There is a quote that I heard once that read, ‘the quality of our life depends entirely on the spirit of our living.’ It’s something that I’ve always tried to live by; through encouraging deep connections, strong relationships and flinging myself headfirst into little adventures whenever the opportunity arises. I used to think I was only destined for overseas escapades into exotic and forbidden places, but as I get older (and slightly more reasonable) I have developed real love for the humble road trip.
What’s better than celebrating what’s just outside your back door?
Whilst I’ve never much been one for fancy gadgets and I’ve certainly never owned a new car when Ford Australia offered me a new Kuga MKII to drive for a few weeks as a part of the #FordThinking arm of the Voices of 2015 festival; I couldn’t help but grasp that opportunity… knowing the freedom it would give us for exploring places that we’ve never been. Having a reliable car to climb into complete with creature comforts allows us to drive longer, explore deeper and venture farther than we ever have before (mostly for the fear of my old car not making it back in one piece).
It’s not unusual to see Bo and I driving down south down Bussell Highway on a Thursday morning, every week on my first day off we make a habit of going on an adventure. What’s a little more unusual these days is having my wonderful friend Lisa and her little guy along for the ride. Years ago when our kids were just babies and neither of us were back at work yet, Lisa and I used to drive south regularly – any day would do for a drive through coffee and a long open road to chat while the babies slept in the back.
Now of course things have changed. Both of us have work and responsibilities and little kids our lives have both become increasingly full over the past few years – these days our time together tends less often and more interrupted. But last Thursday we revived a lost tradition of ours when we all piled into the Kuga on a cold Thursday morning and headed south as a car of four.
We don’t have sleepy babies anymore, we have chatty three year olds who have plenty to say to us, but thankfully more to say to each other. So I activated the adaptive cruise control (with the car cleverly adapting to the pace of the tractors ahead, slowing automatically and then returning to it’s preset speed when the road is clear again) and as this clever piece of machinery basically drove itself down the highway – Lisa and I were able to sit back and resume our age old tradition of long car chats about love and loss, motherhood and relationships… and of course food, there is always much to be said about food.
First stop was a tradition. A stop at the Yahava KoffeeWorks in Vasse for a drive through local brew before heading down the winding road past wineries and little towns. We drove straight through Margaret River township and further south than we’ve ever gone before as a foursome – into the magical Boranup Karri Forest. There is something silencing (even for three year olds) about standing in a forest of giants with nothing but the sound of the wild birds and the heady scent of earthy eucalyptus. There is something very sweet about the sweet territory of silence, even if it is only for a moment, especially when in the company of good friends.
Not far from the forest is my favourite beach in WA. Redgate Beach is just a few kilometres from the forest and the perfect spot for a bit of climbing and potential whale spotting.
We drove down and had barely parked before the kids tumbled out of the doors and onto the sand, desperate to run and play with shoes off despite the icy cold wind whipping through our hair. We watched from the comfort of shawls and warm woolens as the kids clambered up and down rocks, hunting for treasure and playing in the wild landscape of their shared imagination. I took some time to wander through the dunes on my own, collecting seaside natives for a nibble along the way.
After we were cold to our core, we pile back in the car and warm up the kids with snacks and warm drinks from the boot of the car. A short drive inland to the little town of Witchcliffe, comes a trip down memory lane in a vintage op-shop, hot cups of coffee and perfectly toasted sandwiches.
On the drive home in the late afternoon, we tucked our quiet, tired kids into their seats and as they zoned out we turned on our heated seats to warm our winter bones, activated that adaptive cruise control again, and slipped back into our conversation wherever it last left off; challenging each other, exploring new ideas, sharing the ups and downs of our lives with laughter and tears and the comfort that comes from a friend so good that you don’t have to step on eggshells even for a moment, where you adapt to the changes in each other, forever in a dance of give and take… so honest that there are always things that are unexpected but never judged.
The most honest of conversations are often had with my friends when we are on the longest of drives, the world flying by our windows, the sun set golden through the pine forests and nothing but the open road ahead – where our quality of life is always improved by the spirit of our living.
What is your favourite way to connect with your friends? Do you go on long drives?
This is my first of three posts for the #FordThinking Challenge as part of Kidspot’s Voices of 2015. We were very lucky to be given the very lovely Ford Kuga MKII from Ford Australia for six weeks to go on amazing adventures in and see corners of our little part of Australia – where our old car doesn’t dare to go.