Well, there it was. Finally. My very first and very own column in a highly respected national publication (Leisure Wheels Issue 119, page 16). It had my face next to it and everything…
It’s a big moment for me. I’ve been dreaming of it since the morning I arrived I walked into Communications 111 at the North West University in Potch.
I don’t recall what the lecturer’s name was, or what he was trying to teach me, but I do remember that he had a profound effect on my future.
Why, you ask? To be perfectly honest, he was so boring that I decided to spend the rest of my six months in his class reading something more interesting than the history of mass communication. As your average motoring magazine is roughly the size of a study guide, it’s fairly easy to tear out the life and times of Johannes Gutenberg and replace it with an exquisite piece on the dynamic abilities of the E60 BMW M5.
I decided, during those six months, to pursue a career in motoring journalism. It seemed to be the third best job in the world, just behind being either a rock star, or a product taster for Beacon.
As you can see, I made it, and, so far, I’ve had a ball. Highlights include hammering a Ferrari 458 around Kyalami, riding shotgun with Stephane Peterhansel in his Dakar Mini and driving a prototype Lexus IS350 around a racetrack in Texas, but nothing even comes close to an unplanned adventure I had in the Spanish countryside.
I was on the international launch of the new Toyota Rav4 and the in-dash GPS went a bit haywire during the off-road section of our route. Pretty soon my co-pilot and I found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen to date. There was no sign of civilisation and no cell reception. If I had the power to change one thing about that moment, I’d have swapped my ageing co-pilot’s company for that of my beloved wife.
Since then, I’ve been coveting a job in adventure motoring – the kind of stuff you read about in this very magazine on a monthly basis. A job here allows you many such magical moments, as GG has told me many times over the couple of years we’ve known each other. I’d tell him a story about how much fun I had driving some or other performance car and he’d trump it with an epic adventure he’d been on the week before. If we didn’t get along so well, I’d have murdered him in a jealous rage long ago…
So, now I’m here and I’ve already been on my first adventure, pitting the upstart Tunland against the famous Isuzu KB. It was a great day of off-roading and we celebrated accordingly afterwards by having a cold one next to the campfire. We also brought our better halves along for the ride, which just made the whole experience that much more special.
In that moment, next to an admittedly mediocre campfire, I felt like a non-suicidal Christopher McCandless. The urge to recite some of William Wordsworth’s famous melodramatic poetry was growing in me. The man was right – the world is too much with us. There comes a point where all of us need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and all the modes of communication available to us these days.
I love my smartphone as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just want to throw it against a wall.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Ford recently sent out a press release with a few trend forecasts for 2014 and it seems consumers are going old school again. Pretty soon hipsters will be communicating with that most indestructible of cellphones, the Nokia 3310. How will they be able to go through the day without sharing a picture of their lunch? Only time can tell.
The Ford press release also mentions the myth of multitasking, which basically states that people are missing too much of life while staring at an LCD screen. Are we sacrificing the quality of life’s daily experiences simply so we can stare at the above mentioned hipster’s lunch?
I’m not going to pretend to know the answer, but I can tell you what I’ve learned during my first month here at Leisure Wheels – soak up as much of life as you can, a lesson I intend to carry over to my son from the day he makes his debut at the Unitas Hospital.
This planet is a beautiful place with so much to offer and we tend to miss something as simple, yet breathtakingly beautiful as the sun setting over Hartbeespoort, because a friend just posted a picture of his first attempt at homemade sushi.