Just over a year ago, I sold my car. It needed repairs I could not justify paying for, and I had found a decent alternative to driving to work. Yes, it is hard to believe I ditched my Honda Civic almost thirteen months ago.
I am so glad that I did.
Over the course of the last year, I’ve learned how to get around without a car. I rode my ebike to a doctors appointment. Kelsee and I have walked to the grocery store several times. Any of my readers know that, most notably, I’ve been riding to work every day.
(Just before sitting down to write this, I rode my bike to the bank to get a cashiers check for closing on a house tomorrow. Stay tuned for more on that topic!)
I’ve benefited greatly from the daily rhythm of physical activity. Every work day starts and ends with 20 minutes of light bicycling. It wakes me up and gets my blood flowing. Breathing fresh air and being surrounded by trees and sunshine have been great for my mental and emotional well-being, too.
Becoming a one-car couple meant that we wanted to take extra-good care of our single vehicle. We also had extra motivation to pay it off early. Saving money by not having a second insurance policy, second registration, and extra fuel made it easier to do so. Having no car payments at all is nice for our monthly cashflow!
I could wax poetic on the great aspects of being car-free. But, I wouldn’t be telling the full truth without sharing what else I’ve learned.
Not Having a Car Sucks (Sometimes)
Honestly, Kelsee and I have never been stuck in a bind with only one car. There hasn’t been a time that one of us had the car and the other needed to urgently get somewhere else without the ability to do so. I chalk that up to a small sample size (one year), and careful planning.
But, sometimes you don’t want to have meticulous plans. For example, this week Kelsee is meeting a friend on Monday night, and I’m meeting someone Tuesday night. We’ll each use the car to do so. Keeping dibs of who needed the car and when they needed it made scheduling these get-togethers a bit more tedious.
If we had two cars, we could have both met up with our friends on the same night. That way, we’d have the second night night free to spend together. This kind of flexibility is something we took for granted until we lost the capacity to do so.
On a personal level, being car-less can feel like a burden. That burden often gets cast onto others.
If someone wants to do something with me while Kelsee has the car, my options are having that person come to my place, or having them transport me to and from the destination. Sure, my friends are all nice and willing to do so, but I can’t help but wish I didn’t need them to bend over backwards because of my choice to be car-free. There is, of course, a third option: not getting together at all.
The last 18 months have been a more reclusive period of my life than most others. It was partly intentional, and partly a side-effect of not having a car. I’m in a place now where I want to be more outgoing and social. Sharing a car with my wife is now a barrier to that goal.
As I reflect on this year of being car-less, I see the whole experience in a largely positive light. I unlearned how to live life with a car. I learned how to get creative in the lacking of a vehicle. I’m ready to be assimilated back into the boring world of car commuting. But, I have better perspective moving forward.
So yes, I’m planning to buy a car soon. As we get back into climbing, I’ll need a way to get to the gym on my own. We’re also at a point in life where having independence is becoming a necessity instead of just a luxury. All of this is compounded by the underwhelming transportation infrastructure of the city we live in.
You can bet I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about and researching my car options. The “I bought a car” post is coming.
I’ll still spend a majority of my daily commuting on two wheels wearing a helmet though. Being forced to try the car-free lifestyle helped me fall in love with biking for transportation.
I’m really glad my last car kicked the can when it did.
From my mind to yours,