The adventure: Going Car-Less
I’ve lived in places where you NEED a vehicle to get from point A to point B…unless you feel like going for an extra long walk that could take HOURS in -40˚C weather.
Of course this doesn’t include the wind chill factor that can easily drop it down to -50˚C or so.
I’ve even worn full face masks to prevent frostbite.
I kid you not.
Without question, I’ve always had a vehicle at my disposal for more than just ‘convenience’.
So when I decided to challenge myself to see what life could be like without a car – getting amongst the people on the streets here in the city of Vancouver – I had no idea how easy it could be for me to get into the groove…that is, once I sorta-kinda understood how public transit actually works.
Working from home, it didn’t really impact me all that much…except for the times when I felt seriously uncomfortable at night walking home.
But, on the flip side, doing all that walking was pretty healthy. It felt good.
Also, my bike got great use – I found myself all over our fair city. Some days, I’d be out strolling the city, then find myself on one of the False Creek Ferries over to Granville Island, meandering about, then on a bus, then more walking and more interacting with the other humans in this city.
Life slowed down.
Things weren’t necessarily so rushed because I actually had to plan things accordingly in order to get to my destination.
And a part of me actually felt like I belonged.
Weirdly enough, I discovered that driving my car separated me from the people…from the life teaming throughout this fair city.
I liked it.
That, and the environmental planner in me got to feel good for about two years because I reduced my ecological footprint.
In the end, however, I went back to my car.
I love my little putt-putt.
In essence, having a vehicle at my disposal allowed for me to be more flexible with my time, and without question, the ‘convenience factor’ especially when there’s an adventure afoot.
There is a certain freedom to owning a car.
But all in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the things I didn’t expect – like the camaraderie and a feeling of belonging. It’s these things that I miss most when I reflect back upon this adventure.
© Monthly Adventure, Patricia Taylor, April 2011