211 Days ’til 40: Coping Without a Car

25 Jul

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time. ~ Steven Wright

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is. ~ Ellen DeGeneres

But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations. ~ Gwyn Thomas

If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish. ~ Charles Dickens 

Today and tomorrow I am without my car (oh horror of horrors!)  It needs a new timing belt (it has been over five years since it was last replaced).  My car also needs new brakes and an oil change……  too much work for one day, so the garage gets it for two…. lucky me.  Thankfully, I live in a city with good public transportation – therefore, my panic at not being independent with my own vehicle was only short-lived.

I think it is healthy to be without a vehicle every once in a while.  I find that it allows me to realize how dependent I am on my automobile and how much I take it for granted.  I find that when I am without my car I am reminded what great public transportation our city has and how accessible it really is.  I am reminded how many individuals use public transportation daily and do not own a vehicle of their own.

I am also thankful to be temporarily without vehicle, as it allows me to walk around town, often to places I do not normally walk, so I am able to observe and see new sights, find new hidden shops and restaurants, and see my city through slightly different eyes.  Today I had the bright idea, to save time and get some exercise, that I would pick up my girls at camp and then walk with them from camp to my partner’s place of employment.  From there we could find a joint ride home and save on taxi or bus fares.  The walk between the two places is about 30 minutes.  It was a nice walk, not too many hills… however, my girls get out of camp at 15:00 in the afternoon – one of the hottest times of the day.  It was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  I am not sure it was the best of plans….. after 30 minutes of walking in this mid-day heat we were exhausted.  We each drank a bottle of water plus a bottle of Gatorade…. and had bright red faces to match the fruit punch Gatorade.  Yet, even in that heat, I was proud of our walking and felt like we had accomplished something.  The walk, despite the heat, was pleasant…… it is a walk that we should consider doing more often.  In fact, I often wonder why we do not have the courage to use our car less and our feet more.

Today, 211 days ’til 40, I am thankful for my feet – indeed, I hope that my family does learn to use our car less and our feet more – in the end we will see our city through new eyes and get exercise at the same time.



Tags: , , , ,

31 responses to “211 Days ’til 40: Coping Without a Car

  1. roodonfood

    July 25, 2012 at 00:13

    Nice positive way to view the situation. I try to avoid cars as much as possible.

  2. bellissimom

    July 25, 2012 at 00:21

    I wish things were not so sprawling and far apart where I live and that there was more public transportation. It is so difficult to get around here without a car but I would love to take public transport more often.

    • 400daystil40

      July 25, 2012 at 14:35

      Yes, that is a problem for so many people….. you are bound by the availability and reliability of public transportation!

  3. doubleinvert

    July 25, 2012 at 00:39

    When my partner and I began the process of separating last year, I bought a bicycle as I knew I would not be able to afford a car. I’ve been without regular access to a car for nearly a year now. I’ve rented cars upon occasion, but for the most part I walk, use my bike, and public transit. Fortunately, my work place is a 20 minute walk from home and I pass 2 grocery stores on the way. There are times when a car would really help, but I’m also saving a lot of money this way.

    • 400daystil40

      July 25, 2012 at 14:35

      Wow, that is amazing…. my partner and I went from two cars to one almost two years ago – we just could not justify the expense of the second car. Sometimes it is a little less convenient, but it made a huge difference – we grocery shop online… the delivery charge is much much less than car payments would be! 🙂

  4. saymber

    July 25, 2012 at 02:35

    Been in this predicament many times as we only have one car and live out in a rural area. Our little car is queen of the castle! We do a lot of walking – very therapeutic and our dog won’t stop moving her happy feet unless she gets her walks!

    • 400daystil40

      July 25, 2012 at 14:32

      Ah yes, four legged friends help us get out and walk! I wish I could get my cat on a leash! 🙂

      • ssgt leslie

        July 25, 2012 at 21:14

        why not, it will be fun for both of you.

        lizzy [my service dog] and i have been walking now for over 1 yr and 2 mths, i have no car, my sister has it when mom [obm] passed away, long story, deployment issues, etc…it is amazing the sites, sounds, and smells one finds along their journey walking…hope you get your car back soon.

