The world is trying to tell me something. Gas prices in my area are over $4.50/gallon, I recently reduced my commute from three hours a day to ten minutes, I'm financially in the hole, and as I mentioned earlier this week my car broke down and costs twice as much to fix as it's worth. Suddenly, like hitting myself over the head with a frying pan, I'm getting the following messages: reduce your consumption! save the planet! get moving! enjoy the outdoors! don't incur more debt! get creative! And so, folks, I am entering my 30-day No Car Challenge. What's the point of a 30-Day No Car Challenge? Before making any rash decisions like donating my car, buying a new one, buying a used one or sending it up into gold station-wagon heaven (aka the junkyard), I need some time to think about my decision and figure out if I really can live without a car - something I never before thought possible. I'm going to experience a whole new feeling of freedom and dependency at the same time (more on that below).
How the heck am I going to make it work? I live three miles from work - my plan is to roller blade in the morning after I go running (build up legs of steel) if I know I'll be coming home after dark and will be getting a ride. On days where I know I can leave before dark, I'll ride my mom's bike.
What are the drawbacks?
- My rollerblades are 12 years old, they don't have brakes, and the wheels are so worn down that they are pointy where they hit the ground.
- I'm afraid of riding home (bike or blades) in the dark; especially since the way home from work is through a trail and under a dark bridge.
- On that note, I'm afraid of taking the same path every day (paranoid about stalkers)
- It becomes a lot more difficult to carry things without a car. Still trying to figure out the best way to go pick up my dry cleaning.
- I'll have to rely on others and ask for rides more often
- It will be harder for me to spontaneously see friends (unless they come to me or live close).
What are the benefits?
- I feel freer already!
- I've consolidated my three big heavy bags into one and it feels great!
- I'm getting a built-in workout and enjoying the outdoors
- I've already saved $200 by not renewing my registration or car insurance (they are both on some kind of latent plan)
- I don't have to worry about gas prices for the next 30-days - Muhahahaha!
I'm going to keep a little journal and check back in with you from time to time. Until then, wish me luck!