“We have to what? Drive a what? Where? And how?” was along the lines of what I said as the reality sank in of having the World Nomads van in our possession for the next six weeks and driving on the other side of the road.
I had spent the last few months in Asia studying the intricacies of driving on the left-hand side of the road. I coached myself on right-hand turn etiquette, the ins and outs of round-abouts, and generally prided myself on looking the right way before crossing the road. However I don’t think I ever got into a friend’s vehicle without going to the driver’s side first looking for the passenger seat, but that’s an inconsequential mistake to make. No accidents result.
But actually being behind the wheel of the World Nomads Ambassador van for the first time was an absolutely terrifying experience. I immediately broke into a sweat, and I hadn’t even turned on the ignition. I wasn’t even really sure where the ignition was.
I told myself not to confuse the windshield wipers with the turn signal. I already had visions of desperately trying to stay on the correct side of the road, gear down, brake, figure out where to look to make a successful right-hand turn, and trying to figure out how to turn off the windshield wipers (which of course would be on high and perhaps spraying vast amounts of washer fluid everywhere) while searching for the turn signal I originally meant to activate instead. This was not a vision I wanted to turn into a reality.
“Don’t worry. Just give it five minutes. It’s like riding a bicycle,” said Mark at Traveler’s Auto-Barn, where we picked up the van. He obviously noticed the distinct lack of colour in my face. Or maybe it was the nonsensical gibberish and rocking back and forth that tipped him off.
Find out what happened here, on our World Nomads Journal (as part of our Ambassador trip)! You’ll also find a link to a very funny video there…