Saturday, December 29, 2012

Living Car-Free

Back in the states I was lucky enough to have my own car.  I loved my little car.  We got it second hand, and it never let me down in the 5 years I had it.  I thoroughly enjoyed being able to go anywhere, whenever I wanted.  Grocery shopping was a cinch, movie in 20 minutes? No problem! An impromptu road trip to go exploring, easy! Let’s go!

Then we planned our move.  Should the car sit in my parents driveway when we don’t know when/if we will return?  My parents would have to make sure to drive it once a week and maintain it while the value would continue to go down.  In the end, we decided to sell it.  And I was devastated.  I equated my independence with that car and being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

In our new home, a car is not possible financially, and before I knew it, a car-free life was upon me.  At first I viewed this as a horrible thing.  How would I possibly go grocery shopping?  I would always need to wait for my husband to go with to help me schlep it all home! How could I be independent?  The commute to work would be awful!  In the end, it actually is not the nightmare scenario I had once envisioned, and we are saving a lot of money and being kinder to the environment in the process.

My husband helped me find this nifty cart for my grocery shopping and other errands so I can feel more independent (and don't worry, he uses it plenty!).  I also signed up for this fast-pass so I don’t have to worry about having small change all the time for the local buses and we get discounts for using it as well!  The public transport here is fairly good, with plenty of buses and ways to get home, to work and to go out.  We of course appreciate whenever friends and family offer us rides or their cars, but most of the time we are able to be quite independent.  While we may want to get a car in the future when we start a family or have a change in living situation, being car-free suits us quite well at this point in our lives. 

I do wish something like Zipcar was available in our area so we could be even more independent when we are in need of a vehicle.  But it is a great option for those of you in the states looking to go car-free!

What are your thoughts on car ownership?  


  1. I grew up riding public transportation in Minneapolis. Occasionally, my mom and I had a car but this wasn't ever to be guaranteed. Nowadays I find myself wanting what, at an earlier age, seemed to be the result of poverty. I have to make opportunities for walking 15 minutes during breaks and at lunch, but occasionally I will insist to Aaron that I take the bus to work as though I am making life easier (and I am but mostly I love it).

    When there are children involved, it is completely workable to live life without a car. The problem I find now as a parent, is that we must be willing to compromise a very American way of living: wake up earlier to walk further because housing is so sprawled out, feel uncomfortably cold or hot for 10-20 minutes, etc. It's a problem that is the product of, well, not wanting to be uncomfortable and has become something associated (in America, at least) with being poor.

    I miss the forced discomfort in Germany, Israel (although driving seems to be the norm), and in my youth! At least once a week I wake up being jealous of the situation you're in. That being said, I LOVE the new carrier for your groceries!

  2. Car free?? What's that? Here in suburbia,every house has a driveway and garage, and you drive to your friends house that is 250 yards away......fat and lazy, the american way! And then pay big bucks to belong to a health club to walk on treadmills going nowhere.....what's that about? (-:

  3. I really think it depends on where you live. There really are places that you do need a car. More power to you for making do without it though! Your dad has a great point though.