It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly when it started, but I’ve wanted to drive a Jeep Wrangler for as long as I can remember. Yup! I was one of those little girls in her pink Barbie Jeep driving around the back yard. I’d hop in and out, regularly checking under the hood to “fix” the “issues” that arose along my long journey from the driveway around the swing set and back again. Oh the adventures I had in that little Jeep!
Unfortunately, for one reason or another, a Jeep Wrangler was never in the cards for me. First because, beggars can’t be choosers with their first cars and then living in Japan. It just wasn’t a feasible option. To be honest, owning a Jeep wasn’t even on the back burner for me anymore. It was wrapped in foil, shoved (and nearly forgotten) in the back of the freezer. Then, roughly one year ago, my husband and I were browsing a car dealership with a friend. He asked to see inside a 2016 Jeep Wrangler and I popped my head in. That’s when it happened. Like seeing an old friend for the first time in years, all those warm fuzzy feelings were back. The feeling that a Jeep could be something I drive around daily. . . . . . was back!
Of course, having just moved back to the US I couldn’t simply go out and get one right away. I had to wait. . . . . and wait I did. It was during that year when I did everything you’d expect a car enthusiast to do. I researched what to look for when buying and narrowed down exactly what it was I wanted. Then I did something that you wouldn’t necessarily expect; I talked to my mom.
Now, I had known that my mom had owned a Jeep Wrangler at one time. She had mentioned it to me in passing a few times over the years. What I didn’t know is just how much of a Jeeper she actually was. This was all discussed over a cup of coffee one day in March when she came out to visit me. She explained how before I was born she would go off-roading with her parents, uncles, aunts and her sister. She shared some specific tales of getting stuck in the mud and my grandmother frantically trying to dig out the 4×4 with her hands. There was another one about my aunt not wanting to buckle up and breaking her finger on the roll bar. Then she told me a story that, to this day, puts a smile on my face. It was about how as a baby she would drive me around in the Jeep with the top off. Apparently I had the “cutest yellow goggles” and “just sat back there smiling the whole time”. I don’t remember those days, as I was only an infant, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s where my love for hanging the wind in my hair started.
Discussion about Jeeps with my mom didn’t end on that day. It started being the topic that we could discuss and have fun talking about, something I’ve been unsuccessful at finding in the past. I could bounce ideas off her and get honest feedback. She even helped me narrow down what it was that I wanted in a Jeep so that when the time was right I could make a purchase I would be proud of. Eventually, I did just that.
A few months later I drove to a dealership, took a test drive and signed some papers. I walked away with everything I was looking for in a Jeep, but more than anything I walked away with a feeling. It was a feeling of pride. Not only had I accomplished something I didn’t think I’d be capable of (buying a vehicle that I actually wanted so soon after moving to the US), but also because I was walking in my mom’s footsteps.
It’s only been about 3 months since that day when I took my Jeep home. Since then I’ve taken it a few places, but I’m still just getting my feet wet. In that way, my Jeep story is just starting. I can’t wait to see what road is waiting for me ahead!