And no, I’m not making the uber-obvious observation that we drive on different sides of the road. Duh.
When I talk about driving differences, I’m specifically referring to attitudes towards distance. We have very different ideas about what constitutes ‘far’.
To them, a two hour drive is far. Anything above four or five is ridiculous.
To us, a two hour drive is, for some, a daily commute. To us, driving five hours to get to the next major city is actually pretty standard, and depending on where you live, a pretty sweet deal.
I began to notice these differences when I started looking into fun day trips from Guildford, where I was living in England. My boyfriend had a car, so it was perfect. While the trains can get you everywhere in England, most of our journeys from Guildford sent us through one of the London terminals, which upped the cost and the time of our journey, so having a car was super handy.
Ever since I was a sugar-high child, I’ve wanted to visit Cadbury World. Complete and utter indulgence was something I dreamed about since I can remember. I figured my boyfriend, the master chocaholic, would be totally game. Besides, it was only a two and a half hour drive. Perfect little day trip!
Um, apparently not. That was too far to go for a day trip.
Me: Seriously? Wouldn’t you drive for like eight hours to get to Cadbury World?!
BF: Well, yeah, but Birmingham’s faaaar.
Me: Dude, it’s like two and a half hours away. I used to do about that distance all the time from Van to Whistler and back in a day. NBD.
BF: But Birmingham is the Midlands. That’s far.
I guess when your country is itty bitty, size-wise, like England is, that’s far. And I guess when your country is a behemoth, like Canada is, that’s nothing.
Needless to say, we didn’t get to chocolate heaven. Furthermore, when my boyfriend came to Canada over Easter holidays, he was totally blown away by the fact that we drove 8 hours from Toronto to Quebec City in a day, and then continued back with nights in Montreal and Ottawa.
I think that changed his perspective a tad, and I managed to convince him to do a day trip from Guildford to Cheddar Gorge and Bath (about a two hour drive), but I still think he thinks that’s rather far.
However, it’s really all a matter of perspective. If you think about it, you can drive the length of his country twice, and you still won’t have driven the length of my province. Baffling, non?
Give that, and the fact that you can really find everything you need in England within an hour’s drive, I guess you can’t blame them for not wanting to go further in a day, can you?