Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Road trippin

Most people would probably agree that driving ranks among the top 5 most stressful things you can do with your partner. Shopping expeditions are probably up there too, and thinking about it, my parents would probably rank skiing down a mountain pretty high up the couple stress-o-meter (dad goes for the speed factor, mum likes to “take in the view” – cue arguments and a lot of ”Well I might as well have come on my own!”.)

And I have to admit, when I wasn’t thanking the lord that I wouldn’t be touching a backpacker bus this time around, the idea of a three week road trip up the East Coast of Australia avec Boy did make me feel a tiny bit apprehensive. I mean, in the time we spent together at home, the closest we got to a long distance car journey was three hours to Hull. And at least the M1’s got Marks and Spencer. All Australia’s Pacific Highway has by the side of the road is road kill, mostly made up of kangaroos, possums and annoying passengers.

Thankfully, the car hire place gave us a few vehicles to choose from. To maximise potential striking distance and minimise cost, we opted for a no-frills van. Not a campervan, as they seemed to work out pretty expensive. But luckily, due to that wonderful ‘not what you know, but who you know’ thing coming into play, we scored a camper-sized van for the same price as a car with a few free days thrown in to boot. The Boyfriend’s Aunty sorted us out with the essentials: a mattress, bedding, cutlery, map, bodyboard and a cool box. The Boyfriend picked up a bargain surf board. The East Coast Adventure in Dave (‘the home of witty banter’) could begin.

There’s just one thing.

What with him being 23 and me being 25, I was the only one allowed to drive.

At first, I saw this as a problem. But today, as we reached day three of our three week journey, I came to the conclusion that the most stressful part of a road trip isn’t so much getting there, which I actually don’t mind doing, but the arrival at your destination, which requires a joint effort.

So far, we're both getting along fine. But bickering does tend to occur around Let’s Find Somewhere to Stay O’Clock. So far, overnight spots have included a beachfront carpark in Port Macquarie and a five star campsite in Grafton. Today we arrived in a typically manic Byron Bay, a beachside town famous for hippies, surfing and backpacker parties, and found ourselves in a traffic jam arguing about the whereabouts of a campsite we’d looked up earlier that day. Tempers had frayed. I got ratty.

“Was that our first argument?” asked the Boyfriend, rejoining me in the van having sorted us an unpowered pitch for the night.

“No, that wasn’t an argument. That was bickering.” I replied, “It’s just, look. If I’m driving for a while, I switch off a bit, go a bit braindead. Then it’s like we get somewhere…”

“…and I’m asking you to make decisions?”

“Exactly. It makes me ratty if I drive, then you need me to decide what to do as well.”

“Ok. Cool. I hear ya”

Personally, I give that particular resolution a day. But if his need to clean and tidy up the van every morning before setting off, and going out in the rain to buy and cook me bacon and eggs when we're hungover keeps up - I give the relationship a lot longer...


Anonymous said...

Cue jokes about how you like your eggs in the morning.

I'll get my coat now.

Ellie said...

Bickering makes it real.

AFC 30K said...

Wait until you're 14 years; I just can't be arsed with the bickering it; it turns in to a full blown row if I get bickered at.....


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