It’s been exactly four weeks since I sold my car and joined the ranks as a car-free professional in Rochester. What made me decide to take the plunge? Read about my journey below.
Inklings of my car free journey started back in 2009 when I sold my then brand new Honda Civic (car payment) and eventually went on to buy a used 2002 Honda Civic. This was done to decrease debt as I was in the process of purchasing my first townhouse in Churchville,Chili. In hindsight this decision was a crucial part of my current car-free life because I learned the value and freedom of not being enslaved to a monthly car payment. I ended up keeping this used car from 2009-2016.
In early 2016 in the midst of founding 540WMain the above mentioned used car started to give me trouble and in a hasty move I sold it off and purchased a 2016 Honda Fit. In hindsight this decision ended up burdening me with unnecessary debt, anxiety, and angst. As soon I bought the car I immediately regretted the decision but the “beauty” of a new car was enough to make me keep it until early June of this month.
My story is interesting because it speaks to the peer pressure that our society places on car ownership as a means to freedom when it is just the opposite. Over the last two years as 540WMain has developed and I began to rub shoulders with sustainability advocates in our city, the minimalist movement, and other urban professionals the joy of going car-free became a viable option in my mind. The proliferation of Uber and Lyft also made the decision a little easier and over the last two years I increasingly began to view car ownership as less and less of a necessity and more of a tool that I sometimes needed in my life but do not require all the time. This and the fact that all of my immediate family lives close, has their own vehicle, and have no issue with me borrowing their vehicle gave me more reasons than not to rid myself of owning a car of my own.
The more I listened to Reconnect Rochester, and the Urban Phoenix podcast; the less daunting the idea of a car free lifestyle became. This along with a longing for the days of car note freedom made me jump at the opportunity to sell my car when it became available earlier this month.
So far, my decision to be car-free has been a good one. Let me share why:
Despite my sense of freedom I wouldn’t be being completely transparent if I didn’t share a few of the challenges I’ve experienced being without a car of my own.
By and large, the benefits for me personally have far outweighed the challenges. I definitely understand that this cold turkey approach cannot be done by everyone and that I have many circumstances that allow a car-free lifestyle to be a relatively easy transition. Still the overall tenants of using your car less, using a bicycle more, and thinking more about how you travel and how much you travel using a car are not bad. Even if you can’t go completely car-free can you perhaps use your car less than you have been?
Other benefits captured by The Frugal Gene:
Check out some other resources to help you learn more about urbanism, sustainability, and car free living.
Source: The Frugal Gene© 2018 Calvin Eaton