Concerns: getting the car going and not rolling backwards down a hill


I must admit that despite eight months of planning, I feel under somewhat under-prepared.

Some of these sources of concern are understandable, like the part about driving a car with a manual transmission across Europe and most of Asia without any previous experience driving stick.  I had hoped to learn in Cleveland and had found a driving school which offered this service, but didn’t realize until a week ago that they would require me to furnish a car with a manual transmission.  Sadly, my Fiat Panda is unavailable, as it is located in Alton, Hampshire, an ocean away and I am short on friends who are willing to possible sacrifice their clutch.  So, I’ve given myself a day to acclimate to the car, well outside the challenges of a city like London.  With any luck, the fellow selling the car might be up for a little additional adventure and a good story involving some crazed American who bought a manual transmission car to drive to Mongolia, but didn’t know how to drive stick.  I figure this cannot be too difficult, there are plenty of people out there who have figured this out and I have read plenty about learning how.  I tell myself that one advantage to not learning in the US is that I won’t have the idea in my head that one changes gears with the right hand, instead I’ll start and stick with the left hand.

This is simply my exposure to something that will visit me again and again: “even the best laid plans … oft go awry.”  Not that these are the best laid plans, some are admittedly slipshod.  That said, I endeavor to always have a Plan B.  In this case, Jason knows how to drive stick and will arrive in London two days after I do.


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