On Friday I woke up in Lille, France and fell asleep 600 miles away in Salzburg, Austria.
The reason for this mammoth journey is not just your average road trip, I am working as a driver for a group of hang glider pilots!
This year, the British nationals are in Sigilo, Italy, and it is my job to transport my hangies to briefing each morning, up the hill to launch and home again after they land each day.
It isn’t a paid gig in Europe, but the team cover all my expenses and I get to see incredible off the beaten track places for free!
I’m certainly not complaining, on this day, for example: I had breakfast in France, advanced driving lessons from my police officer passenger in Belgium, a Burger King in Luxembourg, a quick coffee in Germany and finally, sleep in Austria.
The latter four I’d never been to before! Granted, we didn’t really have enough time to experience them in any depth and I don’t think I can quite justify a patch for my backpack, but still how exciting!!
It was frustrating to not know much of the language. Usually I only intend to visit one country at a time and make an effort to understand basic conversations and menus at the very least!
I did a good chunk of the driving, even though it was my first time on the right (but wrong!) side of the road. Roundabouts are by far the trickiest, remembering to check and give way to the left is a really weird sensation!
But driving on the motorway, you soon get into a rhythm, so that is much easier!
My tip for driving on new roads is to just get on with it, ideally with a passenger to start. The more you overthink and put it off the scarier it will be when you finally get behind the wheel. Your basic survival instinct will soon kick in, I promise!
The worst part of the drive was Germany. At no point was I confident of the speed limit, there was a new sign and number every few kilometres and only forty percent of the road observed it – the rest either made it up as they went along or attempted to break the sound barrier!
But despite all that, eventually, ten hours later, we made it all the way to Salzburg!