If this is your first time reading this blog I recommend you start with the first one .
** 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 .**
It’s quite amazing the variety of reactions I get from my friends about my car-free status. Some are quite supportive and plan events or get-togethers which accommodate my higher commute times around town. Others feel obligated to offer and give me rides and a small group joke that I got rid of my car just to catch a ride with everyone else and save money that way. One friend’s young son asked why I didn’t have a car and at his age couldn’t understand why I didn’t want one. It was cute to see his puzzled face. But, I do admit that once in a while I ask for a ride home. I limit it to only people who are driving by my place and I do try to make this a rare request. Usually it happens after indoor sports because I normally jog to the game, play the sport and then if it’s really cold out and all my gear is sweaty, running home isn’t the smartest idea. I really could help myself out and walk to the gym but I try to give myself the opportunity to get in “free” exercise of a jog. And as I think back I believe I’ve only taken the ride home 3 times in the past two and a half months.
I think for the most part, my friends are pretty used to the idea of me biking or walking places (as I do it all summer) so to them it’s just what I do. If the night runs late I usually get an offer of a ride home and depending how I feel I sometimes take up the offer.
I guess what I’m really getting at is, “Am I cheating?” I think if I give my friends a few dollars for the ride home or make it up to them other ways as most refuse money I feel like I’m still holding true to the car-free lifestyle. Of course, if everyone was car-free, I wouldn’t have a car-owning friend to “mooch” from but then again we’d all be in the same boat of walking/bussing/biking around town.
I am starting to see the primary challenge of being car free as a strain on my free time. If I want to go anywhere, I have to give myself at least 30 minutes for the commute which usually means I’m leaving sooner than I would by car. This results in more efficient trip planning to stores and appointments--a lot better than I did when I had a car. Unfortunately, it also means I miss out on things as I can’t go here at 6pm, then there at 8pm and somewhere else at 10pm. I just can’t juggle that many events in a night by public transit. And sometimes that means I have to choose what or who’s event is more important to me. That in itself is challenging. But, as I said at the start a lot of my friends are understanding and more than a few are single car households which means one of them is car-pooling, bussing or walking/biking to where they need to go. I think I may have even inspired a few to walk a bit more and drive a bit less (but who knows, it could just be all in my head).
I feel obligated to inform my readers (yes both of you) that starting this weekend I will have a car in my household. My girlfriend is returning home after doing 6 months of school elsewhere and she’s bringing her car with her. Now I still plan on living like I don’t have a car but let’s be honest, I have an “out” now. My girlfriend does plan on joining me on some of my walking/bussing adventures but I won’t force the issue. It’s my choice and she has hers, what works for me won’t work for others. So in light of my household having a car I don’t think it’s fair to continue writing about living car-free. I’d like to thank those who did take the time to read my thoughts and I hope they were entertaining, and maybe a little inspiring. Perhaps I’ll take up the pen again and write about my next money-saving, environmentally smart adventure. Until that time, thanks for reading and catch-ya-later!
Page last updated on Wednesday, March 02, 2011