Over the past 6 months I’ve driven over 12 different vehicles in the hunt to buy my own four wheels of freedom. It’s been something of a trip from the sublime to the ridiculous.
And one I must say, quickly, I am completely indebted to my brilliant friends who have lent me their vehicles, for! It’s also been a great reminder of how much I’ve changed over the past five years.
First up there was the series of rental vehicles, which we rented from the great people at Gateway 2 New Zealand (no this isn’t a sponsored post I should hasten to add. They’re just great people!)
Our initial car was a cute as a button Demio. Thank goodness there was only myself and the girls here, as there was no way we could really fit the whole famdamily into that shopping trolley. Mainly it was a great wee car, even if it did provide the ultimate intellectual challenge.
After successfully negotiating Auckland’s city streets in a freak storm that spun a deadly tornado and torrential rain, I finally pulled into the garage of our new rental home, only to find that I could not remove the key from the ignition. I tried poking, pulling, twisting, turning. Prayer, mindful meditation and liberal bouts of swearing. Cover your ears children! Nup, no good.
Of course release came when I finally realised through the jet-lag haze that I still had the car in drive. Duh!
We replaced the Demio with a few other vehicles from Gateway, all reliable and cheap-ish until finally being offered a car by my mate Linaire!
Let’s just say that my street-cred increased considerably with the temporary acquisition of the chic black Celica coupe. Son wanted me to buy it. My Englishman was impressed that it went like the clappers, and could accommodate his fishing rod (bit like his wife really!)
We replaced the Celica with the most gorgeous little Mini Cooper, from my friend Jane and her daughter Alexandria. Fab little car. Think of the car version of a terrier. Cute, but with bite. WE all loved the Mini, and were disappointed to have to replace it with…..
A ute. Complete with hand brake that you pulled out from the dash and a tray in the back. I felt all I needed was a Border Collie, a hay bale and maybe my Akubra hat. Just the thing for sophisticated downtown Auckland!
We finally replaced the ute with our very own car. A car like no other I’ve ever owned.
When I left NZ five years ago, I had a beautiful status symbol in my Landrover Freelander. I loved that car, and it was hard to part with it especially since it was the first car I’d ever bought on my very own. It was the only status symbol I had left after selling the house in St Heliers, and giving up my – on reflection – rather comfortable lifestyle.
It’s funny how you change in life.
I bought the new car home the week before last. It’s quite possibly the oldest, cheapest car I’ve ever owned. It doesn’t even have electronic central locking or an automatic boot opener. And yet, driving home from the airport in my new purchase I felt the proudest and most ridiculously excited I have ever been.
Isn’t it amazing how the expat life and travel changes you?
I left NZ keen to live in the right suburb and drive the right car and holiday at the bach and go overseas at least once a year. I wanted the lifestyle that comes with the kids at private school and dining out in restaurants. I wanted to feel that I was enjoying my career success.
I came back to NZ knowing that the most important thing in life is that I have lived it, with those I love and treasure. I call that growth. What do you think?