Today (9 June), I head out in T-shirt and shorts - what I woke up in. The temperature is around 12 degrees celsius. We have a 7 hour drive from Bergen to Geiranger and I wanted to be comfortable in the car. #touristprivilege
Yip argues that driving is part of the holiday experience. Ivan and I agree. Ivan and I are also perfectly content to let him be the default driver. I arrange the music playlists, imposing hours of movie soundtracks, disney songs, oldies, instrumentals and random singles on them. A modern pop song (by my standards) appears every now and then. Or a Chinese song. Ivan captures the memories - the narrow roads, the coastal highways, the underwater tunnels, the car ferries and the tundra landscapes.
We swap roles occasionally.
On my flight up to London, I watched 3 Peas in a Pod (2013). It moved me. And a part of me hoped that it would foreshadow what our long car drives would be like. But another part of me knew that our roadtrip experience would be epic and authentic in its own ways. I ramble from time to time about a song and its lyrics, Yip occasionally marvels at a waterfall or a sheep, Ivan asks the random deep personal question. But we are introverts, the three of us; it is easy to just remain in each other’s presence, silent or otherwise. We are old friends, the three of us.
By the time we return the car in Trondheim, we have driven a grand total of 1382km. All of us have had our share of the wheel and of roadside scenery, including coasting along the Atlantic Ocean Road - a Guardian-listed “world’s best road trip” 8km stretch dulled by cloudy weather. We spent a good deal of time in transit - on the road or the rail. But we are young. We can take the long drives and the overnight trains. That is something to treasure.
Upon reaching back Singapore, I am surprised how seamlessly I adapt back into right-hand driving. It feels like an insult to my gradtrip that I slip back into the familiar so quickly and so easily. And driving the Swift through Singapore’s 5-laned-but-still-jammed-CTE is as plebeian as driving through fjords is epic.
But while driving the Jetta back from ado late one night (and this really only applies to the Jetta, because the Swift is a weak tin box that I have no inherent love for #fwp), I realised I enjoyed driving. I have always appreciated the luxury of driving - the painted steel carving a personal space away from the world, the shotgun passenger sharing his or her story, the soundproof doors liberating me to sing or talk to myself. But that day, I enjoyed the driving itself.
I am no Ryan Gosling, nor is Candy (or any of my other passengers) a Carey Mulligan, but I can still derive existential pleasure from the wheel, the leather seats and the silent hum of power on an empty Upper Serangoon Road.
Cheers to long drives, comfortable silences, good chats and lush music.