The Adventures of Rob and Dorrit (the Toyota Echo): End of the Road

I sit here writing this blog in Dublin as an unexpected family situation summoned me home. As a result, Dorrit has had a quiet few weeks. Despite that, I had already made the decision to wrap up ‘The Adventures of Rob and Dorrit (The Toyota Echo)" a few months ago for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, I began blogging about owning a rather unassuming Toyota Echo in Vancouver as a personal challenge. I wanted to see if I could keep writing about the car for twelve months and I have achieved that goal. Generating content regularly is much harder than people assume and I wanted to know that I could do it. The second reason I have decided to retire this blog series is related to the content. I quickly realized that by focusing only on the car was slightly limiting and there are various other topics I would like to write about and explore. I have a few rough ideas that I plan to cement over the next few weeks. Finally, I want to reach a wider audience and I have been advised to look at Substack (

So this is not an ending, rather a new beginning. I will be creating an account and begin uploading as 2023 progresses and I have no doubt that Dorrit may well feature in my new content in some shape or form.

But to conclude this blog series, I would like to reflect on what I am taking away from the last year with Dorrit.

Having lived in Vancouver for over a decade, I survived quiet well without a vehicle. Yes, I moan at the drop of a hat about the buses and Skytrains, but in all honesty, the services are very good. Given the cost of car ownership in metro Vancouver too, a car is not a necessity like it would be in say Dublin. However, I can reaffirm with 100% certainty that cars are my first love and the simple act of driving brings me a sense of both peace and excitement that nothing else does. It is a man-machine connection that is gradually being eroded as cars become mobile computer platforms. Dorrit, for example, needs time to warm up and I have learnt that the car makes a regular clicking sound when it is fully up to temperature. I think it is the fan micro switch, but I could be wrong. Being unfamiliar with older automatic gearboxes, I have also learnt that Dorrit is rather quick off the mark, far quicker than I would have imagined. At higher speeds though, the gearbox needs more coaxing to change down that goes against my habit of trying to be mechanically sympathetic with the car. Learning these quirks has been a joy over the last year and is what I love most about driving!

More importantly, I have enjoyed the sense of freedom that Dorrit has given me. The time saving alone has had a huge impact on my daily life. I used to be a bit of a car snob and I would judge a person’s wealth and status by looking at the car they drive. I myself would often dream of having an exotic motor like an BMW or Porsche to show the world and social media that I had finally ‘arrived’ but owning Dorrit has taught me that it really doesn’t matter what the car is as long as it goes. This is only reinforced by the unpainted hood/bonnet that reminds me of this lesson every time I clap eyes on the car.

The last take away for me is the biggest. Dorrit taught me to face my fears in big and small ways. If I was in Vancouver right now, I know I would be outside brushing the snow and ice off the car. I used to worry about what the neighbours would think of me doing this. It is a waste of time at this time of year as it will no doubt snow again. Yet, it gave me a lot of pleasure to do this and see the results of my effort by having Dorrit clean and ice-free (even if only for a few hours). Additionally, I had to overcome my fear of finding car parking in the city and adopting a generally more assertive driving style. Ultimately, my fondest memories over the last year were when I was driving the car when I didn’t have to. When I could have gotten a bus or train instead. This has been the biggest lesson as I had to choose to drive and remember why I love it so much. It made me feel like a man and gave me a huge sense of satisfaction because it is so important to me.

With all that being said, Dorrit is not going anywhere and although I will not be blogging about her regularly, a new year brings a whole new set of driving adventures that I am eager to embrace.

To wrap up, I would like to say huge thank you to everyone who has read these blogs over the last year and I wish you all a happy 2023.