Living without a car

Living two years without a car has changed me in ways I could never have imagined, and I didn’t realise just how much until I was gifted a rental car for a few days for my 40th birthday.  I was excited! To experience freedom again, knowing I could go anywhere I wanted in my own time and reach destinations I couldn’t get to on public transport easily or at all.

I couldn’t have been further from the truth, being inside a car isolated me, no longer was I connected to the world and people, I was in my own little world, separate from everyone and everything.  There is no connection in a car on the road, yet when I walk, cycle, and take public transport, I feel so connected to the world and to the people around me, I’m part of life, and I meet so many random and wonderful people.

Sometimes it’s just a smile, or a brief interaction, and then there’s the people I know because they are part of my community, I walk the streets and I feel at home, a smile, a wave, a conversation.

When I drove past people walking in the city, I felt like I was missing out! Here I was, on my own, in a car, disconnected from them.  I now see why we have lost some of our sense of community, there is no community when you can get in your car and drive from A to B, never walking, never meeting people, trying to cram as much as you can into your day because you can go further and faster with a car.

But is that living? Is that a life? Not for me, for me life is about experiencing life and interacting with it, and people, in real time, not rushing through as fast as I can, only associating with a handful of people I’ve known for years or people who fit into a defined group of socially acceptable peers.

No, for me life is about taking the time to enjoy and connect, to know that I will take the required time to walk, cycle, or take the bus and that every interaction with another person, no matter who they are or where they are from, brings a feeling of happiness, a sense of connectedness to my community and the whole of humanity.

There are so many opportunities in life when we slow down, take time and get to know the people around us and the joy that comes from that.  I think if everyone spent less time driving to shops and spent more time walking, cycling, talking and connecting they would have a more blissful life and we would have a more peaceful world.

I will still enjoy driving a car on the open road, to go to places I can camp, cycle, or walk in the mountains and, to me, this is what a car is not only useful for but where it adds value to my life.

As for my day to day life, I’m going to stick to walking, cycling, scootering and public transport, connecting, sharing, smiling, being part of the world, my community, and living life in real time.