Serendipity cured my motorway phobia in the end!
The daughter of a friend needed help in the form of a lift, to Pill. I started out assuming that I would be going through Clevedon and through the back country lanes to Portishead and out that way.
However, my young companion had other ideas – and, as soon as we got to Clevedon, she directed me towards the M5 slip-road.
There was, as it turns out, no time for more than the slightest frisson of alarm before we were on the motorway itself.
The day was bright, warm (actually, hot; I am slightly sunburned today!) and beautiful – and it felt great to be bowling along, at speed, each mile eating up another inch of the worm of fear that has coiled inside my body for so long.
By the time we came to the return journey, and I drove from Gordano Services back onto the M5, it didn’t even occur to me to feel anxious – and I got up to a decent 70mph easily. This included another long-time dread: Going fast downhill. So I faced two fears for the price of one, if you like!
I cannot even begin to tell you how liberating this was – and is – nor what a fitting symbol for my new-life-to-come! But, in that one hour spent upon a local motorway, a vast door to the rest of the country was thrown open and limitless possibilities for travel came that much closer to reality.
There! I have travelled a tiny stretch of the M5! Look at all the other options now open to me and my intrepid little car! How exciting!
Yay! Go, Ali!