But, I've also really enjoyed not having a car. Being without my Subaru is weird and sometimes inconvenient, but also rewarding. It's been a refreshing way to put things into perspective, coming up with different ways to get around town, and makes things a bit more simplistic not dealing with a big, scary steel cage. We don't think about distance as being the issue, it's more about what errands are a priority and what can we carry (or not carry) on our backs.
It's a few groceries at a time. It's a laundry day. It's a couple bottles of wine vs. a 12-pack.
In NYC, anchored across the Hudson in New Jersey, we walked 2.5 miles from our boat to catch the World Financial Center (WFC) ferry to cross into Manhattan. We considered timing to be our greatest factor. We shrugged our shoulders, rowed ashore and used our feet and MTA as our modes of transportation. We even successfully shopped at Trader Joe's and carried two heavy loads on our backs 2.5 miles back home. We got to where we were going and burned some calories in the process.
In Cape May, I walked the dog 1 mile each way to the grocery store, adding items to my messenger bag (hip straps a must). It was a lovely evening walk. No added stress came of my errand and I burned off my stuffed dinner belly.
There are so many other ways to get around besides strapping on the seatbelt and the physical, financial and spousal benefits are even better. Yes, I don't have children, sports practices, a commute or a regimented schedule at the moment so it's easy for me to give up the vehicle. Did I mention I love my Subaru?! I certainly understand a vehicle can be imperative for emergencies, commuting, and other necessary evils, but for routine errands, a car should be secondary. Riding your bike, taking the bus or walking can simplify your to-do list and decrease stress, increase your health and fatten your wallet. That impulsive trip to the mall won't be necessary if it's out of the way of the bus route or too far to bike or walk.
We save $500/month for car insurance, registration and monthly payments. We save $50/month on a 16-gallon tank and feel great about our choice! We do carry gas aboard and fill 3-2.5 gallon gas cans to top off the generator when we run the electric motor. Prior to our departure in Port Washington, NY we last filled our 3 gas cans in Blue Hill, ME. We went 5 whole weeks without purchasing a drop of gasoline, saving about $63 - not bad!. At least for the time being, we're reducing our impact on the environment and breathing some fresh air.
People may wonder how we deal without a car. We're fine! In fact, I think it has strengthened our relationship. As we find ourselves walking the distance to clear the to-do list, our conversations have become more frequent with the ability to clear our minds by chatting, making plans, and walking to pass the time and be productive in the process. Because, that's all we, or any of us have...Time.
If we were still on land, I'd have my Subaru (did I mention I love it!), but it's great to have perspective about how and when to use the car. I became inspired to talk about the "not having a car" topic after reading one of our favorite blogs and was excited by his idea of "going car free for the weekend" topic; that going car-free can and likely is better for your health, the environment and your relationships...true? I think so!
Check out his well-written article for yourself:
Can you go car-free for a weekend or even 24 hours, run your errands and share your experience? How much money did you save by walking or biking? Did you come up with a new idea in the process? Make drivers jealous? When we step outside our routine, our comfort zone, we can all gain a little perspective and it's well worth the walk!