Four wheels of freedom

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.

The sublime.

The sublime.

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!)

Sleek Celica

Sleek Celica

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…..


The ridiculous.

The ridiculous.

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.

Just an ordinary car, but an extraordinary life.

Just an ordinary car, but an extraordinary life.

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?


'Four wheels of freedom' has 4 comments

  1. April 20, 2013 @ 2:31 am Sarah

    So true and I love my Kiwi friends for really seeing and living life to the full – understanding time with loved ones is much more valuable than the right suburb and status system cars x


  2. April 20, 2013 @ 6:36 am Di

    I think that you are right. Life is for living, for sharing your journey with family and friends, for having rich *experiences*.


  3. April 20, 2013 @ 6:56 am carol.jane

    I agree totally….funny how our parents have been telling us these things for years but it’s not until we actually grow through our own life experiences (and in my case becoming the mother of a few beautiful girls) that all those lovely “things” which we strived to own loose their allure and instead those we love and treasure take the rightful place in our lives…right at the top.


  4. April 22, 2013 @ 10:59 pm uniquenique01

    always amazing how travel and living around the world always brings you back to the things that are really important – live life and appreciate your loved ones – the material things quickly take a back seat. Glad that you have your own four wheels to help you on the road of life. Have a great week


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