I’m currently gallivanting around Prince Edward County with my friend Colette. PE County is an agricultural and touristic region of southern Ontario located two hours east of Toronto, on the shores of Lake Ontario. There is plenty to see and do here, including wineries, beaches, conservation areas, quaint shops, and of course farms and restaurants.

Three days is barely enough to scratch the surface. No matter how much time you have though, the one thing you need here is a car. Fortunately we have one, courtesy of my friend. Which brings me to the secret…

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Long time readers may remember a post I wrote back in October 2013 entitled My Dirty Little Secret where I explained how sea sickness had limited my travel experiences until I seriously decided not to let it anymore.

Well, today I’ll spill the beans again and tell you my other dirty little secret. Ready?

I don’t drive.

Oh sure I took driving lessons way back like most teenagers and got my driver’s license. But I barely ever drove after that and never bought a car. And to tell you the truth, it was never really a problem. I spent the vast majority of my adult life in large cities where I could walk or take public transit. I felt virtuous that I wasn’t polluting the air or adding to the traffic. I told myself that with all the money I saved by not having a car, I could travel for several months every year. Plus, all the exercise helped keep me slim.

All true. But deep down, I’ve always known the real reason why I don’t drive. I’m scared. I’ve never been a confident driver. And the road accidents’ statistics don’t help. I’m even too scared to rent a car. You could say I’m the driver’s equivalent of a kitten that was weaned too early.

The stuff you can do if you drive

Despite this “handicap”, I’ve been able to travel all over the world. Fortunately for me, most of the world outside of North America is crisscrossed by buses, trains, and other means of public transportation. But it’s become increasingly obvious to me that I am missing out on many travel opportunities because of this impediment. Here are a few examples:

  • In many parts of the world such as Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, the more scenic and less-crowded countryside is only accessible by private vehicle. Having a rental car gives you a lot more flexibility, especially now that more and more visitors are flooding the main cities.
  • Related to the above, it’s a lot easier to find unique off-the-beaten path spots if you’re driving.
  • You can go on good old road trips!
  • You can do deliveries or relocation of cars and travel from A to B for free. (I always thought this could be fun to do. See here for an example.)
  • If you have your own car (or perhaps even a rental?) you can become a Uber driver and participate in this aspect of the social sharing economy.
  • Some house and pet-sitting gigs require the use of a car because of the remote location. I had to turn down a cat-sitting assignment in Costa Rica last winter after discovering that it required driving.

One of my long term goals is to take remedial driving lessons to build up my confidence, if I can find a company that caters to the “older, nervous driver.” 🙂 There is room for plenty of procrastination on that front though!

For the time being, I’m just grateful for friends with cars, and enjoy travelling through my backyard in this unusual way (for me of course – it’s all relative).

If you’re curious to hear and see more of Prince Edward County, fear not, I will write about it very soon. (By the way, the feature photo is from Argentina, not Ontario!)

What about you? Is there something that scares you that you’ve been considering doing something about?


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