I love being car free. Yeah, there are those times when I wish for a car, especially when I want to go places and do things in places without public transit. The weirdest thing is that I live in one of the most transit oriented places in America, but there are still dozens of places I cannot go without a car or the trip taking 3-4 hours!

Despite the difficulties of getting places on occasion, I can generally enjoy a pretty good life. I can get to meetings, restaurants, school, work, to visit friends, shopping, etc. without much difficulty.

With that being said, these are my top 5 reasons why being car free rocks!

1. I never have to look for parking. On any given weekday in my neighborhood, people circle the block time and time again to look for parking. Finding parking on the first try is rare, and the time wasted looking for a parking spot is astronomical.

2. I have more money! I do not pay for a car note, insurance, maintenance, parking, car washes and gas! When I had a car, I spent most of my time working to pay for my car. Now, I work to be able to enjoy social activities, traveling and just hanging out. My train pass and MetroCard are less than what I paid just for my car note. Amazing.

3. I have read more books in the last year than I read in the 2 years I had a car. Seriously! I have read an average of 4 books a week in the last year, compared to 3 books a month during the last year I had a car. That's a huge difference. The knowledge I've acquired has made me a better student and person.

4. I get more "me time". I actually have time to exercise and relax on a regular basis. I walk to the train, versus walking out of my door and getting right into a car. I walk up and down stairs, versus walking from my car right into a store or restaurant. I can nap on the train or bus - you definitely cannot nap while you are driving!

5. I can more carefully observe the change of the seasons and the development of the neighborhoods I travel through. Because I don't have to keep my eyes on the road, so I can see and enjoy the snow, check out the construction of a new residential tower or mixed use development.

I enjoy being car free. For those times when I start thinking, "Oh, I'll get another car one day," I remember that I'm making an active choice to participate in an alternative lifestyle that provides many more benefits to myself AND society than we can probably count.

3 comments:

Rob Pitingolo said...

Great post! Your number 4 is particularly interesting because "me time" is one of the biggest benefits that heavy drivers tend to claim.

I would say that car sharing could fill in the gaps you mention at the beginning of the post. You don't have to own your own car to drive someplace every once in a while.

John Mayson said...

Very good post. We finally paid off both our cars in 2007. Both were in fairly good shape and I rather enjoyed not having a car payment. June of 2008 my wife's car died. I put my foot down and said we weren't replacing it. She drives my car and I use my bicycle and my own two feet for most of my errands including my commute to work. At first I wondered how many months I would really do it. We're going on 8 and I'm now looking forward to how many years I'll be able to keep this up.

I've been driving for close to 25 years. I added up what I've spent on cars and car-related expenses over the years. I almost had a aneurysm over the number. It's that high!

MHJ said...

Hey, Rob, I'll look into car sharing.

I really enjoy getting out and just walking around my neighborhood.