My Week Without a Car

Recently my husband challenged me to not drive my car for a week. Since I am always looking for ways to "go green" I readily accepted his challenge! We set a week when we would be car-less, stocked up on groceries, and hit the ground running...walking... buss(ing) and metro(ing).

Growing up in Idaho I was never really exposed to public transportation. My family had 2-3 cars and that was our main form of transportation. I never thought of using public transportation until I visited New York City where, to me, it was part of the experience. When my husband and I moved to an area with great public transportation I didn't think much about it. I had a car to drive and by default of what I knew, that was my primary mode of transportation.

So when my husband challenged me to not use my car I knew it would be good for me. I knew I would figure out the bus and metro system better and I knew it would force me out of my comfort zone. However, what I did not anticipate was how much I would enjoy it.

The first day my husband, daughter and I took the bus to church. We walked the half mile to the stop and were quickly on our way to our destination. My husband said he wanted to take a picture of me on the bus. When I asked why, he said because you have such a big smile on your face!  So apparently public transportation looks good on me! :)

Besides being happy that I was saving gas money and going green I enjoyed a few more benefits that I didn't anticipate:

More Human Interaction- Instead of being tucked away in my car as I ran my errands I got to be more immersed in my community. I got to say "hi" to people and enjoyed having conversations with strangers. I enjoyed meeting and interacting with new people. It made me feel like I was part of a community and I really liked it.

More Family Time- Not having a car gave me more quality time to spend with my family. Whether it was walking to our destination or taking public transportation, it gave us an opportunity to slow down and enjoy time together. Plus my daughter enjoyed her stroller a lot more than her car seat!

Broadened My View- My week without a car made me aware of all the people in this area that don't use cars. It also made me more aware of the demographics of my own community. I often get stuck in my bubble and it was nice to get outside of that and see clearly the world around me.

Since my week without a car I have taken more opportunities to go car-less. Not everyone lives in a community where it is possible to go without your car but see if you can use it less. Get creative. Ride bikes or walk to places that are walkable. Your wallet, planet, and thighs will thank you for it!

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