Last Wednesday, I did my first solo cross-country drive. Yeah, on the night when the weather in the South West was borderline insane because of that tornado over in Wales. It was just a forty-five minute drive in heavy rain and dark Somerset country roads, actually. I dropped the kids off at my in-laws’ house and came back to overnight there after an evening out at At the Chapel in Bruton. But, for me, it was a big deal.

On the drive back, I kept thinking (in between irrationally wondering whether there could be someone driving behind me without their lights on in the pitch black) about how amazing it is that I’m now fairly confident and comfortable about driving. It’s been nine months since I passed my test and I never thought I’d get here. In the lead up to the test, I wasn’t sure I’d ever pass it or even that I should be on the road if I did. Even after I passed, I had to grit my teeth a lot of the time and just tell myself I could make whatever journey, even if I didn’t believe it. Would I ever reach a time when I didn’t feel stressed at the start of a day, knowing that it would involve driving?

Wednesday made me realise how much I’ve relaxed, how much freedom it’s given me and how much I’ve learned – not just about driving but about other things too. It amuses people when I say this but learning to drive (and I don’t just mean passing the test; I mean the months after) has given me such a sense of capability. I now believe that I can learn new things, practical things and that my fear does not have to dictate what I can and can’t do.

That was a big part of why I knuckled down and made myself learn in the first place. In some years’ time, I didn’t want to tell the girls that I gave up trying to drive because I was scared. I want them to believe they can do stuff and do it so it makes sense that I learn to model that too. I know lots of people have good reasons for not learning but, honestly, for me, I was just chicken.

It wasn’t anything as out there and extreme as an actual phobia (a survey Benenden carried out on unusual fears covering clown phobia to fear of being without phone coverage makes for interesting reading) but it was something I needed to address in myself. It’s made me ask what else I’m avoiding doing out of fear.

Without starting to sound like I’ve watched too much Frozen (and I have – particularly since the love versus fear message is so firmly on my mind), I think I’d regret making the big and little choices in life based on fear far more than encountering any of the stuff I’m actually afraid of. I’m not sure courage is something any of us can give or take from our children but I do hope it can be modeled.

In association with Benenden


  1. January 19, 2015 / 9:38 pm

    Well done on driving in the dark, it was a mental evening for weather but lovely to see you! I really need to add learning to drive to my list of things to do this year, It must be lovely to go anywhere you want, when you want. x

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:23 pm

      Do it! I am quite literally grateful for having learned every single time I drive.

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:24 pm

      I wouldn’t say I enjoy it but I love the benefits of it. It’s change my life in a huge way. Hope for both of us that the fear will completely go. 🙂

  2. January 20, 2015 / 11:03 am

    i would love to learn to drive ..and aside from the fact i’ll never be able to afford it, part of the reason i kind of don’t want to is a bit fear based. i feel like i’d love it, yet at the same time constantly fear bad things happening :/

    good on you for doing this, i know a lot of people wouldn’t have been able to do so!
    laura redburn recently posted..a collage for laura ashley

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:25 pm

      It is so expensive. I had a ton of lessons and knew I’d need loads which is why I kept putting it off. Do it!

  3. January 20, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    well done on the driving – I really need to learn to drive :/

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:26 pm

      It’s pretty cool that you manage to home ed with four kids without driving, though. Knowing I wanted to home ed was part of what made me learn.

  4. January 20, 2015 / 2:04 pm

    Well done, on learning to drive, I always admire people who learn past their teens, because I think we get the fear much more (of anything not just driving), as we get older.

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:27 pm

      That is exactly why I should have just done it as a teen. I didn’t have the fear quite as much then. It’s so much worse doing it with kids in the car too (especially if one of them is a screaming newborn!).

  5. January 20, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    Good for you. I can technically drive, legally, but I haven’t been behind the wheel for almost three years. I wouldn’t dare try now without a few refresher lessons, I really should do it one day when (if) my bank balance allows x
    Fiona recently posted..Living Arrows 3/52

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:28 pm

      I’d bet it would come back easily but then I know that psychological barriers can be a hard climb. Hope you manage it if you decide you want to.

  6. January 21, 2015 / 12:04 pm

    I don’t drive, i’m totally rubbish at it (I mean seriously, like 50 lessons later….) so I don’t think i’ll ever feel confident enough to actually enjoy it. I really need to crack it though, especially with the kids all being at different schools in the next couple of years.

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:29 pm

      You know what, I’ll bet I had way more than 50 lessons. Seriously, if I can drive ANYONE can. Hope you manage to crack it. Maybe a different instructor or go automatic? x

  7. January 21, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    You’re so much braver than me, I passed my test nearly six years ago and I still hate it, panic every time I have to drive! Trouble is I don’t get much practise as we only have one car which my other half uses for work during the week. But I do need to get out more. Well done on sticking with it!
    Bec (@becb1984) recently posted..Landing the helicopter

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:30 pm

      I think it’s definitely about practise. I don’t feel I became a driver by passing my test. It’s definitely taken all these months of driving almost every day.

  8. January 21, 2015 / 8:17 pm

    I did feel for you driving in that weather and the dark. Learning to drive feels like an impossible task for me at the moment, I literally cannot invasion it but I know I would love to be good at it. To be honest I’m really scared of trying and failing, which is stupid I know! x
    Fritha recently posted..Lapland part two

    • January 21, 2015 / 10:31 pm

      It’s not stupid. I felt like that too. When I failed the first time and tweeted about it, someone told me what a good lesson it would be for Talitha one day, though, about trying things, failing and trying again. That really put it in perspective for me. I’ll be you could do it and be great at it. If I can learn, I really think anyone can. It felt impossible.

  9. January 22, 2015 / 2:52 pm

    First of all I want to say well done – I know how scary it can be – I remember passing my test in South Africa and then needed to do a 9 hour drive 3 months after that and I was terrified, although the roads are a bit more straight forward there. Plus you had to deal with that awful weather! Very impressed

    Laura x
    Laura recently posted..How To Do Luxury For Less

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