My latest adventure…First time driving abroad!


Whilst arranging a weeks break in Tuscany with my mother and aunt, we booked the flights, our agriturisme accommodation and then discussed the logistics of getting from the airport to our Tuscan countryside accommodation. “I can drive”, a voice said, and I suddenly realised it was my own!! Why do I say these things, I wondered! I’d never driven abroad before, and stressful at its best, I imagined it to be even worse with my mother and aunt giving directions!

This isn’t the first time I’ve opened my mouth before thinking – I once told a friend I could cut hair (I had occasionally cut my Dads!) – and when she returned with a pair of scissors and a mirror, panic struck I didn’t have the heart to say no! Needless to say it was the quickest hair cut with only a few strands being cut to save my poor friends dignity and what could be the worlds worst haircut, I vowed never to open my mouth without thinking again!

Yet here I was, outside Pisa airport, mum and aunt in situ, excited with maps and sunglasses at the ready, waiting in anticipation for me to turn the key and start the engine.


Driving in Tuscany

Beautiful Tuscany

I took a deep breath, turned the key and off we went, left hand lane, no right they shouted, having only just practiced the right hand lane mantra minutes before!!

However, after my initial panic, my shoulders relaxed and I started to feel comfortable in my new set of surroundings on the right hand side as we left the city and headed for the hills. By the next day I wasn’t even phased as we took the scenic route to our mountainside accommodation, winding and twisting over the high passes with forests of beech and chestnut to one side and magnificent drops to the other (my mother edging further and further towards me as the drops got bigger!).

Would I open my mouth before thinking again? Probably! I realised that trying something new, although can often be daunting and it’s sometimes easier to say no, but by doing it I feel empowered and more confident (especially on the Italian roads!) and I’ve had a real adventure on the way…

Helen Stoker

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