  5. buckwheatsrisk

    July 25, 2012 at 03:22

    you reminded me that i am grateful to be able to walk 🙂

  6. Spider42

    July 25, 2012 at 09:57

    Nice! 😀
    But humour aside, I do agree that we should walk more – sadly in the big city it’s not always easy/safe/comfortable and for kids less so. I used to cycle everywhere when I was a kid but the traffic and crowds are so heavy and unpredictable here now that I’D be afraid to ride in it, let alone let a kid do it. It’s not impossible though, if you look hard enough – just need to find the motivation…

    • 400daystil40

      July 25, 2012 at 14:31

      So very true! We struggle with letting our girls cross the road to go to the market near us…… mostly because if a car veered off the road they would be oblivious to it and could easily be run over….. scary reality!

  7. dogdaz

    July 25, 2012 at 11:04

    There is much that people forget when they do not actually get out in the world, but see it from behind a glass window whizing by. Hope your lesson sticks

  8. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

    July 25, 2012 at 11:12

    Try enjoy your time without your car then! I’m 27 and don’t have a drivers license, let alone a car!!

    • 400daystil40

      July 25, 2012 at 14:30

      Sometimes that is a blessing!!! 🙂

      • The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

        July 25, 2012 at 17:59

        You’re sure right! 😉

  9. streepie

    July 25, 2012 at 11:25

    Guess what the garage is replacing in my car today…. But I’ll get it back this evening.
    I have, however, done without a car for a week and a half now – my husband is away for two weeks, my daughter is with the grand parents – so I decided that I could do without the car for that time. As I live in a tiny village, I have to take my bike to get where I need to go – to the shops, to the bus stop to catch the bus to work.

    I’m glad that I have the bike, and that I can ride it

    • 400daystil40

      July 25, 2012 at 14:29

      So you can completely relate! I think it is great that you have the bike to fall back on…. I do not have a bike, but I often wonder how I would do on it (we live in an area with crazy drivers and tons of hills!)

  10. mskatykins

    July 25, 2012 at 13:27

    Great post, 400! So good to see you look at being without a car positively, it is great to have one but it’s also great to feel good about being out and about by foot. I drive but don’t have a car, although as of last week I have my Mum’s car on loan – it will help me to move all of my stuff when I move back to the mainland – and it’s nice to be able to drive to a place where I can go for a walk. How ridiculous does that sound? That’s like driving to the gym!?! Seriously, it means I can go for a walk on the beach which is 6 miles away and too far to walk for a walk – does that make sense?

    Well done with your heat wave walking, but remember your carbon footprint – hope you reused those bottles! 😉

  11. johnkbucher

    July 25, 2012 at 20:23

    Congrats to discovering life is meant to be seen at foot speed. I haven’t owned a car in many years.

  12. Don't Quote Lily

    July 25, 2012 at 22:38

    Hm, I never thought temporarily not having a car could be a good thing, but that’s a great outlook you have! 😉

  13. Marie-Adeline

    July 26, 2012 at 16:45

    great post. My man and I don’t own a car, we try to do everything, using public transport, walking, using bicycle and we fell good about it. We rent a car 3 or 4 times a year for special needs. we both love to walk, and are lucky enough to live in a small town, very close to Paris, with a lot of trains, and a store just 5 minutes walking from home.

    • 400daystil40

      July 27, 2012 at 23:50

      I think that is amazing and I wish that we were able to not have a car….. in many ways it is quite freeing (and costs less!)

  14. transitionscoachingcayman

    July 28, 2012 at 21:39

    Yes, walking is great, and I have just sold my car, so will be doing more of it in the Caribbean heat – 100 degrees!

    • 400daystil40

      July 28, 2012 at 22:36

      Wow – our heat has also been about the same! It is hard to walk in that heat!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: