It has now officially been one year, that I have lived without a car! I now know, from personal experience, it can be done! It is surprisingly easy and at this point I have no intention of going back! Yes there are inconveniences, like slogging groceries in a backpack in the dead of winter.....actually, now that I think about it, that's the only one! The benefits however, are amazing. Here are my top 10:
1. When I did drive, I did not have a car loan on my last vehicle, so I got off lucky with around $5K in car expenses a year. With car loan payments, that could easily hit $10K/year. That's money in the bank.
2. I now have the coolest bike in the world with my Brompton! Check out their webpage - These guys have created a serious cult following!
3. I no longer have to be a taxi to my kids - I guess that isn't totally fair as an empty nester, but if they were still living at home I wouldn't be their personal chauffeur!
4. I walk or bike to work every day which means I get to listen to audio books and learn all kinds of new and interesting things.
5. I walk or bike to work every day so I get the added benefit of being in the best shape that I have been in years - and I get to eat ANYTHING!
6. My blood pressure, which used to be in the mildly hyper tensive range is now, at last check, 109/60 - Freaky low!
7. Did I mention that I am in the best shape I have been in years? I am running the New York City Marathon in November 2013 - I couldn't have done that a year ago when I commuted by car!
8. Walking is like a moving meditation - I no longer suffer road rage; I have a clearer mind; I have a quieter mind; I am way more relaxed; and I sleep unbelievably well.
9. I have a much better appreciation for my city - when you drive you don't see beyond the road and the traffic around you. When you walk or bike, you truly experience your environment and the people. Contrary to popular belief, Ottawa is NOT the city that Fun forgot!
10. I am no longer bothered by the weather. When you walk everywhere, you get used to it. Bring it on! Rain, sleet, snow - I am ready for you!
Now that I am moving into year two of my life without a car, I look forward to diving into exploring further the notion of sustainable living and design. I think it would be really cool as a designer to really push the status quo of what has become the conventional Canadian suburban lifestyle by exploring a much more urban based sustainable living model.