As I sit here in London typing away, it’s pitch black outside and people are walking past wearing thick coats, scarves and beanies. It’s all very wintery, which is to be expected, I guess. It’s December 21 – the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. It’s onwards and upwards toward summer from here.

Sitting inside in the warmth with a hot cup of coffee in hand, studying Google Maps in detail is one of my favorite winter hobbies. We’re lucky here in the UK because the continents of Europe and Africa are literally on our doorstep. The possibilities are near endless. And in the Mazda MX-5, we have one most usable sports cars ever built.

Here’s an inspirational thought: if you walked out to your MX-5 right now, turned the key (it would start first go because it’s an MX-5) and just drove, you could be in some pretty remarkable places within a day. You could reach the Norwegian Arctic Circle in 27 hours, or heading a different direction, you could reach Tangier, Morocco. The Alps and its spectacular passes are far closer. You could lap Le Mans, sip Apérol in Milan, slurp fondue in Zûrich, or dine on Bratwurst in Munich. You could cruise the Croatian Riviera, drive the Nürburgring, hunt out an obscure car museum, or catch some sun in Spain or Portugal.

Of course, this close to Christmas it could be a little antisocial to just up and leave on a road trip. But we hope that this post plants a seed for 2019. A big trip or a short one, in winter, spring, summer or autumn, on one of the MX-5 Club’s excellent continental driving tours or just on your own, make a pledge to leave the UK in your MX-5 next year. After all, our cars are just inanimate steel machines. It’s what we do with them and the memories that we create that makes them so special.

We’ve assembled below a handful of our favorite road trip clips to inspire you, mostly MX-5 related and a few at the bottom that aren’t. They should tide you over during the lull moments of the festive season, inspiring you to make a coffee or open a beer and sit poring over Google Maps for a few hours, dreaming of possibilities.

Happy 2019 adventuring!