Really, the whole thing could’ve ended much worse. An old truck, abused through decades of off-road adventures. A young, stupid, and inexperienced driver setting off across a continent that has killed many seasoned and gritty pioneers. That it ended it complete brake system failure on an escarpment in New Mexico’s version of the Rub al Khali shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The only shock is that it didn’t end in a fiery crumple of metal and a roadside shrine. What is it about being young and stupid that precludes any pessimistic and realistic thoughts of failure? Does old age make us more cautious? Does that caution shield us from greatness? Should I ask myself another rhetorical question? The answer is…yes. I think the risk-taking bravado of youth, combined with the wisdom of age and experience, would make an unstoppable duo. Unfortunately you can’t be two ages at once and when you’re old enough to know how to do something great you’re too fearful to take the risk to do it. All of which explains why I drove an old Land Rover across North America in my early twenties and now can’t even be bothered to refill my windscreen washer fluid in my grey station wagon. Good God, Peter! Grey! If I were young and stupid I would’ve bought a red station wagon*! Ahh, to be that age again, to decide that the vehicle shown below would be a perfectly reasonable and comfortable steed to carry me and my co-drivers across the continent. Oh, by the way, I wrote a book about this in case you’ve missed my shameless self-promotion in the past few months. Click here to be young and stupid again.
*This is a direct swipe at my younger sister who just bought a station wagon so bright red that it triggers a salivation response in policemen at speed traps.