“The Situation” – Wicklow, Ireland

6 months ago, I decided to learn how to drive stick shift. My friend gave me a few lessons, forced me to drive outside of parking lots (with other cars!), and even got me to the point where I drove across the Bay Bridge from East Bay to San Francisco (sweating the entire way).

Then I didn’t drive stick shift for 5 months.

Then I moved to Europe, where all the rental cars are manuals (or you pay premium for an automatic).

More specifically, I moved to Ireland where they drive on the left side of the road. I decided to kill 2 birds (and possibly myself) with one stone: Learn to drive on the left side of the road while (re)learning to drive stick, with my left hand!

Typical Tracey idea. I did safeguard by bringing along a European (and therefore stick shift expert) friend, Andrea, to assist. And by assist I mean she drove the stick while I drove the gas/clutch/brake. #teamwork

The journey to Wicklow Mountains (an hour away from Dublin) via left side stick shift began by me almost driving on the wrong side of the road, but not stalling…so I consider that a win!

Wicklow Mountains, Ireland!

Andrea was the greatest co-pilot of all time: Dj, stick shifter, and navigator extraordinaire. We made it safely to Wicklow, where I quickly got us lost in the woods and into some hilarious situations.

After crossing the stream, we hike straight up the mountain, blazing our own trail.

No trail

She looks happy, but is cold and hungry.

Then, this happens:

Clumsy me gets into some troubles:

I blame the lack of food...

I blame the lack of food…

I am up to my calves in mud, rinse off in the stream, hitchhike a ride back to our car (approximately .5 miles up the road), and then I DRIVE ALL THE WAY BACK TO DUBLIN BY MYSELF!!!! I drive on the left side of the road, I clutch, I gear shift with my left hand, I brake, I gas, I am basically ahhhmazing. Proud moment!

And so ends (actually it’s only Sunday morning) my 2nd great weekend in Ireland.

Next weekend: All the chocolate and outdoor beauty of Interlaken, Switzerland.

SERIOUSLY!

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