A Warm Welcome; Returning to the Driver’s Seat

Some people when they learn the total number of times that we have flown across the Pacific Ocean they gasp in disbelief then we lure them into the insanity of our lives with a bunch of stories about being independent worldwide travellers and they gasp in disbelief for a second time.

I’ve never been able to get over those two gasping disbelief moments that people have when I am introduced to new people at a social gathering and those new people start asking all those “who are you? and how do you know so-and-so questions“. For myself its more about what kinds of surprises can I throw at this person until they are literally like “is this person making this up? Or Did this really occur in this person’s life? And why didn’t I try that instead of College?”

List of Vehicles Shared & Owned 

Ages 38 to 40

At the start of 2012 the wife and I had just returned to Canada from our 18-month stint of teaching English in South Korea and required a set of wheels to get us away from the parents house where we were crashing for the time being, and to get us from Point A (home) to Point B (prospective jobs) which is when we purchased a silver 1999 VW Jetta with 127,345 kilometres for $2,450.00 CAD. We shared the VW for several months as we reintegrated our lives into living in Central Alberta.

As the days grew colder and our lives began to intertwine into the scenery around us, we knew I would soon require my own ride and I began doing research for a vehicle.

We were packed in the car and on our way to the Edmonton International Airport for I had an interview with Federal Express or UPS or some other Cargo hauling company for a job that I fully intended on taking as we were getting low on cash. When the phone rang and I was offered a different job as a photographer and journalist in a small town roughly an hours drive from our current housing location of Onoway.

To justify the new job and the distance I was going to travel each day I was determined to purchase a four wheel drive vehicle because my in-laws had informed that highway #43 could be tremendously difficult to traverse during the fall, spring and winter months due to seasonal changes in the weather.

With this information floating around in the mind, I pulled the trigger purchasing a 1998 Toyota FJ Cruiser for $25,500.00 CAD intending this to be my daily driver for the next five years (2012 to 2017).

During the signing off on the purchase of the FJ, it did not occur to me that owning an iconic piece of the automotive industry was going to be a costly adventure too.

Soon enough I would learn that the cost of insurance, the fuel required to keep it running and the hours behind the wheel driving from home to the new journalist job would create misery in my soul. Then one horrible Wednesday after work, I spent nearly three-hours white knuckling it from work back to our condo in Stony Plain. I was thankful for the FJ being my driver through hell’s acres and back again but the cost to maintain and the amount of fuel this thing was consuming was too much for our current situation.

The FJ was returned to the dealer for $22,500.00 CAD and I bought a more economical ride, a 2009 Toyota Corolla Sport 5-speed manual transmission with 42,138 kilometres on it and full warranty. I jumped at it, as the car was priced at $19,575.00 CAD. The difference would come out in my favour within the documentation and I would not suffer in the trade-off or go upside down.

The day after bringing the Corolla home, we phoned our insurance company to inform of the VIN number of the new car and learnt that our monthly insurance rates were going to decrease $125.00 per month. A week later as I stood at the local Shell gas station pumping fuel into the car my eyes nearly POPPED OUT of my head when the fuel pump clicked off at $25.75! That’s 6-times less than a tank of fuel for the FJ!

Soon enough I would fall in-love with the tight road handling of my new daily driving 5-speed Toyota Corolla Sport!

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb