Being car-free

Being Car-Free is a Social Experiment

EDITOR’S NOTE: This essay was originally posted on Urban Mayhem Project on March 3, 2010.

Since getting rid of my car last week to embark on an experiment in carlessness, life is an adventure!  No more mundane trips to the post office or grocery store.  Now, I take bus adventures and fun rides with friends. 

One of the things I love most about not owning a car is sharing rides with people. Often the person who gives said ride is someone I would not normally sit down and have a conversation with. This adds a whole new benefit for me since I love to meet and talk to people. It’s a great way to network or build closer friendships.

As the painful blisters on my feet from Day 2 of being car-free have almost completely healed, I ventured into a pair of sneakers today (complete with socks) and headed downtown on the bus this afternoon.

From the bus station, I walked to the post office to get stamps, mail a bunch of stuff and check my post office box.  Then I walked to Pastry Art for a meeting with my good friend Rick Hughes.  Women With Moxie is a sponsor for an event he is helping to organize called CommUnity Food Packing Day.  After a delightful conversation with Rick, I headed over to the office of Betsy Nelson for a mindfulness workshop.  Great stuff!

When I left Betsy’s office, it was dark.  My first experience being car-free in the dark.  I walked back to the bus station and realized the bus had switched to the night schedule, which is hourly instead of half hourly.  I had 45 minutes to kill, so I walked into Whole Foods to see if there was anything I wanted to eat.  There wasn’t.  I walked back out and sat waiting for my bus while reading some magazines and catalogs I had gotten in the mail.  It was a bit chilly, but I had come prepared with a cozy scarf.  A police officer (or some sort of security guard) was on hand at the station, which made me feel safer.

I got back to my bus stop in the dark and carefully crossed all five lanes of Lockwood Ridge Road.  It was a little intimidating walking through my neighborhood at night, and I made a mental note to buy a high-powered LED flashlight.

I arrived home safely, and, thanks to proper planning, with happy feet.