I love a good road trip. One of my fondest memories from my childhood is sitting in the back of my Grandpa's car, watching the scenery go by. I have him to thank for my love of the scenic route.
He would very rarely go on a motorway; instead choosing to take to the A and B roads at a much slower pace (in fact I am sure he never went over 40mph!). Over hills we would go, twisting through valleys. Occasionally I would catch a glimpse of a motorway, cars speeding along, whilst we meandered through the lanes. We would point and talk and more often than not, stop at places of interest on the way. Everything seen, everything considered. We didn’t live that far away from Blackpool but trips to the seaside took an age with Grandpa at the wheel and always an anti-climax when we got there, the road trip and the competition we had as to who saw the Blackpool tower first was always the best bit, the winner receiving a 50p coin.
So vivid in my memory, the tin of sweets in the glove box. The smell that those old cars had, the cushions that grandma had made on the parcel shelf and the blue check seats with the lovely strip of blue vinyl plastic at the side, searingly hot in summer you would stick to it!
A comforting, warm and happy memory.
So fast forward twelve years from those days in the car with my grandpa and I am sat outside the driving examination centre, my driving instructor telling me, “you are so ready for this Rog, you can do it”. I have my best suit on but it cannot hide the extreme nerves I have, my foot shaking on the clutch pedal, palms sweating. I take a look at my examiner, he looks stern and austere, and my nerves intensify.
The examiner must have picked up on my nerves. After the usual process of checking I can read a number plate from a distance, we both got back in the car. I remember his words to this day “Now Mr Hunt, I want you to imagine you are taking your Dad or Grandad for a drive down the road, nice and relaxed, nothing special, here we go”
Immediately my mind went to that warm and comforting memory of being in the car with Grandpa. I wondered if my examiner could read my mind or something, how did he know this memory of mine?” of course he didn’t but at the time it did make me wonder. My nerves started to slowly subside and I could focus and concentrate on the drive ahead, which would have been impossible with the level of anxiety and nervousness I had before.
When we returned to the examination centre, the instructor turned to me and said those wonderful words “Mr Hunt I am pleased to tell you, you have passed” his feedback “a smooth, considered and well-executed test”.
Twenty-one years of safe motoring later and the car is still one of the most relaxing and comforting places for me. I love driving; it is one of my most favourite things in life. I still love a good road trip.
The power of a wonderful memory, as shown here, can help in many ways, in my case it was to manage nerves and anxiety but what an amazing tool we have already to deal with situations and build on our own resources!
Using all our senses, we can enhance and heighten those lovely memories and then bring it back into the context of our present lives, in order to help change our thoughts and feelings etc.
“We have the resources we need to bring about the changes we want in life”
My dear Grandpa died when I was young. Thirty-odd years later, I look back fondly. If he was alive now I would be telling him how he has had such a huge impact on my life and I might try and persuade him to take me on a trip again on those meandering lanes in his beloved old car....