Driving in Australia

Conquering my anxiety one drive at a time.

Up until now, I’ve only ever driven in Malaysia, and driving back home as compared to driving here is very, very different. I’ll be honest, it’s a lot more chaotic in Malaysia with its never-ending road constructions and motorcyclists who seem to think that they have 9 lives – it’s a chaos that only a person who has driven long enough in Malaysia can navigate through. 

I’ve grown accustomed to the chaos that driving in Australia is (Perth, to be exact). Although a lot safer in some ways, it makes me more anxious. I can’t decide what overwhelmed me the most when I got back behind the wheel, whether it was the constant need to check the speed limit, WA's love for roundabouts which I despise, or the fact that I haven’t driven regularly for the past two years.

Funny how the human brain works, isn't it? We find the mayhem so comforting because it’s what we’ve grown accustomed to and that the calm and quiet makes our hearts race a thousand miles per hour. 

Anyway, I started off by driving with my aunt to the shops. It only takes about 10 minutes to and fro, so it wasn’t too bad. However, I’ll admit that I went through a sort of shock after driving again for the first time. Nothing extraordinary happened. I was just that nervous.

I kept thinking to myself that I have to stop being so anxious about driving. Like yeah, it’s totally fine to feel that way for the first few times and I couldn’t just let myself not ever drive anymore simply because I was scared. I was not going to let my anxiety win, especially not when it comes to something I enjoyed doing. 

Plus, I still have that road trip around England to check off my bucket list.  

So, I learned to calm my nerves one drive at a time because that was the only way to overcome this worry of mine. I did a big drive from our house to Matilda Bay the other day which was about an hour's drive in total. To an average driver, an hour on the road is probably nothing but to me, it was a triumphant achievement that I made it home without crying in the driver’s seat.

I've realised that this fear of mine found its roots in the fact that I was new to the experience of driving in a foreign country whose rules and conditions I had to learn only by doing. It also works as an allegory of studying abroad and getting accustomed to its culture and lifestyle.

But it’s safe to say I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable behind the wheel!

Tagged in What messes with your head, driving