Taking a road trip

“a long-distance journey on the road”

A road trip epitomises freedom, the ability to go where you want, when you want, meandering or travelling long distances inspired by curiosity. I’ve been craving the freedom of a road trip adventure for months, designing our summer holiday as a drive from the UK to Sardinia in search of sun, sea and pizza.

Our journey

I drove alone to Sardinia via the Italian Alps to Genoa with my 16-year old son, Oscar. We arrived by overnight ferry into Olbia (Sardinia) as my husband J and 15-year old son, Zac arrived in by plane. Together we spent several days exploring the east and west coasts of Sardinia, and on by short ferry crossing to Bonifacio (spectacular) in Corsica.

3 nights in Corsica and I have fallen in love with it, absolutely stunning beaches on the west coast, with a fraction of the people populating Sardinian beaches. From Corsica, we took the overnight ferry into Toulon near Nice. A train from Nice to Monaco for a day of dreams for Zac, walking the F1 track in Monte-Carlo.

Zac & I waved goodbye to J & Oscar and have spent a few days driving back through France, taking time to learn the importance of wine and of course, champagne.

Our trip was on a serious budget and comprised mainly of camping (I’m in love with roof tents) with a handful of nights in accommodation (or overnight ferry cabins!). At the most we spent 2 nights in one place, so the drive itself was front and centre of the experience.

An overview map of my route shows a journey of over 4,000km of which 95% driving myself. Call it being a control freak, or more putting myself front and centre of the journey, to absorb everything around me through deep concentration on the road. I loved it.

I needed time away that would be as un-conducive as possible to being on a computer, and it was exactly that. I can’t believe that in 3 weeks I opened my computer literally, 3 times. As the driver and obsessive map reader, my focus has literally been on each and every the day, how to travel, where to stay and what might be jus-around-the-corner to explore.

Every journey brings time and space to look beyond the day to day, to observe and learn. We had challenges of course, including an accident in Sardinia, sea sickness and 7 hours stuck behind the wheel on the Autoroute du Soleil, but I firmly believe these are all moments in time, challenges, from which we grow the most.

Reflections

  • The concept of time – the magic of losing track of the days, to be so deeply in the moment and living each day to its fullest.
  • Bumps in the road – our car accident was a significant challenge. Far from being in a tourist area and reliant on Google Translate to lead us through apologies, negotiation, insurance claims, to finding a way to check and patch the car to bring us home. I was reminded again how we each respond and react in different ways, our fears, anxieties but importantly are strengths will always shine through. Observing this in others is a privilege.
  • Our world in life in comparison to others – I am so very lucky to have had this opportunity, given the incredible amount of suffering in our world today.
  • Control and anxiety – I of course love driving, but it also became a form of control, to force me away from devices, and enable the immersive experience of a journey. Anxiety was never too far away, and taking charge of driving also allowed me to be front and centre of the challenges of navigation, ferry loading and Italian driving!
  • Maps – I am officially obsessed abut maps. I realise now, for sure, I always have been. Google Maps has taken away maps as an art-form but in turn, has given us even more opportunity to feed our curiosity, guiding us to architectural sites, parks, beaches, tracks and a review of every attraction, cafe and restaurant.
  • Work – how need more of work time to physically be with more people, the tech for good community is a great vehicle for this, and brings me joy and purpose. Our Dot Project work can be extremely stretching, and I imagine given the economic challenges ahead will require deep creativity and innovation. 
  • Health and wellbeing – my skin, hair, stomach felt different. Time in the outdoors and just slowing down is an absolute priority.

I had visualised time for yoga, reading, diary writing, wine and walks – I had very little of this (I drank beer!). It was absolutely a comfort zone stretch at many points, but what I have had is an immersive experience, losing track of time, building relationships and memories for which I’ll be forever grateful.

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What’s coming up

Back to work, back to trying to stick to good rhythms and practices that we know makes us healthier and mentally stronger. I’ll be bringing back my 4-day week, and prioritising health and wellness, of course 😉

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