Most of my childhood was spent in the country, out in a little village in Dartmoor. I managed to buy my Jeep – a battered second-hand Wrangler – in my early twenties, when I returned to look for gainful employment after spending three years away at University. I tried a lot of different things – anything from working in tourist gift shops to restaurants – before I landed job as a Dartmoor ranger with the National Park Authority. Amongst the Land Rover Defenders, my Wrangler was a bit of an oddity, but they don’t really look so different when they’re liberally covered in mud.
It took me another two years to figure out that I really wanted to go back to university to study zoology, at which point I knew I had to sell my Jeep. It had been indispensable in my job as a ranger, which took me all over the moors, not to mention the challenges of negotiating some of the muddy and badly-maintained tracks around my parents’ home. Unfortunately, everything that made it perfect for Dartmoor also made it a bad choice for the city. I didn’t want to be just another ‘Chelsea Tractor’ driver in Exeter, so I put an advert in the local paper in the hope of finding a Jeep buyer before I left. If I could sell my Jeep before my new course started, I would be able to buy a new car for the regular journey – rather than begin the search when time was tight after I started. I also didn’t relish the thought of being stuck with it in the city. It’s not made for efficient fuel consumption and I knew I’d spend a fortune filling it up – not good now that I was heading back to a student budget. I’d also had a few interesting experiences at speed and on twisty roads, when I found out that the handling wasn’t quite what I’d expected. Not to mention the fact that I felt kind of self-conscious driving down the dual carriageway looking down from my vantage point on all the other cars (barring van drivers, of course, and they seldom offered me much solidarity). Although there are urban areas of the country where four-by-fours are popular, the SUV craze hasn’t quite caught on in England like it has in America.
Selling my Jeep didn’t take long. I had bought it second-hand and cheaply to begin with, and given it a real hammering on the rough tracks and hills ever since. I wasn’t asking much for it and it wasn’t long before one of my old school mates saw the advert and got in touch. He was willing to buy my Jeep for slightly below the asking price, and I agreed because I knew what a state it was in! He was in a similar position to the one I was in two years earlier, so I was glad to sell my Jeep for a good cause. The money I got for it went towards a nice, conventional little hatchback – far more suited to my regular commute into the crowded city than the Jeep would be.
By JanDyrda from Pixabay