So It Goes: Sometimes you just have to talk travel

My oldest son says that talking about how you get to a destination is among the top five boring conversations.

He calls it ‘route talk’ and it wasn’t until he pointed this out to me, that I realised how often we indulge in just this.  I am a little directionally challenged (okay, a lot – I often can’t find my car in a car park) and so I can safely say that I rarely partake of the route talk to which he is referring.

If I was to take it on, it would be filled with confusing moments, rights instead of lefts, disastrous moments heading in the wrong way and generally probably rise to the top of the boring conversation list.

My husband however, doesn’t mind a good chat about which highway, which corner, which circuit he took to arrive at his destination.  His conversation in this arena is tantamount to bragging as he tells anyone (well most often other male drivers with equal bragging rights) about his ability to get behind a wheel, whizz around corners and into roads he has never been in and arrive at his destination as though he has travelled that road many times before. To me, it is nothing short of a miracle that he can do this and there is little wonder he wants to share this miracle with all.

And then we had a cyclone.

The weekend following we had commitments in Coffs Harbour and the otherwise four-and-a-half hour trip took close to 11 hours.  We eventually went to Toowoomba to get there, via the Tweed and later via Cunninghams Gap.  The fact of our rather lengthy journey became the topic of conversation for the next week or so.

And that was when I noticed that people’s route talks were the favoured talks of a mobile population in the wake of the devastation.  On the way home, for example (this only had one deviation adding an extra hour to the trip), we stopped at a country McDonalds for a toilet stop.  There we overheard many chats about fellow drivers’ on-road exploits and I listened with a cocked ear, glad of any titbit that might save us heading down a road only to be turned back.

Suddenly the boring route talk became the conversation I coveted.  And finding out which roads were open was the most scintillating conversation I could possibly imagine.

- Linda Muller