Travel Tips

Driving Personas – ‘Lady Penelope and Parker’

Something of a lighter note here. I don’t know if anybody else does this but when driving we assume the personas of two Thunderbird characters, Lady Penelope and Parker. Yes, it may seem a little weird but it actually works for us.

I (Lars) go by the name of ‘Parker’ being the designated and only driver whilst Michelle is aptly named ‘Lady P’ or on those more formal occasions, ‘Lady Penelope’.

How did this come to be?

Well, it fell into place of its own accord in our early days of campervan hire in Europe. We were transitioning into right-hand lane driving (we’re from Australia) and at the same time trying to hone the driver/navigator skill set. We needed to function together as a smoothly oiled machine. Although the theory was sound, the practical application was a different story. There was a palpable degree of tension when we sat on those campervan front seats. And that was with the engine off!

We couldn’t continue like this. It wasn’t fun for either of us. Change was inevitable!

So we agreed that when one of us heard our ‘assumed’ name spoken in a firm, slightly elevated tone, eg. ‘PARKER’, we then knew the other person was feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the current driving situation. It was time to take some immediate remedial action!

It’s a great non-confrontational way of letting one person know of the others feeling of anxiousness. It avoids those white knuckles that accompany the rapid shallow breaths and unwanted sharp blood pressure spikes! But best of all, it gets a few laughs going, defuses any tension and basically resets the mood. From all the above learnings, the Code of Conduct was drafted, agreed and signed off.

Note: a final remark; unlike the real Parker, I don’t have a uniform but I do try my best to keep my eyebrows in check.

(Thunderbirds photo used with permission from gerryanderson.co.uk)

These campervan starter tips may help the journey to run a little smoother too.

Do you have any funny stories to share? How is the driver/navigator dynamic managed by yourselves?

We’d love to hear from you. 


Author: Lars

Being an Australian boy brought up in the country, I learnt at an early age to enjoy the freedom and beauty of nature. Leaving Australia at the age of 20, although I didn’t know it then, would be the beginning of a life of adventure. So join me here on our travels and see the world through my eyes.

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