Tuesday, 3 November 2015

We Walk. We Ride.

Now this one needs an important disclosure. I am not a very fit person in general, I am not a biking & hiking fanatic and I don't really do much exercise at all. And not everyone can make the complete jump that we have, but it's still possible to go half-way.

We walk or we ride. We don't own a car.

I can feel the horror on many faces right now. There are so many people (in so many locations) for whom being car-free is an alien idea that belongs to hippies who eat organic gluten-free raw wheatgrass pancakes. We don't do anything revolutionary, though. We are fortunate enough to live in a place with good public transport, so we use it. For us, not owning a car was a conscious decision. We are a 2 minute walk to the supermarket, so we walk. I'll admit that carrying too many bags of groceries home isn't nice, so it has an added benefit that we spend less in order to avoid carrying so much home! :)

But you don't need to have wonderful transport in order to use a car less. I used to drive a lot, and one thing that car ownership does is make people rely on it - I would have laughed at the idea of walking anywhere, why would I, when I had a car?! But isn't that terribly sad, that I wouldn't walk around the corner, even... think about it.

We always jumped in the car without planning. We acted as if the five minutes saved was too precious to waste. Realistically, if my day is so jam-packed that I cannot afford five minutes of walking, then it is time for a serious think about what's going on in my life, to reassess how I spend my time. We only live once, life is too short to have it crammed that badly.

One way to limit the costs of running the car is to compromise - drive to the train station for instance, if it's not in walking distance. Become a single-car family and coordinate with your spouse on who'll need it on which days. Another idea is to go shopping while you're already in the car for another reason. It will save you fuel if you shop on the way home.

Despite our great transport, we still sometimes bike to a friend's place on the weekends. It's quite surprising how fulfilling that can be, to arrive at the other end without dropping dead of exhaustion :)

What about you - do you use the car without thinking? Or do you plan how it gets used?