** Disclaimer – I’m probably a lot crazier than most people as I tend to walk/bike all over the place and distances don’t really phase me. As such, many things I find common and easy to do could very likely be tough and inconvenient for others. This is clearly not a “how to” for going car-less but rather “how I” manage to do it.**
Wednesday November 30th 2010 marked the last day I was going to “own” a vehicle. The lease on my car expired and I had to turn it in. I’ve decided that the amount I used the vehicle versus the cost of keeping it was not financially smart. I could definitely use the money from car/insurance payments for better things. I’m entering my car free experience pretty excited and a bit nervous. I should start out by stating that I’m not going to be 100% car free as in mid-January my girl friend will have her car around and has promised to allow me to use it when I need it. But for the next month and a half I’ll be living life in Thunder Bay without a car at my beck and call.
For the most part I think my home location gives me a good advantage to being car free. I’m 2 km from work, groceries and the university. A bus does go past my house (although it’s not the most convenient route for getting around town) and most of my friends are less than 4 km from my place (about a 45 min walk). So from my perspective I’m pretty set up.
Now most of my friends are a little skeptical as they don’t think I’ll last in the winter/holidays. But I think I’ll be fine. For the past two years I’ve walked to work all winter long regardless of the weather and found it just fine for walking as long as I’m dressed appropriately. This means, some days I look like the little kids off to the snow hill, a round ball of snow suit topped with a pompom touque. Grocery shopping will be accomplished with more frequent trips and using a great hiking backpack and reusable bags. I’ll never have to worry about frozen food thawing out now (at least in the winter).
I think my biggest challenge will be for work. Part of my job requires me to perform home visits. When I had the car I would give myself 15-20 minutes to cross town to conduct my visit and the same amount for returning to work. Now I have to plan my visits around bus schedules or walking distance which increases my time and lowers my in office availability. More hours are spent commuting rather than working which may seem bad for work but they also don’t have to pay out mileage anymore. In the summer this issue becomes null and void as I break out my bike and can usually cross most of the city the same speed as a car (give or take a few minutes).
But as I said at the beginning this is my first day into the car free life. As I leave for home I pack my licence plates and umbrella and we’ll see what adventures, trials and tribulations lie in wait for me in the future.
last car day
Posted By Nathalie on 12/1/2010 8:42:16 AM
I wish you lots of luck and excited to get updates. There is a great book out there to help you called... Divorce Your Car by Katie Alvord.
It will help you and change your perspective about the truth of the car industry.
Re: last car day
Posted By Sarah on 12/6/2010 3:08:14 PM
Go Derek! I think you will feel freer now that you don't have a car!
Page last updated on Wednesday, March 02, 2011