My car: My place
Bridget Nicholson's car represents many things to her, a way to get from A to B, a private place, a safe place and the freedom to travel.
BRIDGET NICHOLSON: My car. My place.
I've had a number of cars, seven, in fact. I feel no need to name them, but I have loved them all for their little details. The first time I drove a car on my own was down Punt Road. Speed, shuffling, four lanes, three lanes. I had to compete to be part of it. It was terrifying. I arrived at the other end shaking but invigorated. Addicted.
When I was a child my family moved a lot. A new country, new house, new school every couple of years. Then I went to boarding school, six years of bars on the windows. My first car, that first trip down Punt Road, represented freedom. I was out.
I became addicted to big trips, days on end studying the map, eagerly awaiting each new town, loving them, loving their differences, doing the real flyby, and determining character in the flash of a moment, mapping the country in my head.
I decided to drive from Melbourne to Arnhem Land, and then back to Canberra. I was only going to Arnhem Land for one month, and my family was sure I was mad. Something awful was bound to happen to me.
I packed my dog into the car, got my camera and recorder, and set off. The plan was to stop every two hours, take one photo and record two seconds of sound. This would give me a map, my own internal map, an understanding of this place, this country.
Those childhood moving patterns slipped back into my life, and I began to move every couple of years. Home became Darwin, Alice Springs, Dulong, Canberra. I found that it was better to arrive in these places by car. If I flew, there was no transition time, no journey, and, therefore, no understanding of the space between. I couldn't feel myself in this new place and couldn't really grasp where I was.
Later, life became more complicated. The car was more than a way to get from A to B. At one stage, I was crying every morning on my way to work. It had nothing to do with where I was coming from or where I was going to. It was simply that it was safe, a private place, my place.
Recently I thought about giving up my car, becoming a public-transport person. However, I would lose something, my working out space, my "coming to terms with things" space. My special, really intimate moments with friends and family all occur in my car.