Two Broke Girls: The Roadtrip
I spent a week of my summer going nowhere, and I don’t mean that in the spiritually intransitive sense, but in the act of retreating from civilisation.
My best friend and I rented a car to do a 500-mile trip around the Scottish Highlands. We decided on it after a conversation that went something along the lines of:
‘Okay, so I’ll drive.’
‘Great. I’ll do the tent.’
‘Excuse me, tent?’
‘Well how much money do you have?’
‘Less than what?’
‘Nothing. What about you?’
‘Enough for a small tent.’
‘…Tent it is.’
I don’t drive. My friend does, but since her last car ended up on its side in a ditch, I wouldn’t say she drives well.
I told everyone about our trip in the weeks leading up to my flight to Glasgow, where Georgina studies. She told everyone at her end too. We both received more than our fair share of ‘Really?’ and ‘Oh… good God.’
I’d say the scepticism was undeserved, but I’d be lying.
I am impractical, Georgina is unreliable, and if people say ‘those girls look like they’ve got it together,’ they aren’t referring to us. We met in school, when she sat next to me in maths and told the boys sitting in front that I was a calendar girl on the weekends. I was the kind of pupil who ate my lunch in the library, and entirely unprepared for this rambunctious invasion of a friend, but she gave no quarter. Before I knew it we were staying at each other’s houses, and pouring our teenage woes into each other’s ears. Nowadays we do exactly the same, but with more alcohol.
At first, the roadtrip did not seem like anything more than a half-formed idea. But when Georgina picked me up from the airport with her boyfriend in tow, and I saw the tent, bundled into a bag smaller than my arm, it became almost too real.
Our first stop on our wild adventure was Tesco. We bought the necessities, including my red lighter – for emergency campfires, signalling to aeroplanes, and cauterising open wounds. We spent the first night in Georgina’s student flat, where we promised ourselves that we would have an early night, but ended up chatting into the early hours.
Our grand tour of the Highlands began on the Sunday, and we met it half-dead, but showered and breakfasted. Setting off before ten, our supplies consisted of little more than fruit, biscuits, and baby wipes, and we soon found that the car had no CD player on which to play our eclectic mix of rock, metal, and 80s love songs, but in the words of our faithful motto, ‘it will be fine.’
We reached Fort William before realising that we had neglected to bring pillows.
Georgina was tired, and nervous, and more nervous because she was tired, so our journey up to Inverness was exhausting, but the sights we saw made it all worthwhile.
The Highlands are like a great big rumpled quilt, spreading green over grey rocks and crags. There are run-down little houses, mouldering away into the elements, and little white rivers that meander across the landscape like flocks of sheep. At every turn there was a picture opportunity, and I soon became an expert at balancing my camera on the dashboard whilst the landscape whizzed by.
After a little research at about two o’clock in the morning, we had decided to book our first campsite, and after our long drive we finally arrived in Contin, a charming little village in which the main attraction is the ‘Five-Acre Wood.’
Our campsite was quite literally someone’s garden, but it backed onto a river, and was blessedly midgie-free, so we pitched up and decided to treat ourselves to a takeaway from the village over. The rain arrived on our way back, so we ate in the confines of our very small, very blue tent, lying about our faith in its structural integrity. (Camping, lesson one: sweet and sour sauce makes a mess when consumed in an enclosed space.)
Already considering the toilet block as a marvel of the civilised world, I could only wonder what I would make of civilisation by the end of the week.
Edited by: Joel Emmons