing out on dance classes because we have just no way of getting to them.
On top of all of that, Neil now has to go to regular therapies and things to do with his ASD, and I have to ask granda to take us to them all, which I feel awful about. I have also had to turn down so many training opportunities and workshops because I cannot get to them by bus.
I feel like we are stuck in this little village sometimes, and it is driving me nuts! (Pardon the pun….)
With all of that in mind, I think it is about time I learned to drive.
I have been thinking about it for a while but now feels like the right time to start. While days out and things are luxuries, getting Neil to occupational therapy and social groups is a necessity, and I can’t rely on my father in law forever
Having a car will make things so much easier for us.
I’m going to apply for my license this month, and aim to be driving by the summer. I know I am not giving myself much time, but I’m working to a bit of a deadline. I currently work in my village, so it’s only a five minute walk in to the office, but soon we will be moving premesis, and I will no longer be able to walk. I want to be driving in time for the big move, so I don’t have to put my trust in unreliable bus services to get to work on time.
I think driving will give my blog a bit of a boost too. I love writing about our adventures and days out, but as we are so limited on places to go right now, I don’t have much to write about! I can’t wait to be able to drive to exciting places around the county, and be able to showcase the best of Northern Ireland on my blog, as it really is a fabulous place!
I’m looking forward to getting started, and can’t wait to share my progress with you all.