I can’t believe it’s over. We’d only just begun. We seemed like the perfect match. You with your good looks, smooth ride, and generous spirit. And me with a keen appreciation for hitting the open road and free petrol. But after a brief seven days you were gone, driving someone else some other place, and I’m barely an afterthought, without so much as a saved GPS location or lolly wrapper to remember me by.

In the aftermath of a breakup it seems that dwelling on the good times can help ease the pain. And that’s easy to do when it was just over a week ago when we first met. Love at first proximity with your intelligent key. I wasn’t blind to your faults – your seats didn’t fold down, you had no towbar or roof racks – but nothing I couldn’t live with.

I’m not normally one to rush these things but I took you to meet my parents on the first day. Too much? Possibly but they wanted to see you again so first points to you. Driving home there was no denying we were getting noticed and I knew it wasn’t me they were looking at. A 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid with a colourful paint job featuring rainbows and sheep you were more than just a little showy.

We were inseparable. Where you went I went. I got to know how to press all your buttons. You learned all about my favourite music. Into town, off to the gym and rocking up to the office – you were a head turner and I was quickly getting used to it.

Taking it to the next level

With your potential there was no way I was content to just commute to the office with you. We were destined for bigger things. Friday I got away from work early and collected what I needed for a weekend away. We hit the road, making our way to the other side of the country. It felt good to be sharing all the amazing beautiful scenery of the Arthurs Pass with you on our first (and apparently our last) trip away. You handled the twists, turns and stops along the way. You weren’t afraid of the dark or the swarms of night bugs we drove through.

We spent two days mesmerised by the dramatic West Coast scenery, from the spectacular heights of Denniston, the incredible sights of Punakaiki, my old primary school in Westport, to the laid back beach life of Tauranga Bay, we soaked it up. You were pretty fussy about where you drank, so we made sure you didn’t get too thirsty, and heaved a sigh of relief when we got to the Shell garage in Greymouth.

Sure I was meant to use your Garmin GPS camera to catalogue our adventure but tripped at the first hurdle when I realised I didn’t have a journey ID. But I admired your gadgetry nonetheless and maybe next time it will be different.

You have a lot going for you Freeona and I’m sure you’ll have plenty more fun-filled weekends ahead of you. Remember what goes on tour, stays on tour.

Living up to your promises

It was your freeway freeness that attracted me initially but was it just smoke and mirrors? Well yes and no. No charge for the car. The petrol was free. But then there’s the insurance. You can choose to not take the excess reduction charge of $27+GST a day but it means if you damage the car the excess is $3450. If you can live with that hanging over your head that’s fine but I didn’t want it ruining my time with Freeona. So I took the cheaper option of taking out domestic travel insurance (which covers rental car excess) – $30 for the whole week. That meant Freeona was a lot closer to being the free ride she promised to be.

I felt a little sad the day we parted. I took you to the airport. I’m not even sure I said goodbye. The driveway looked empty without you. I know one day we’ll get back together but for now it’s ‘thanks for the memories’ and I hope your future suitors take good care of you.

This post wouldn’t be complete with a big thank you to Air New Zealand and their partners (Shell, Avis and Telecom) for making this fun, flirty, if not brief, time with Freeona possible. Keep the free love alive!

Dear Freeona…
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