21:24

Recently I drove down to Newcastle from Edinburgh for a wedding. While I have loved driving ever since my first lesson, this trip was one of the first times I had felt a sense of anxiety in my car. In my day to day life I drive a couple of times a week, mostly at the weekends and just within the city. I do my grocery shopping, I meet my friends, I drive to church and the swimming pool.

On the way back from Newcastle I encountered a diversion. This diversion was not well marked and instead of taking cars onto a different route forward, it instructed everyone to turn back and detour in the opposite direction of travel.

It was getting late, I was tired, and I was getting low on petrol. I was in an unfamiliar area on the motorway with no clear knowledge of where I should go. Instead of following the diversion back in the opposite direction, I headed onto the country roads. I ignored my GPS telling me to head back to the motorway (blocked off for roadworks) and used instinct to drive back north.

As I navigated tiny, pot-hole laden, windy lanes through fields and small towns I saw my petrol gauge dropping. Admittedly I didn’t fuel up after my drive down to Newcastle but I thought I would make it there and back on a full tank. As I drove through the countryside the sun was setting, but I couldn’t fully appreciate the splendour of the sunset colours as I was worried about getting home. I had thoughts of having to find a BnB in a small town due to getting stranded in the dark, and leaving my car at the side of the road and walking to get petrol.

Disconcerting thoughts aside, I managed to find my way back to the motorway (past the blocked off section) and made it back to Edinburgh safely. My petrol warning light came on on the stretch home! Thank God I managed to make it home safely with my friend despite the problem we encountered on the way. It’s in times like these I miss being a passenger as being a driver does take its toll on longer journeys. Thankfully I have no other long trips planned and that my sense of direction is pretty good. Everything is a learning experience though right?

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