5 Important life lessons we can all learn from a 40-year-old car

Last weekend, this 40 year old car with around 140 other Triumphs headed round Britain. Starting near London on Friday evening, we breakfast in John O’Groats on Saturday morning, and breakfast in Land’s End on Sunday morning. Then back to near London for Sunday evening. About 2,000 miles.

It’s fun but exhausting. No real stops, and team rotational sleeping throughout the trip. That’s the challenge! If you’re lucky you get around, but with these cars there’s always the danger of breakdown at 3am in the Scottish Highlands. Did we make it round? Well, before I answer that I want to share a few lessons from the weekend.

Just go for it!
Being new to the group I was thrown in at the deep-end, driving the car for the first time at the start of the event. I started it up and with a bit of encouragement we got it into gear and off we went. “Good grief, its heavy!” The first corner was a shock as it doesn’t have power steering. I had to drag it around the corner with brute force. It was a challenge, but when I was faced with doing it, I found I could do it. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Don’t decide what you do and don’t like, can and can’t do. You limit your life so much. Allow yourself new opportunities, new experiences, new challenges. Just jump in and have a go – you’ll figure it out along the way.

Plan, prepare and adapt along the way
There’s a route for the event. Participants get the instructions and transpose the information into whatever form works for them. I like to highlight the route on a map and then add it to a sat nav. It’s important to check for road closures but having done all that, life will still throw in a few challenges. Finding a road closure in Wales at midnight, isn’t the best time but having done the preparation, people know the direction of the route, so it was possible to improvise quickly on the move. The life lesson is plan, prepare (check the up to date information) and then you can nimbly change your plans if need be, because you know the parameters. You don’t feel blown off-course, it’s just a little corrective nudge.

Take time to admire the view
Life is full of rush, rush, rush. Even rushing to do stuff so you can have time to chill. It does mean that we can get in to our busy brains, thinking about the next thing that needs doing and not actually just enjoying the moment. Being captive in an old ex-Met Police Triumph 2500TC for 48 hours on a challenge against the clock, means leaving the day-to-day. Life is about now, this moment. What you see, feel and experience now. The views, company and cars. Being present and really enjoying the beauty of my own country, the magnificent sunsets and sunrises. The smells of the earth when it rains and the drips on your right arm as it leaks in! 48 hours can feel like a long time when you notice all the moments, but that’s what life is about. Be someone that really notices with all your senses, the experience is much richer. I now have a list of places I want to visit again and spend longer exploring.

Fill in your snagging list
I was intrigued by the sheet in the event handbook titled Snagging List. This is the space for writing down the car’s problems and what you’re going to do about it. I like to do my own snagging list when I go travelling. I think about what I’ve brought – too much not enough? What I did that I’d like to do more of, experience I have learnt from and want to avoid in the future. Reviewing, however you do it is important. I now do a weekly review on a Sunday that covers what went well, things that didn’t go so well and what I learned. Time for contemplation and reflection is important if you’re going to move forward in life. I also note actions, which give me structure for the future.

What else have a learnt from a 40-year-old car? Don’t think it’s in the bag until you cross the finish line! About 3 miles from the finish, the main beam lights went out, the whole car was plunged into darkness and we were heading down a dark narrow country lane. It was scary.

Thankfully, the dipped beam worked so we could struggle on to the end. If we’d been rallying round the corners like an idiot, we would have crashed. Always travel at a speed that you can stop before the danger!

Life lesson 5 is only risk what you can afford to lose
We made it to the finish in the private park on dipped beam with the blue headlights flashing. It was a great achievement by the car and the drivers. Here’s’ a link to a short film of us heading up Scotland: https://youtu.be/DQAVRyUWQlA

We’re now counting down the days to the next challenge next year in the blue car.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what challenge you fancy doing?